[Beowulf] Digital Image Processing via HPC/Cluster/Beowulf - Basics

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Mon Nov 5 12:55:40 PST 2012


This article is from 14 years ago, but it might be relevant to your 
situation.  It describes how Digital Domain used a Linux 'render farm' 
to do the GCI for Titanic. I haven't read this article in 14 years, so 
I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I think you might learn something 
useful from it.


Prentice Bisbal
Manager of Information Technology
Rutgers Discovery Informatics Institute (RDI2)
Rutgers University

On 11/03/2012 10:12 AM, CJ O'Reilly wrote:
> Thank you very much!
> I'll be sure to talk to the software developer about this.
> For now this project is moving slowly; still doing research (it's 
> possible simply a single powerful computer could get this work done 
> feasibly...)
> Perhaps I'll be back around in the future though!
> Thanks a bundle:)
> On Sat, Nov 3, 2012 at 9:50 PM, Lux, Jim (337C) 
> <james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov <mailto:james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov>> wrote:
>      1. Yes and no..  The application process needs to be "parallel
>         aware", but for some applications that could just mean running
>         multiple instances, one on each node, and farming the work out
>         to them. This is called "embarassingly parallel" (EP).. A good
>         example would be rendering animation frames.  Typically each
>         frame doesn't depend on the frames around it so you can just
>         parcel the work at a frame granularity to the nodes.    There
>         are other applications which are more tightly coupled and
>         where the computation process running on node N needs to know
>         something about what's running on Node N+1 and Node N-1 very
>         frequently.   For this, applications use some sort of
>         standardized process communication library (e.g. MPI), or,
>         perhaps a library that performs a high level function (e.g.
>         Matrix inversion) that underneath uses the interprocess comm.
>     2.  Another "it depends". If the process is EP, and each node is
>     processing a different image, then your problem is one of sending
>     and retrieving images, which isn't much different from a
>     conventional file server kind of model.  If multiple
>     processors/nodes are working on the same image, then the
>     interconnect might be more important.  It all depends on the
>     communication requirements.     Note that even EP applications can
>     get themselves fouled up in network traffic (imagine booting 1000
>     nodes simultaneously, with them all wanting to fetch the boot
>     image from one server simultaneously)
>     This is the place to ask..
>     From: CJ O'Reilly <supaiku at gmail.com <mailto:supaiku at gmail.com>>
>     Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:31 PM
>     To: "beowulf at beowulf.org <mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>"
>     <beowulf at beowulf.org <mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>>
>     Subject: [Beowulf] Digital Image Processing via
>     HPC/Cluster/Beowulf - Basics
>     Hello, I hope that this is a suitable place to ask this, if not, I
>     would equally appreciate some advice on where to look in lue of
>     answers to my questions:
>     You may guess that I'm very new to this subject.
>     I am currently researching the feasibility and process of
>     establishing a relatively small HPC cluster to speed up the
>     processing of large amounts of digital images.
>     After looking at a few HPC computing software solutions listed on
>     the Wikipedia comparison of cluster software page (
>     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_cluster_software ) I
>     still have only a rough understanding of how the whole system works.
>     I have a few questions:
>     1. Do programs you wish to use via HPC platforms need to be
>     written to support HPC, and further, to support specific
>     middleware using parallel programming or something like that?
>     OR
>     Can you run any program on top of the HPC cluster and have it's
>     workload effectively distributed? --> How can this be done?
>     2. For something like digital image processing, where a huge
>     amount of relatively large images (14MB each) are being processed,
>     will network speed, or processing power be more of a limiting
>     factor? Or would a gigabit network suffice?
>     3. For a relatively easy HPC platform what would you recommend?
>     Again, I hope this is an ok place to ask such a question, if not
>     please help refer me to a more suitable source.
> -- 
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