How to make a supercomputer from "off the shelf" components: The Beowulf Project.

Would you like to know how to create a "supercomputer" just by connecting a lot of PC's together? A seminar series March 5 and 6 at the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center will review a project that did just that. The presentations will be broadcast on the mbone . Use sdr to see advertisements.

The Beowulf Project, initiated as a small research project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, resulted in a new class of scaleable machines composed of mass market, off-the-shelf components using a freely available operating system and industry-standard software packages. This seminar series will provide an overview of the project and its implications. All sessions will allow ample time for questions and audience participation.

Seminar presenter Dr. Thomas Sterling, the "father" of Beowulf, is currently Senior Staff Scientist, High Performance Computing Systems Group, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Visiting Associate, Center for Advanced Computing Research at the California Institute of Technology.

The Beowulf Project - An Overview

Thursday, March 5, 9-11 am, 109 Butrovich (Regents' Conference Room) The background, progress and successes of Beowulf.

Implementing Beowulf

Thursday, March 5, 2-4 pm, 109 Butrovich Dave Covey of the Geophysical Institute will join Dr. Sterling for a discussion on implementing Beowulf.

Petaflops Computing

Friday, March 6, 9-11 am, 109 Butrovich The latest developments in the petaflop computing community.

Additional information about the seminars is available by calling 450.8600 or via e-mail to consult@arsc.edu .

Beowulf Project at Caltech

A "Pile of PCs." Beowulf systems--consisting of PCs connected by commodity networks and running free software that can be used to apply all the PCs to a single application--deliver supercomputer performance at the lowest possible price. A 16-processor Beowulf-class machine made from off-the-shelf PentiumPro processors interconnected by 100BaseT switch can deliver 3 gigaflops (peak) and features 2 gigabytes of RAM and 51 gigabytes of disk. More details on Beowulf are available on Caltech's website.

Caltech has implemented Beowulf using 140 PCs. Each of the 140 processors has a Venus Motherboard with 200 MHz Pentium Pro processor, 120 megabytes of RAM, 3.1 gigabytes of disk and a 100 megabit/sec ethernet adapter. Beowulf runs RedHat Linux, the EASY job scheduler, several message passing libraries and Gnu versions of C, C++ and Fortran.

Dr. Thomas Sterling has been engaged in research related to parallel computer architecture, system software, and evaluation for more than a decade. He was a key contributor to the design, implementation, and testing of several experimental parallel architectures including Beowulf. The focus of Dr. Sterling's research has been on the modeling and evaluation of performance factors determining scalability of high performance computing systems. He holds six patents, is the co-author of two books and has published dozens of papers in the field of parallel computing.

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