[Beowulf] Register article on Linux State of the Union

Hearns, John john.hearns at mclaren.com
Wed Apr 17 08:42:32 PDT 2013


Some interesting points from an HPC point of view:

"For example, for some kinds of workloads, the NUMA (non-uniform memory access) problem is all-important. This is particularly true of distributed application clusters. A long as a CPU in a cluster node is working on data that exists locally, within the node's own memory or storage, processing is fast. But as soon as that CPU needs to access data that exists on some other node in the cluster - data that must pulled across some slow type of transport, like an Ethernet link - performance can degrade rapidly. Some Linux kernel developers would like to improve the CPU scheduler to handle such situations better."

And on keeping the same kernel tree for all types of devices:

" So is it time to fork Linux? Do we really need two different kernels - one for mobile devices and one for the data center? Corbet says no, particularly in light of how platform fragmentation hurt and ultimately undermined the commercial Unix market.

For one thing, he observes, in days past mobile developers have griped about such enterprise-oriented kernel "bloat" as support for symmetric multiprocessing, support for large amounts of memory, file systems that can handle large volumes, and a sophisticated networking stack. But while all of these features would have been completely unnecessary on a mobile phone just a few years ago, for today's smartphones they're essential."

Apologies if I've quoted a little bit too much - the kernel fork quote is very interesting, and something I agree with.
I run the same Linux kernel (well, maybe not the exact version number!) on a smartphone and a huge system.

Dr John Hearns | CFD Hardware Specialist | McLaren Racing Limited
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