Beowulf: A theorical approach

David Lombard david.lombard at
Thu Jun 22 08:15:50 PDT 2000

"Walter B. Ligon III" wrote:
> --------
> > Hi,
> >
> > I'm doing my final year project and I'm writting about the Beowulf project
> > an the Beowulf clusters.
> > I've been reading several documents about the beowulf clusters, but I would
> > like to ask all of you some questions about them.
> >
> > As I've seen the main objective behind any Beowulf cluster is the
> > price/performance tag, specially when compared to supercomputers. But as
> > network hardware and commodity systems are becoming faster and faster
> > (getting closer to GHz and Gigabit speeds), could you think on competting
> > directly with supercomputers?
> If it becomes possible to compete with a "supercomputer" in all applications
> using COTS HW that would be great!  I don't see that in the near future, but
> we may get there eventually.  Depends on how much Beowulf cuts into the
> development of "supercomputers."

It's already happened.  A current cluster composed of Intel,
Intel-compatible, or Alpha hardware can certainly provide absolute
performance advantages over current supercomputer offerings for some
problems.  I don't just mean useless demonstration problems, but
real-life industrial applications.  Remember, I said some, not all --
but the classes of suitable problems and programs are growing.

As for price-performance, well there's nothing much to say...

David N. Lombard

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