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LinuxBIOS, BProc-Based Supercomputer For LANL

timothy posted about 12 years ago | from the yeah-but-what-about-the-neon-lights dept.

Linux 189

An anonymous reader writes "LANL will be receiving a 1024 node (2048 processor) LinuxBIOS/BProc based supercomputer late this year. The story is at this location. This system is unique in Linux cluster terms due to no disks on compute nodes, using LinuxBIOS and Beoboot to accomplish booting, and BProc for job startup and management. It is officially known as the Science Appliance, but is affectionately known as Pink to the team that is building much of it."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4407988)

fp beeyatch!

imagine a (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4407993)

beowulf cluster of those!

Wow... (0, Troll)

NineNine (235196) | about 12 years ago | (#4407997)

I could serve up a shitload of porn with this. Seriously. No, really. A whole lot of porn.

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408010)

Indeed.

Re:Wow... (2, Funny)

billd (11997) | about 12 years ago | (#4408042)

I could serve up a shitload of porn with this

Think so? Wouldn't a system with disks be more suitable for that?

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408107)

Diskless Digitally Rendered Porn. (DDRP)!!!
NP N&P finally realized!!!!!

Re:Wow... (2, Funny)

jpaz (512242) | about 12 years ago | (#4408166)

I could serve up a shitload of porn with this

How many standard Libraries of Congress is a shitload?

Re:Wow... (and it's a joke, people) (1)

jx100 (453615) | about 12 years ago | (#4408183)

enough to fill about 17 football fields.

Re:Wow... (1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | about 12 years ago | (#4408193)

a whole buttload of them...

e2 [everything2.com] has a handy guide [everything2.com] to *load conversions.

Re:Wow... (3, Funny)

JesseL (107722) | about 12 years ago | (#4408282)

Is that an imperial shitload or a metric shitload?

Re:Wow... (5, Funny)

binaryDigit (557647) | about 12 years ago | (#4408188)

Think so? Wouldn't a system with disks be more suitable for that

Nah, just one honkin RAMDisk. Could serve up mucho porn/warez, when the feds come knockin, just pull the plug, presto, no evidence :)

Re:Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408206)

With 2048 processors and an assumed 1GB/node that's 1TB of low latency, super high-jiz RAM.

With an architecture like that you can avoid making physical copies on dozens or hundreds of nodes..

Re:Wow... (2)

foobar104 (206452) | about 12 years ago | (#4408456)

With 2048 processors and an assumed 1GB/node that's 1TB of low latency, super high-jiz RAM.

How do you define "low latency?" From a first glance at the evidence, it appears that this cluster just uses plain old TCP/IP over Ethernet as its node interconnect. That's not exactly low latency access to remote memory, you know.

Just nitpickin'.

Obligatory Beowulf Post (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4407999)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these!
  • Beowulf? [slashdot.org] by czardonic (Score:4, Funny) Monday October 08, @12:07AM
  • Re:Obligatory Beowulf Post [slashdot.org] by Anonymous Coward (Score:-1) Monday October 08, @12:08AM
  • Greatest joke ever! [slashdot.org] by conner_bw (Score:1) Monday October 08, @12:10AM

Re:Obligatory Beowulf Post (2, Funny)

oz_ko (571352) | about 12 years ago | (#4408140)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these
In the interests of preseving diskspace i propose making IABCOT a standard slashdot acronym

Make it short already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408647)

"IABCOT!"

TIA,
AC, YABA, IG.

Floyd (1)

Nobley (598336) | about 12 years ago | (#4408000)

Anybody know if this is a reference to Pink Floyd, if so then I appreciate this team all the more :)

Re:Floyd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408067)

Pink is simply a color reference in this case. Advanced Simulation Computing Initiative (ASCI) White and Blue are two other supercomputers utilized by the LLNL, LANL's cousin DOE laboratory. I believe ASCI purple is the most recent undertaking at LLNL. You can read more at http://www.llnl.gov/asci/purple

Re:Floyd (1)

adpowers (153922) | about 12 years ago | (#4408087)

If you go to this page [lanl.gov] you will see an announcement for the cluster.

