[Beowulf] GPU based cluster fo machine learning purposes

Piotr Król pietrushnic at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 15:54:44 PDT 2014

Hi all,
I'm considering proof of concept Beowulf cluster build for machine
learning purposes. My main requirements are that it should based on
embedded development boards (relatively small power consumption and
size). In short I need as good as possible double precision matrix
multiplication performance with small power consumption and size.

Taking matrix multiplication into consideration I thought that GPU is
natural choice. Best fit in this category that I was able to find is
brand new Jetson TK1 from NVIDIA:


If I missed something then please let me know. I don't have access to
code to benchmark memory and cpu consumption for these algorithms. I'm
responsible for providing hardware and system configuration, but I'm
curious about your professional opinion on this build.

Questions that already came to my mind:
1. What are the most used diagnostic software for keeping cluster up and
running. Is it something that I should incorporate from outside of
standard distro (like Debian/Ubuntu) repository for this kind of build ?
Or maybe standard tools are enough ?

2. Boards got size 5"x5" (12.7cmx12.7cm) I wonder where to find
chassis/open air frame for 16, 32 or 64 nodes if I will have to extend
my build. If you have any proposition I would be glad to hear about it.

3. I'm not electrical engineer but I wonder if there could be problem
with powering up 32/64 nodes at once. There are no wattage
characterization data for this board right now, but I saw some
informations that this board should be sub-10W.

4. Theoretical max for this platform is 326 SP GFLOPS, I was able to
confirm that DP/SP ratio is 1/24 so theoretical max for DP is 13 GFLOPS.
Can someone elaborate or point me to documentation how hard will be to
utilize this power assuming CUDA and MPI usage. 

5. Operating system reside on eMMC, are there any reasons to switch to
SD card or SSD disk (there is a SATA port on board) ?

This was my first post to this list, so please excuse me if I introduced
some confusion.

I'm open to any suggestions, even if it means changing everything in
this build :)

Best Regards,
Piotr Król

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