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Re: Debian Beowulf (and intent to package xmpi and scalapack)

Greetings!  We have our 16 node Debian Beowulf system up and running.
Nodes: PII 350, 128M RAM, 3G IDE disk, Intel EtherExpressPro NIC.
Server: Dual PII 350, 128M RAM, 2 9G SCSI Seagate Barracuda, RAID1, 2
NICS (1 eepro).  Baystack 350-T Switch.  ~$17k.  

We've just completed our benchmarks last week.  I would like to use
the work that has been done to help the Debian project in this area.
The ways that come to mind are: 

1) contributing an xmpi package (working version already installed

1.5) contributing a Scalapack package (not done yet)

2) helping out with the lam package (currently consulting with
maintainer.) (LAM is much faster than MPICH on our code where latency
is an issue.)

3) setting up a web site with benchmarks, comparing with
our SGI Power Challenge, and discussing our choice of Debian. (2-9
times faster, more than 10 times cheaper)

4) Perhaps writing and contributing a Beowulf administration package.
I was thinking about something like procmeter, running in gtk over the
whole cluster.  Maybe even some transparent way to do package
management over the cluster.

5) Perhaps contributing a kernel module package which enables
temperature sensing (lm-sensors).

There is so much which we need to do anyway, and which can be usefully
IMHO shared with the Debian Project, that its hard to know where to
begin.  I would greatly appreciate ideas about what others would like
to see in Debian for Beowulves; it seems that this is an area in which
the distribution could excel.

My problem: I've been a developer of a single package for some time,
but can no longer subscribe to the mailing lists, because the volume
overwhelms my ISP's fragile mail system, and/or I get periodically
unsubscribed when my ISP temporarily refuses to accept mail.  Please
send any replies to camm@enhanced.com.

Nils Lohner <lohner@typhoon.icd.teradyne.com> writes:

> You posted this mail to debian-devel back in April.  I'd like to know how 
> work is going and if you've had success building a Debian Beowulf.  Please 
> drop me a note, and maybe a pointer to a web page if you have one set up.
> Regards,
> Nils.
> In message <m0yMHKS-0008zyC@enhanced.com>, Camm Maguire writes:
> >
> >Greetings!  I work for a company which has decided to attempt
> >to replace its SGI Power Challenge with a Beowulf type Linux system.
> >The primary reason behind this decision is the expense of SGI support
> >and maintenance of non-commodity hardware.  We have an eventual budget
> >of 10 to 20 thousand dollars, with about 8 to 9 to work with at
> >first.  We have several years experience (all positive) with Linux;
> >the most recent being with Debian Linux.  We plan on using Debian for
> >this project, and, if successful, would hope that we could use the
> >project to advertise the strengths of Debian.
> >
> >I would greatly appreciate any advice from the readers of this list on
> >what hardware would be best for this project.  Is the Alpha
> >distribution ready for prime-time?  What about SMP boards?  We'd like
> >to get the most bang for our buck, but don't have the manpower to
> >handle extensive software debugging/instability.  Also, if any
> >knowledgeable reader could comment on any performance surprises which
> >may be in store for us, that would be most helpful.  The Beowulf
> >systems I've seen described so far claim to peak at around 1.2 GFLOPS
> >for 16 machines, which is about 2 to 3 times faster than to 400 MFLOPS
> >we get with the Power Challenge, but I'm sure this is task dependent
> >and I'd like to get a feel for how this performance will degrade as
> >the granularity of the parallelism decreases.
> >
> >Thanks!
> >
> >-- 
> >Camm Maguire			     			camm@enhanced.com
> >==========================================================================
> >"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  --  Baha'u'llah
> >
> -- 
> Nils Lohner				E-Mail: lohner@debian.org
> Debian Press Contact                    Press:  press@debian.org

Camm Maguire			     			camm@enhanced.com
"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."  --  Baha'u'llah

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