And I quote: "We will call it Pink [pinkspage.com] ."

Re:Floyd (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408246)

I think a more fitting musical allusion would be 'Music from Big Pink', by The Band.

Re:Floyd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408270)


No, in fact it is a reference to good porn vs. bad born; ie the presence of pink.

second post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408003)

2nd post, where yall at, punks?

Wait... (1, Redundant)

hkhanna (559514) | about 12 years ago | (#4408004)

Pardon my ignorance, but would this be considered a Beowulf cluster? I mean everyone on /. talks about them so is this it, finally? A real live, Beowulf cluster? If so, imagine a beowulf cluster of beowulf clusters.

Or, a beowulf cluster of beowulf clusters of beowulf clusters. The possibilities are infinite (literally.)

Not a Beowulf cluster (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408038)

But if you'd replace the expensive high-performance interconnect with a cheap ethernet, then it would be a Beowulf cluster.

A comment about Pink (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408007)

Pink is a dirty, slutty, nasty, filthy monkey faced tiny titty whore who should die of every sexually transmitted disease in the world at the same time that fucking snatch.

Re:A comment about Pink (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408117)

Have you been reintegrated or am I paying for this shit?

Jive Term of the Day: Tree-suit (-1)

JiveMofoDude (609780) | about 12 years ago | (#4408008)

Tree-suit: n. A cellulose-derived catafalque intended for the internment of a deceased human being; A burial coffin

"All you people's best check yo asses, goin' 'round bumpin' uglies wit any Jack o' Jay willin'. Cover that stump befo' you hump o' you endin' up in a tree-suit, you dig!?"

hmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408016)

why are there stories like this? So every Slasdotter can say "wow, thats cool, i can't afford it, when's the next story about old bill?"

Good Thing (TM) (0, Flamebait)

Nobley (598336) | about 12 years ago | (#4408021)

It is a good thing it doesnt run windows, because every year they would have Science Appliance Compliance issues, with updates and $$$

Re:Good Thing (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408064)

Watch it, buster. You are dangerously close to a one-way ticket onto my foes list.

Re:Good Thing (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408179)

Whooaa. Great big AC telling me to watch it. I'm sooooooo scared.

Re:Good Thing (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408295)

Yeah, you better watch it. You just made it on my friends list.

Re:Good Thing (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408501)

you have just been put on my foes of my enemies second cousin list

Re:Good Thing (TM) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408233)

You might want to check and see if you meet any of the criteria on this list. [thedipstop.com] I think your chances of finding a match are pretty good.

Excellent News (-1, Offtopic)

UltraBot2K1 (320256) | about 12 years ago | (#4408024)

We're going to need all the computer power we can muster if we are to avert this coming catastrophe. I wonder how supercomputers can be brought to bear on this problem? Los Alamos should have no problem quickly retooling from investigating outdated nuclear weapons to investigating the fusion process of the sun.


The Sun Will Explode In Less Than Six Years! [yahoo.com]
Wednesday September 18, 2002

By GEORGE SANFORD

The Sun is overheating and will soon blow up . . . taking Earth and the rest of the solar system with it, scientists warn.

The alert was issued after an international satellite photographed a massive explosion on the surface of the Sun that sent a plume of fire 30 times longer than the diameter of Earth blasting into space.

"It's a sign that the Sun is ready to blow . . . I don't know if I can put it any more plainly than that," says Dutch astrophysicist Dr. Piers Van der Meer, a top expert affiliated with the European Space Agency.

"It will be like a nuclear bomb trillions of times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima going off at the center of our solar system.

"When that happens Earth will be instantly incinerated along with all life on it. It's like when a marshmallow falls into a fire, blackens and melts."

Scientists say the problem is the Sun is literally getting too hot.

The core temperature of the Sun is normally 27 million degrees Fahrenheit. But in recent years it's climbed to an alarming 49 million degrees, says Dr. Van der Meer, leader of a team of Amsterdam-based space scientists who've been tracking the changes in the Sun.

