Beowulf computing

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The Borg, a 52-node Beowulf cluster used by the McGill University pulsar group to search for pulsations from binary pulsars.

Beowulf is a design for high-performance parallel computing clusters on inexpensive personal computer hardware. Originally developed by Donald Becker at NASA, Beowulf systems are now deployed worldwide, chiefly in support of scientific computing.

A Beowulf cluster is a group of usually identical PC computers running an open source Unix-like operating system, such as Linux or BSD. They are networked into a small TCP/IP LAN, and have libraries and programs installed which allow processing to be shared among them.

There is no particular piece of software that defines a cluster as a Beowulf. Commonly used parallel processing libraries include MPI (Message Passing Interface) and PVM (Parallel Virtual Machine). Both of these permit the programmer to divide a task among a group of networked computers, and recollect the results of processing.

The name comes from the legend of Beowulf.

Operating Systems

Presently, there are a number of different Linux distributions that are designed for building Beowulf clusters. These include:

A cluster can be set up by using Knoppix bootable CDs in combination with openMosix. The computers will automatically link together, without need for complex configurations, to form a Beowulf cluster utilizing all CPUs and RAM in the cluster. This type of system is scalable to a nearly unlimited number of computers.


An example of a home-built Beowulf cluster

Other software solutions

See also

External links

da:Beowulf-klyngesystemer de:Beowulf (Cluster) fr:Cluster Beowulf nl:Beowulf-cluster ja:Beowulf pl:Beowulf (informatyka) ru:Beowulf (кластер) tr:Beowulf