, a 52-node Beowulf cluster used by the McGill University pulsar
group to search for pulsations from binary pulsars. The Borg are a fictional pseudo- race of Cyborgs depicted in the Star Trek franchise Pulsars are highly magnetized rotating Neutron stars that emit a beam of Electromagnetic radiation in the form of radio waves
Beowulf is designed for high-performance parallel computing clusters on inexpensive personal computer hardware. Parallel computing is a form of computation in which many instructions are carried out simultaneously operating on the principle that large problems can often A personal computer ( PC) is any Computer whose original sales price size and capabilities make it useful for individuals and which is intended to be operated The name comes from the main character in the Old English epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf (ˈBeɪoʊwʊlf/ /ˈBeɪəwʊlf Old English ˈbeːo̯wʊlf is a legendary Geatish hero and later king in the Old English epic poem named after him
Originally developed by Thomas Sterling and Donald Becker at NASA, Beowulf systems are now deployed worldwide, chiefly in support of scientific computing. Thomas Sterling is a colleague of Don Becker and co-author of the original Beowulf Howto Donald Becker is a notable developer well known for writing many of the Ethernet drivers for the Linux operating system The National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA, ˈnæsə is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation's public space program Computational science (or scientific computing) is the field of study concerned with constructing Mathematical models and numerical solution techniques and using computers
A Beowulf cluster is a group of usually identical PC computers running a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Unix-like operating system, such as BSD, Linux or Solaris. Free software or software libre is Software that can be used studied and modified without restriction and which can be copied and redistributed in modified or unmodified Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX, sometimes also written as Unix with Small caps) is a computer Linux (commonly pronounced ˈlɪnəks Solaris is a Unix -based Operating system introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1992 as the successor to SunOS. They are networked into a small TCP/IP LAN, and have libraries and programs installed which allow processing to be shared among them. The Internet Protocol Suite (commonly TCP/IP) is the set of Communications protocols used for the Internet and other similar networks
There is no particular piece of software that defines a cluster as a Beowulf. Commonly used parallel processing libraries include MPI (Message Passing Interface) and PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine). Message Passing Interface ( MPI) is a specification for an API that allows many computers to communicate with one another Both of these permit the programmer to divide a task among a group of networked computers, and recollect the results of processing. A common misconception is that arbitrary software will run faster on a Beowulf. Software must be revised to take advantage of the cluster. Specifically, it must perform multiple independent parallel operations that can be distributed among the available processors.
Definition (original Beowulf HOWTO)
The following is the definition of a Beowulf cluster from the original Beowulf HOWTO published by Jacek Radajewski and Douglas Eadline under the Linux Documentation Project in 1998. The Linux Documentation Project (LDP is an all-volunteer project that maintains a large collection of GNU and Linux -related documentation and publishes the collection
- Beowulf is a multi-computer architecture which can be used for parallel computations. In Computer engineering, computer architecture is the conceptual design and fundamental operational structure of a Computer system Parallel computing is a form of computation in which many instructions are carried out simultaneously operating on the principle that large problems can often It is a system which usually consists of one server node, and one or more client nodes connected together via Ethernet or some other network. Ethernet is a family of frame -based Computer networking technologies for Local area networks (LANs It is a system built using commodity hardware components, like any PC capable of running a Unix-like operating system, with standard Ethernet adapters, and switches. Unix (officially trademarked as UNIX, sometimes also written as Unix with Small caps) is a computer It does not contain any custom hardware components and is trivially reproducible. Beowulf also uses commodity software like the Linux or Solaris operating system, Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) and Message Passing Interface (MPI). Message Passing Interface ( MPI) is a specification for an API that allows many computers to communicate with one another The server node controls the whole cluster and serves files to the client nodes. It is also the cluster's console and gateway to the outside world. Large Beowulf machines might have more than one server node, and possibly other nodes dedicated to particular tasks, for example consoles or monitoring stations. In most cases client nodes in a Beowulf system are dumb, the dumber the better. Nodes are configured and controlled by the server node, and do only what they are told to do. In a disk-less client configuration, client nodes don't even know their IP address or name until the server tells them what it is. An Internet Protocol ( IP) address is a numerical identification ( Logical address) that is assigned to devices participating in a Computer network
- One of the main differences between Beowulf and a Cluster of Workstations (COW) is the fact that Beowulf behaves more like a single machine rather than many workstations. A Network of Workstations ( NOW) is a Computer network that connects several Computer Workstations together with special software forming In most cases client nodes do not have keyboards or monitors, and are accessed only via remote login or possibly serial terminal. Beowulf nodes can be thought of as a CPU + memory package which can be plugged in to the cluster, just like a CPU or memory module can be plugged into a motherboard.
