[Beowulf] computational cost (was TeX/LaTex for Ubuntu)
landman at scalableinformatics.com
Mon Jun 24 17:53:19 PDT 2013
[not trying to hijack the thread, just thinking about an interesting
variant based upon Chris' comment ... and as I am supposed to be on
vacation, I shouldn't be reading/commenting right now ...]
On 06/24/2013 08:11 PM, Christopher Samuel wrote:
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> On 25/06/13 08:23, Max R. Dechantsreiter wrote:
>> Does anyone have advice on installing TeX (with LaTex) under
> Not really on topic (unless you plan to do embarrassingly parallel
> document generation on a Beowulf cluster), but you can do:
Funny about that ... I built my thesis with 'make' and LaTeX. There
were enough independent parts (plots generated with gnuplot and others
driven from the makefile), that it could have generated it in parallel...
I remember it taking ~10 minutes on my laptop, and about 30 seconds on
my SGI Indy.
Not exactly a beowulf class problem ... or ...
Think about what Netflix does. It makes some large number N of
different formatted files for every asset it streams. Each formatted
file is for a different bit rate/resolution. I am guessing that the
economics favor storage streaming versus computational cycles to
Why this is interesting, and the entre into this from the LaTeX bit, is
that when I was starting out on my thesis research topic, the cost of
precomputing, storing, and later retrieving specific data (integrals)
was low compared to the computational cost of generating that data when
needed, even though the code fundamentally favored "in-situ" generation
(made for a cleaner design).
Previously, in undergrad, I was working on a research project for a
professor, and the cost of storage was gigantic as compared to the cost
of computing (in-situ again), even though the latter took somewhat more
What I find interesting is how, throughout my career on the non-vendor
side of the fence, costs of one aspect or another significantly
influenced code and code implementation.
LaTeX is a compiled language. The compilation results in a device
independent binary that is mapped to a device dependent state via
various tools. In LaTeX, we see a similar "echo" of this pattern where
font generation can occur beforehand, or "in-situ" when needed.
In the Netflix case, its likely that the economics of compute in-situ
for rescaling/resampling versus streaming pre-computed from storage is
(currently) strongly favoring the streaming.
Honestly, I think Beowulf as a concept is all about gaining some measure
of control over the economics of this situation. Lower the cost of
computing (and storage) to the point where the decisions about what to
do with the code are driven by the needs of the application and effort
moreso than the costs of a set of actions.
Just some random thoughts on a warm Monday night in NY.
Back to your regularly scheduled cluster ...
Joseph Landman, Ph.D
Founder and CEO
Scalable Informatics, Inc.
email: landman at scalableinformatics.com
web : http://scalableinformatics.com
phone: +1 734 786 8423 x121
fax : +1 866 888 3112
cell : +1 734 612 4615
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