[Beowulf] Best Way to Use 48-cores For Undergrad Cluster?

Kevin Hunter hunteke at earlham.edu
Thu May 6 18:18:55 PDT 2010

At 8:41pm -0400 Thu, 06 May 2010, Jon Forrest wrote:
> I see you can now get 48-cores in one 1U box.  What do you think 
> about running all the compute nodes as 1-core virtual machines on 
> the one box? Or, would you just run the machine with one OS and a 
> SGE queue with 47 slots (with 1 core for the frontend)?

I'm not an administrative type and haven't yet had to solve this style
of problem, so I can't actually respond directly with an answer.  I will
briefly mention that this has recently become a perhaps-viable option to
investigate thanks to the memory deduplication code that was
incorporated into the Linux kernel as of 2.6.32.



I haven't yet read anything about how it plays with HPC.  Would not mind
a link, if anyone has one.

Another angle you might try is putting a portable cluster in your office
or in class everyday.  I'm not aware of the chemistry track software
requirements, but you may be interested in a couple of ongoing HPC
education oriented projects:

http://www.calvin.edu/~adams/research/microwulf/ -> cluster attempting
to be portable and to reduce the $/GFlop ratio.

This article on clustermonkey.net may also be of interest:


Finally, some related projects may also be of interest:

http://littlefe.net/ -> inexpensive cluster created specifically with
undergraduate (and younger) students in mind.  Students can physically
handle the components and can get a visceral experience of solving their

Hope this helps,


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