[Beowulf] Demo-cluster ideas

Olli-Pekka Lehto olli-pekka.lehto at csc.fi
Mon Mar 7 08:44:00 PST 2016

First iteration of the mini-cluster is now in production. Some takeaways and

We did the first deployment of the mini-cluster, called "Sisunen" last weekend
at the local science centre. We ended up developing the concept so that kids
could actually construct the cluster. We held 7 build sessions, each with 10
participants, over 2 days. Each session took about 30min. This really made it a
really tangible experience. Things went very smoothly, largely thanks to the
really good team of HPC specialists that ran the workshops.

Here’s a video of the end product: 

We ended up with following demos:

SPH from Tiny Titan - This was probably the most popular demo. We amped up the
particle count by 10x compared to the Raspberry Pi version and got it working

PiBrot from Tiny Titan - Helped show the difference in parallel performance
between 1 and 10 nodes. Explaining fractals in simple enough terms was a bit
challenging though.

Game of Life - One of our standard MPI training projects, spruced up for the
demos a bit.

NAMD+VMD - It was nice to show a real world code (molecular dynamics). Finding a
better input set might be useful.

Blender 3D - We ran out of time with this a bit. Works but Still need to set up 
a nice scene to render with a good balance of amount of frames, wow-factor and 
render time.

The codes will be made available here and hopefully we’ll release more in the
future: https://github.com/sisunen We also welcome all contributions, of course

In the future it would be nice to get an interactive deep learning demo set up.
Possibly neural style (https://github.com/jcjohnson/neural-style) and/or Deep
Dream (https://github.com/google/deepdream). If anyone is up for a nice ML
project for themselves or possibly some grad student then productising these for
demo cluster use might not be a bad idea. :)

Also the blink(1) USB LED indicators really helped illustrate how things were
parallelized by color-coding the different tasks and setting the LEDs to
correspond. Any demo code should ideally have support for these.


----- Original Message -----
> From: "Olli-Pekka Lehto" <olli-pekka.lehto at csc.fi>
> To: beowulf at beowulf.org
> Sent: Monday, 1 February, 2016 17:57:30
> Subject: [Beowulf] Demo-cluster ideas

> We're in the process of developing a demo Beowulf cluster in the spirit of Tiny
> Titan (http://tinytitan.github.io/). However, the one we are working on is
> based on 10 Intel i7 small-form-factor boards with a fairly good per-core
> compute capability.
> I'd be interested to hear if you have some ideas (or even pointers to code!) for
> demonstrating HPC concepts to the general public. Especially having an element
> of interactivity would be nice.
> Couple of low-hanging fruits that we are already looking at are
> Blender/povray-rendering and porting the existing Tiny Titan codes.
> Best regards,
> Olli-Pekka
> --
> Olli-Pekka Lehto
> Development Manager
> Computing Platforms
> CSC - IT Center for Science Ltd.
> E-Mail: olli-pekka.lehto at csc.fi
> Tel: +358 50 381 8604
> skype: oplehto // twitter: ople
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