[Beowulf] How to make a BeagleBoard Elastic R Beowulf Cluster in a Briefcase

Mark Hahn hahn at mcmaster.ca
Fri Sep 17 08:25:22 PDT 2010

> Cute, but my question is, what use is one of these homegrown
> platforms?

it's a PR stunt.  nothing wrong with that - the world needs more great demos!

beagleboard wouldn't be my first choice for this kind of thing, since it's
actually poorly suited and relatively expensive.  for instance, if you wait
for a sale, you can lay your hands on quite cheap wifi routers that have 
a similar ARM chip/etc, but with builtin ethernet support.  in fact, with 
builtin 5-8-port gigabit, which would be great for making a FNN.

otoh, if the demo made effective use of the beagleboard's onboard DSP
and audio IO, that _would_ be a cool hack.  either for some sort of 
interaction with the environment (Jim Lux mentioned distributed phased arrays
already), or even as the network (gang the audio together and assign each 
node a separate frequency, etc).

> appliance... but that's not my question - I'm asking, what is the
> role of the home hacker in the HPC world?

maybe it's just me, but I don't tend to do HPC stuff at home simply because 
it's so much easier to do using dayjob resources.  and I'm cheap.
but in general, I think the hacker community tends to stay more towards
the fringe than HPC (which has got to be considered quite mainstream).

> I mean, it's fine to go and make one of these things, but once you've
> made it, what do you use it for?

good projects are driven by first having a use to drive them...


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