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mastahcks

how do you link up a bunch of computers as one system

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okay i have about 7 computers laying around and i remember reading some were that you can link them all together as one system and they will act like one super computer, anyone ever heard of this and if you hand throw me a bone

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The technique is called clustering. I suggest googiling for that to find more information

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Beowolf Clusters > *

</throwback>

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In short, it's not like you can combine 10 1GHz machines to get the equivalent of a 10GHz machine for general computing. A bunch of junkers will not make a good desktop computer. Clustering is only really useful for crunching huge datasets (or small ones that need extra crunching).

Why can't you just make them like one big, really fast machine?

  • Computer programs are very linear. One thing comes after another, you can't simply farm out all the instructions to other machines. In order for that to happen, programs have to be parallellized. It's true that more and more programs are being parallelized because the speed of a core is slowing and the number of cores on a CPU is rising, but there is the next problem.
  • Memory architecture is a problem. Programs parallelized for SMP (multi-CPU or multi-core) machines use threads. Threads imply the programs are running in the same address space. Synchronization and data sharing takes advantage of this. If the programs are running on different machines, this can't take place.
  • Distribution is non-trivial. A rather large extra step exists in pushing out programs and data to the nodes in the cluster. This usually takes place in user-space, so programs have to be written for this specific purpose. Some tasks work well with distributed computing, other's do not. Clusters aren't for everyone.
  • Latency makes interactive programs difficult. Pushing data to, and pulling data from, cluster nodes takes time. This makes interactive programs difficult to distribute. You won't be running many games on this cluster.

So what did you want to use a cluster for? As you can see, clusters are pretty useless for most people.

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The easiest way I found to start off with was cluster knoppix. Though as others have said, it is not as simple as just linking them to have a single big machine. For things like computing rainbow tables or ray tracing they can be quite usefull, just purely becuase the calculations can be done independantly and do not rely on the results of anything else.

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I'd say, try it out as an experiment, but unless you plan on doing some hardcore video rendering or folding/cracking, you'll get bored of it really quickly if you do get it set up.

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SuperPI is threaded, so you couldn't use it to test the speed of your parrelelised (sorry, there's no way I can ever spell that) computers.

But you may be able to find programs to calculate PI that are designed for multi-cored computers.

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SuperPI is threaded, so you couldn't use it to test the speed of your parrelelised (sorry, there's no way I can ever spell that) computers.

But you may be able to find programs to calculate PI that are designed for multi-cored computers.

No, SuperPI is not threaded. Calculating pi is something very linear. The calculation of the next digit relies on the result of the previous digit. I don't think the calculation of pi can be parallelized, so it's not a very good benchmark.

The classic example of clusters and SMP machines is a raytrace. The scene information is easily copied to other machines and each pixel can be rendered completely independently of the others.

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SuperPI is threaded, so you couldn't use it to test the speed of your parrelelised (sorry, there's no way I can ever spell that) computers.

But you may be able to find programs to calculate PI that are designed for multi-cored computers.

No, SuperPI is not threaded. Calculating pi is something very linear. The calculation of the next digit relies on the result of the previous digit. I don't think the calculation of pi can be parallelized, so it's not a very good benchmark.

The classic example of clusters and SMP machines is a raytrace. The scene information is easily copied to other machines and each pixel can be rendered completely independently of the others.

Is there some way to parallel then come together again because you could calculate it in bits and come together at the end using the

pi = (4/1) + (4/3) - (4/5) + (4/7) - (4/9) ... method

calculating 10 or so parts in each thread with a master thread holding the total

(Sorry, i know very little of writing threaded applications)

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that algorithm only gives an approximation of pi, to get the value for pi you would have to do it an infinite number of times and even then its not sure whether it will give you exact pi. so you cant calculate pi, but it would work as a benchmark

Edited by serious putty
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Each calculation would get you somewhat closer to the exact value. So you run it till it reaches a preset number of decimals and you have a rather accurate approximation...

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ummm thanks but you lost me somewhere in the first couple of repiles, so would this really be worth any good, i hae about 5 laptops and 2 desktops and i dont use the laptops and ones of the desktop, the have like pentiums inside and at least 512mb ram each

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ummm thanks but you lost me somewhere in the first couple of repiles, so would this really be worth any good, i hae about 5 laptops and 2 desktops and i dont use the laptops and ones of the desktop, the have like pentiums inside and at least 512mb ram each

... Send one to me! ;)

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ummm thanks but you lost me somewhere in the first couple of repiles, so would this really be worth any good, i hae about 5 laptops and 2 desktops and i dont use the laptops and ones of the desktop, the have like pentiums inside and at least 512mb ram each

... Send one to me! ;)

Ditto, my systems have 512mb ram at most :unsure:

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That many comps, phe build your own little lan and hack the evva lovvin shit outta it.

thats my advice; put Linux on em and do that. Btw, no offense but that is definitely closer to your level of understanding than building a beowolf cluster.

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