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Archives for May 2006

How is security arranged for a large-scale cluster?

Any popular computing platforms eventually becomes the target of nefarious activity. Hackers may try to break into a cluster to cause havoc or to launch denial-of-service attacks against other users in cyberspace. One of the major benefits of a cluster over a grid is that clusters can be tightly controlled by administrators, which means that […]

Do video game consoles make good cluster nodes?

Back in 2003, the National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA) built a cluster using PlayStation 2. The benefit of this set-up, according to the investigators, is that the PS2 has two vector processors alongside the CPU. This means that the PS2 is both cheaper and more powerful than traditional uniprocessor computers. A quick look at […]

What kind of software development tools are available for MPI programmers?

Given that MPI is so wide used in high-performance technical computing, there are a number of software packages available to help programmers develop better code. The first among these is the debugger. There used to be a few open source packages available, but they have all seemingly disappeared. So for commercial debuggers, the most common […]

How are parallel jobs launched?

To launch a parallel job means to start a process on each compute node and then to link those processes together through the high-performance network, such InfiniBand or Myrinet. Of course this means that the processes must some how know about each other to make the connection. One mechanism is to use a shared disk […]

Are benchmarks really useful?

Quick! Name the fastest supercomputer in the world. According to TOP500, it’s the BlueGene/L by IBM. This ranking was determined via a benchmark known as High-Performance Linpack, which performs a series of dense matrix computations. But one must wonder whether this is an accurate reflection of the true performance a computer can withstand in day-to-day […]

Is open source the way to go for HPC software?

The enterprise software space, particularly at the applications level, is almost entirely ruled by commercial software. There are some open source alternatives, but for most part, large corporations are usually willing to pay top dollar to get support for mission-critical applications. Add to that the fact that ERP and CRM packages are among the biggest […]

Why is Microsoft pushing into HPC?

Microsoft has offered a server edition of Windows for quite some time, though recently they have been pushing pretty hard in this space. They currently offer a beta version of an add-on package known as Compute Cluster Server (CCS) that is aimed at the technical market. Microsoft’s own programming tools will work in this space, […]

Does Java have a role in a high-performance or high-availability environment?

Java’s inherit features, such as heterogeneous interoperability and object-oriented development, make it well suited for very large software projects on distributed systems. The Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) is a set of standard APIs for developing server software. This is an extension to the Standard Edition, intended for desktop software. (There is also a […]