"It's quite similar to when a star goes supernova at the end of its life," Dr. Van der Meer explains. "Over the past 11 years, we've seen our Sun go through changes frighteningly like those that took place in Kepler's Star right before it was observed going supernova in 1604."

Temperatures on the surface of the Sun have been steadily climbing over the past decade, the scientists say.

"This, we believe, not man-made pollution, is responsible for global warming and the alarming effects that we've seen take place on Earth such as the melt-down of the Antarctic ice shelves," asserted Dr. Van der Meer.

The July 1 images were taken by the space-based Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a satellite designed to study the internal structure of the Sun and operated jointly by NASA and the European Space Agency.

"The explosion . . . known technically as an eruptive prominence . . . was colossal," said Dr. Van der Meer. "This is the final warning sign we've all been dreading."

The Dutch scientists calculate that if temperatures keep climbing at the current rate the Sun will be unable to sustain itself.

"It will blow apart like an out-of-control nuclear reactor within six years," predicts Dr. Van der Meer.

NASA refuses to confirm the Euro-pean scientists' assertions and a White House source said, "We don't need anyone spreading more panic now."

weekly world news sucks (2)

valmont (3573) | about 12 years ago | (#4408244)

For those of you not familiar with the "Weekly World News" publication, it is a tabloid you'll find at most american supermarkets which will feature highly elevating stories such as "mom gives birth to four-headed quintuplets". The above story is just another one of their fictions. This is what tabloids do. They sell fiction. They appeal to the mentally ill-challenged, gulible minus habens.

Yahoo features those articles in their TV/Gossip/Entertainment section. So you don't have to spend money at the supermarket. Go yahoo.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Most commonly asked question about the computer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408043)

Which one is pink?

Who needs a Beowulf cluster of these? (1, Funny)

SexyKellyOsbourne (606860) | about 12 years ago | (#4408044)

Just like the Iraqis and the Chinese, I do all my nuclear weapons testing on my Playstation 2 Supercomputer! [beowulf.org]

Re:Who needs a Beowulf cluster of these? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408457)

This is funny as hell. What is is modded down for?

Sigh (-1)

I'm not a script (612110) | about 12 years ago | (#4408051)

If Linux wants to be taken seriously ( and we all know how badly it wants to be taken seriously ), it must .

fps? (0)

iocc (238550) | about 12 years ago | (#4408053)

And how many FPS will they get in Quake?

Uses (1, Interesting)

esac17 (201752) | about 12 years ago | (#4408066)

Let's just hope they do something good with this. I'm tired of reading about how supercomputers are used for military war simulations.

Does anybody know other applications that supercomputers are being used for. I know some do weather predictions.

Re:Uses (2, Informative)

saveth (416302) | about 12 years ago | (#4408103)

Let's just hope they do something good with this. I'm tired of reading about how supercomputers are used for military war simulations.

LANL tends to do projects that are focused much more on science and engineering than military applications. It's very likely that Pink will end up analysing spectral emissions of bombarded protons or something like this.

The military simulations you mention probably don't happen at LANL.

Re:Uses (1)

Flat5 (207129) | about 12 years ago | (#4408167)


That opinion is, shall we say, not very informed.

You do realize that Los Alamos is the child of the Manhattan Project, don't you? The former home of Wen Ho Lee? Ringing any bells yet?

Flat5

Re:Uses (1)

cameldrv (53081) | about 12 years ago | (#4408580)

You obviously don't know much about LANL.

Re:Uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408106)

YEAH.... quake, unreal,....

Medical (Was:Uses) (3, Interesting)

srw (38421) | about 12 years ago | (#4408124)

A former client who worked at a Cancer Center used a cluster to simulate radiation treatments.

