[Beowulf] why we need cheap, open learning clusters

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Sun May 12 23:04:19 PDT 2013

On May 12, 2013, at 7:55 PM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:

> I just ran across an interesting anecdote (in Malcolm Gladwell's  
> "Outliers").  It's in the context of Bill Joy, who commented that  
> using timesharing and interactive systems compared to traditional  
> batch/card deck submission was like speed chess vs chess by mail.   
> That interactivity facilitated his spending thousands of hours  
> working with software.

> [snip]

> I am a BIG believer in personal computing…

It's funny that you mention chess and personal computing at the same  

Now i ran in 2003 Diep at a supercomputer. Diep is a chessprogram.

With respect to the previous mail i wrote regarding the university  
Utrecht, until recently neary every year in the top50 universities of  
this planet,
it's interesting to mention that at university, after a while i was  
allowed to run my chessprogram.

Yet other students when they tried to launch my chessprogram, it got  
Official reason given: it was eating too much RAM.

In fact it was eating 8 MB ram. All machines had 64MB ram or more.
Reason to eat 8 MB is that i had discovered this to run a lot faster  
at the unix machines (partly HP 60Mhz).

Not sure whether this had to do with a caching issue of the processor  
or other circumstances.

Yet i argue that centralized supercomputing is really slow way to  
develop your software. Personal computing is simply a faster way to  
develop your codes.

The real disadvantage of supercomputers is that you always have to  
wait for weeks if not months for a batch of a few hours to get executed.
In that sense supercomputing is a lot slower than chess by mail,  
where you have 1 day a move on average.

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