[Beowulf] What can a HS student do with a small Beowulf?

Glen Beane glen.beane at jax.org
Tue May 23 17:00:20 PDT 2006

Lombard, David N wrote:

> Depends on what you mean by "a career in computational clusters."  Users
> and many of the best parallel programmers come from science (not CS) and
> engineering.  Precious little formal instruction exists for parallel
> programming at all, let alone MPI, OpenMP, et al. so most have learned
> parallel programming by necessity.

I come from a CS background, and I have a 'career in computational
clusters'.  It started as a graduate student in CS where I worked on a
project sponsored by the US Army that dealt with various aspects of
cluster computing.  Eventually I ended up working for a genetics
research lab where I work directly with researchers to develop code for
clusters (I'm also the resident HPC 'expert' so I also have to deal with
things like strategic planning and purchasing/price negotiation.)  The
clusters are administered by the Unix/Linux support in the IT
department.  It is pretty tough to get into this field with a pure CS
background (I did take parallel computing and modeling courses).

Often biostatisticians or computational biologists will prototype their
algorithms (often using matlab, R, or java), and then give me pseudocode
or some other specification, and I design and program a parallel C version

As for the original poster:  don't waste your time building a cluster
you don't need.  You'll be better served practicing your programming
skills.  Anyone that can administer a small linux network can setup a
beowulf cluster in no time - you won't learn much by doing it yourself
especially since you won't have anything to do with the cluster once you
get it built.

Glen L. Beane
The Jackson Laboratory
Software Engineer II
Phone (207) 288-6153

More information about the Beowulf mailing list