[Beowulf] Introduction and question

Prentice Bisbal pbisbal at pppl.gov
Thu Mar 21 13:31:38 PDT 2019

Thanks for sharing this. I was recently asked for my input in a job 
description for a new position. They wanted to make the education 
requirements a minimum of a BS in Math, Physics, Engineering, or CS. I 
recommended that they DO NOT list any education requirements for this 
position, because most of the skills they were looking for (git, make 
files, GNU autoconf, CMake, etc.), are not taught in any college 
curriculum I know of, so a formal education is no guarantee of those 
skills. and some of the best sys admins and programmers I ever met  had 
no formal education in STEM, or at all.

I was overruled.


On 3/21/19 5:08 AM, Benson Muite wrote:
> "Many employers look for people who studied humanities and learned IT 
> by themselves, for their wider appreciation of human values."
> Mark Burgess
> https://www.usenix.org/sites/default/files/jesa_0201_issue.pdf
> On 2/23/19 4:30 PM, Will Dennis wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> I thought I’d give a brief introduction, and see if this list is a 
>> good fit for my questions that I have about my HPC-“ish” 
>> infrastructure...
>> I am a ~30yr sysadmin (“jack-of-all-trades” type), completely 
>> self-taught (B.A. is in English, that’s why I’m a sysadmin :-P) and 
>> have ended up working at an industrial research lab for a large 
>> multi-national IT company (http://www.nec-labs.com). In our lab we 
>> have many research groups (as detailed on the aforementioned website) 
>> and a few of them are now using “HPC” technologies like Slurm, and 
>> I’ve become the lead admin for these groups. Having no prior 
>> background in this realm, I’m learning as fast as I can go :)
>> Our “clusters” are collections of 5-30 servers, all collections 
>> bought over years and therefore heterogeneous hardware, all with 
>> locally-installed OS (i.e. not trad head-node with PXE-booted 
>> diskless minions) which is as carefully controlled as I can make it 
>> via standard OS install via Cobbler templates, and then further 
>> configured via config management (we use Ansible.) Networking is 
>> basic 10GbE between nodes (we do have Infiniband availability on one 
>> cluster, but it’s fell into disuse now since the project that has 
>> required it has ended.) Storage is one or more traditional NFS 
>> servers (some use ZFS, some not.) We have within the past few years 
>> adopted Slurm WLM for a job-scheduling system on top of these 
>> collections, and now are up to three different Slurm clusters, with I 
>> believe a fourth on the way.
>> My first question for this list is basically “do I belong here?” I 
>> feel there’s a lot of HPC concepts it would be good for me to learn, 
>> so as I can improve the various research group’s computing 
>> environments, but not sure if this list is for much larger “true HPC” 
>> environments, or would be a good fit for a “HPC n00b” like me...
>> Thanks for reading, and let me know your opinions :)
>> Best,
>> Will
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