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Clusters

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Clusters

Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:58 pm

While I was delving into the realm of supercomputers, I came across clusters.

Basically, a cluster is a group of individual computers networked together and run as a virtual machine. Computations are run simultaneously (when allowed) on the separate machines, for a much faster ops/sec speed.

I've been reading up on people building these "machines" using multiple motherboards with minimal equipment installed (a small HDD, the ethernet port for networking, etc.), and was thinking I could do the same with mini-atx boards.

This probably wouldn't be anytime soon, but sometime in the future for various mathematical purposes (factorization of large numbers comes to mind).

Anyway, that's all I've got so far. Several mini-atx boards sporting a single-core Intel processor, an ethernet port, some sort of permanent memory, the casing and power-supply to support it all, the cooling system, and probably Solaris running VPM (Virtual Parallel Machine).

Here's a small example of a cluster.

Any ideas, comments, thoughts, interests?
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Unread postAuthor: brogdenlaxmiddie » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:06 pm

I think that your main limiting factor as far as speed is going to be that processor. I'd get a much better one from Intel, like the dual-Pentium or something of that nature.
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Unread postAuthor: drex » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:24 pm

could you use this for folding@home?
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Unread postAuthor: mark.f » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:45 pm

brogdenlaxmiddie - that would be all well and good, but with 8 or so required, that would also get pretty expensive. It all depends on how much power I need at the time.

drex - you could probably use it for folding@home, but a more powerful cluster is in too high of a demand to give out it's resources. Me and other students would probably keep it busy with our own projects. It's not like a personal computer.
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Unread postAuthor: TurboSuper » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:28 pm

You could use it to generate Rainbow Tables and/or brute force encryption keys.

On a less illegal note- isn't that how Google originally started, using a cluster of inexpenive systems? My buddy said it was.
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Unread postAuthor: brogdenlaxmiddie » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:32 pm

Turbo, that's exactly what I was thinking :D :twisted:
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Unread postAuthor: psycix » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:52 am

Sounds cool to me, besides I would not have much use for it.
Me and other students would probably keep it busy with our own projects. It's not like a personal computer.

Could we know what projects?
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Unread postAuthor: jimmy101 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:48 pm

You might want to read up on "SETI at home". http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/
As of 23 October 2000... (The) volunteers had donated a total of 437,000 years of CPU time for a total 4.3 x 10<sup>20</sup> flop. Currently, the average processing rate of computers running SETI@home is 15.7 Tflops... To our knowledge, SETI@home is the largest distributed computation project in existence. It could also be considered to be the largest supercomputer in existence.

You can get great performance by either using a small number of CPUs tightly coupled or a much larger number of 'puters with much looser coupling (i.e., slower interprocessor communication).

Folks have had pretty good success with just collecting a large number of outdated PCs and link'm all together. A couple 1GHz WIN98 boxes (couple hundred bucks each) will outperform, for certain types of calculations, a 3GHz duocore box.

So there are "high-tech" and "low-tech" ways to go about building a cluster.
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