[Beowulf] Broadcast - not for HPC - or is it?

Greg Lindahl lindahl at pbm.com
Tue Oct 5 13:34:42 PDT 2010

On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 08:21:55PM +1000, Matt Hurd wrote:

> This was not designed for HPC but for low-latency trading as it beats
> a switch in terms of speed.  Primarily focused on low-latency
> distribution of market data to multiple users as the port to port
> latency is in the range of 5-7 nanoseconds as it is pretty passive
> device with optical foo at the core.  No rocket science here, just
> convenient opto-electrical foo.

If you go read up about the Blue Gene series of machines' networks,
one of them is a "Eureka" network for global broadcasts. It's only a
minor aspect of most scientific computations, though. There was even a
very low cost, low-latency broadcast network out of Purdue called
PAPERS that used the unused parallel port that used to be available in
most servers. It was pretty amazing what they could do for so little
$$, but I don't think they found that many applications.

Presumably your customers are mostly using this for their stock
tickers. Another application might be ad network; the broadcast stream
would be ad opportunities...

The mention of distributing lots of identical data to nodes would
probably work better with bittorrent than this sort of gizmo.

-- greg

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