- Beowulf is not a special software package, new network topology or the latest kernel hack. Beowulf is a technology of clustering computers to form a parallel, virtual supercomputer. Although there are many software packages such as kernel modifications, PVM and MPI libraries, and configuration tools which make the Beowulf architecture faster, easier to configure, and much more usable, one can build a Beowulf class machine using standard Linux distribution without any additional software. If you have two networked computers which share at least the
/home file system via NFS, and trust each other to execute remote shells (rsh), then it could be argued that you have a simple, two node Beowulf machine.
Presently, there are a number of Linux distributions and one BSD that are designed for building Beowulf clusters. A Linux distribution (also called GNU/Linux by distributions such as Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Mandriva and These include:
- ClusterKnoppix (based on Knoppix) - Last update 2004-08-31
- ParallelKnoppix (Also based on Knoppix) - Last update 2008-05-29
- PelicanHPC (based on Debian Live)
- dyne:bolic (geared towards multimedia production)
- Rocks Cluster Distribution
- DragonFly BSD
- Bootable Cluster CD - Last update 2006-12-06
- Quantian (Live DVD with scientific applications, based on Knoppix and ClusterKnoppix) - Last update 2006-02-26. ClusterKnoppix was a specialized Linux distribution based on the Knoppix distribution but which uses the OpenMosix kernel Knoppix, or KNOPPIX (nopɪks is a GNU/Linux Operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD dynebolic is a Live CD Linux distribution with a focus on Multimedia production and is distributed with a large assortment of applications for audio and Rocks Cluster Distribution (originally called NPACI Rocks is a Linux distribution intended for High-performance computing clusters DragonFly BSD is a free Unix-like operating system created as a fork of FreeBSD 4 Quantian OS is a remastering of Knoppix / Debian for computational sciences Knoppix, or KNOPPIX (nopɪks is a GNU/Linux Operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD ClusterKnoppix was a specialized Linux distribution based on the Knoppix distribution but which uses the OpenMosix kernel
A cluster can be set up by using Knoppix bootable CDs in combination with OpenMosix. Knoppix, or KNOPPIX (nopɪks is a GNU/Linux Operating system based on Debian designed to be run directly from a CD / DVD openMosix was a free cluster management system that provides Single-system image (SSI capabilities e The computers will automatically link together, without need for complex configurations, to form a Beowulf cluster utilizing all CPUs and RAM in the cluster. A Beowulf cluster is scalable to a nearly unlimited number of computers, limited only by the overhead of the network.
A home-built Beowulf cluster
The name for the system was bestowed by Dr. The Kentucky Linux Athlon Testbed (or KLAT2 is a 64+2 node Beowulf cluster built by the University of Kentucky in 2000 The Stone Soupercomputer was a Beowulf Computer cluster built at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1997. Sterling because the poem describes Beowulf as having "thirty men's heft of grasp in the gripe of his hand. " 
"Can you imagine a Beowulf cluster of these?" is a long running joke on Slashdot, being posted any time an article mentions a new CPU or computer. Slashdot, often abbreviated as /, is a technology-related news Website owned by SourceForge Inc
Other software solutions
- See also: Category:Job scheduling
External links Sun Grid Engine ( SGE) previously known as CODINE (COmputing in DIstributed Networked Environments or GRD (Global Resource Director is an Open Grid computing is a form of Distributed computing whereby a "super and virtual computer" is composed of a cluster of networked loosely-coupled "APRIL" redirects here See April (disambiguation for other uses SPARC (from Scalable Processor Architecture is a RISC Microprocessor Instruction set architecture originally
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