PowerPC Beowulf Who?

sean o'malley somalley at ed.mde.state.mi.us
Fri Feb 26 04:05:01 EST 1999

Okay, Im talking about a more sophisticated model than the basic clustering
scenario you proposed.
I think for your model maybe TCP/IP would be better.

I thinking something a bit more sophisticated and it may in fact it maybe
called something quite different =)

what about a virtual computer that runs on the network, but is non-existent
as an individual machine. It is made up of the entire network.. You can
submit jobs to it and it will process them with the available resources of
the entire network.

In this model with a firewire backbone, you basically use the network as
the machines bus you can drop harddrives on the network as well as stack of
ram (of which you dont need tcp/ip to utilize ie you give your harddrive an
ip number? *ponders*)  The virtual machine will basically steal individual
cycles from machines to process its information.  Not in big chunks but in
rather tiny chunks thus the worry about network overhead.

Basically its taking the SMP model and exploding it to a network.

No, it wont be as efficient as an SMP machine, nor as fast.  But lets say
you work in an office building with 400 people and they each have their own
computer.  You could get a lot of extra juice out of say your secretary's
machine while she is off on lunch or taking a phone call or while your
talking to her.

You also couldnt use TCP/IP for this model either because there is no
"real" machine its existence is all the parts of the network, not one
aspect of it.  You dont really want to assign harddrives IP numbers nor
would you want to assign it to blocks of ram or scanners on the network
when in fact you dont need them..

And yes I realize it is probably more impractical at this stage than
functional, but it would be cool. =)


>I'm sorry,  but I don't understand what you mean about Firewire begging for
>clustering.  It is an interesting technology in concept but it hasn't been
>implemented for much of anything but some cameras and maybe a hard drive or
>two.  I know we are no where near having firwire working under Linux.
>I think you will find that Firwire doesn't have a Price/performance ratio that
>is adnvantageious over 100mb Ethernet and later Gb ethernet.  That technology
>has been implemented,  is relatively mature and works under nearly all OSs.
>Let's not get confused here,  paralale processing works best when each
>node can
>be given a chunk of the problem and associated data and then left alone.
>time the cluster has to hit the network for anything more than a small
>we lose performance relative to an SMP machine (internal data busses are
>going to be faster than going out to the network).  Huge bandwidth isn't
>the biggest constraint with clusters.  Breaking up the problem correctly is
>much more important.
>Just because you use Firewire doesn't mean you aren't going to use TCP/IP.
>That is up to the drivers and what your basic networking stack can support.  I
>may be wrong on this but I haven't heard anything about Firewire requiring a
>different protocol.  Seems like it would be a lot of work to make one up too,
>especially as we have a very nice TCP/IP stack in Linux.
>Robert G. Werner
>rwerner at lx1.microbsys.com
>Impeach Conggress!!
>If the girl you love moves in with another guy once, it's more than enough.
>Twice, it's much too much.  Three times, it's the story of your life.
>On Thu, 25 Feb 1999, sean o'malley wrote:

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