I second that! (1)

pdp11e (555723) | about 12 years ago | (#4408567)

It is called Monte Carlo simulation of the radiation transport. Basically one tracks propagation of the high-energy particles as they progress trough the matter (human tissue). e.g. if you simulate a brachytherapy source (radioactive "seed" implanted in tissue), the code "creates" photon with energy characteristic for a given isotope. The direction vector is chosen by a random number generator (RNG). The RNG also decides at what point along the photon's trajectory an interaction with surrounding matter should occur according to the physical probabilities.
After the interaction, there is a bunch of scattered particles (photons, electrons and positrons) and the code continues to track them until the energy of the n-th generation particle drops below certain energy (10 keV for electrons) at which moment particle's energy is deposited as a dose.
The object of the simulation is to obtain precise dose distribution. In order to achieve good statistics one needs to run millions and millions of histories.
Beowulf clusters are ideal for this job because histories are independent and there is no need
for the fast shared memory and a fancy interprocess communication.
I had a pleasure to assemble 24-node 1.6 GHz AMD cluster and we achieved sub-minute simulation times, a result that makes this technique suitable for everyday clinical practice.

Re:Uses (2)

ptbrown (79745) | about 12 years ago | (#4408202)

On the contrary, I wouldn't mind seeing more military war simulations being done on supercomputers; so long as they are carried out as an alternative to actual military war.

Think about it: Instead of wasting all the money, resources, and lives of actually invading another country, we just get a few supercomputers into a network, and duke it out online.

First thing, of course, would be to allow the export of supercomputers to blacklisted countries. (Is Afghanistan still on the list, I wonder?) Then get a UN resolution that all member countries will abide by the outcome of any virtual war.

And hey, the US has already got a head-start in training soldiers for it: "America's Army"!

Re:Uses (1)

kakos (610660) | about 12 years ago | (#4408259)

Hell no. If that happened, Korea would take over the world. Starcraft has taught us that we should never mess with the Koreans when it comes to virtual war!

Re:Uses (1)

Lazyhound (542184) | about 12 years ago | (#4408443)

On the contrary, I wouldn't mind seeing more military war simulations being done on supercomputers; so long as they are carried out as an alternative to actual military war.

Wasn't that a Star Trek episode? I don't think it turned out very well...

Re:Uses (5, Interesting)

marm (144733) | about 12 years ago | (#4408214)

Does anybody know other applications that supercomputers are being used for. I know some do weather predictions.

Ok, non-military uses, off the top of my head:

  • mathematical research - simply complicated maths on big numbers
  • fluid dynamics modelling - traffic flows, or aerodynamics, or hydrodynamics - this is also tied in quite closely with weather/climate prediction
  • statistical modelling - wouldn't you like to know if the stock market is going to go up or down tomorrow, before it happens?
  • computational chemistry/biochemistry - protein folding is just the tip of the iceberg - imagine being able to design a molecule and then simulate the effect it will have on the human body, without that substance ever having been actually synthesized or going near a human... this is the future of drug development
  • quantum mechanical simulation - related to computational chemistry, imagine taking all those complicated quantum mechanics equations to their logical conclusions, predicting as-yet undiscovered subatomic particles and their behaviour, or to design better magnetic containment fields so that practical fusion energy generation is possible
  • good old-fashioned databases and signal processing - when you have hundreds of terabytes of data that you wish to mine for interesting patterns, speed matters

I'm sure there are plenty more applications for supercomputer power - any kind of complicated or chaotic system is a good candidate for modelling, especially when there's more than one unknown variable (multivariate analysis is complicated, to say the least).

Re:Uses (2, Insightful)

abulafia (7826) | about 12 years ago | (#4408376)

statistical modelling - wouldn't you like to know if the stock market is going to go up or down tomorrow, before it happens?



I agree with you on most respects (even if much of what you're talking about is very, very far beyond most realistically imaginable systems in the near future), but simple economics shows why the above is silly.

Simple question: someone uses a tool to make a killing on a pre-existing market. How does everyone respond (not counting RIAA, et al, who depend on regulation)? They either curl up and die, or figure out what the winners are doing, and quickly. Learning what people are doing is even easier in markets like finance, where there's a lot of transparency in actions, a very close knit group of participants, people who like to brag, and a lot of people staring at the winners.



Fact is, any new innovation in trading quickly becomes used by everyone who has a serious enough stake. It is just market economics. Once everyone gets an innovation, it is no longer an advantage, because everyone is doing it (bonus points for those who see past and potential systemic failures lurking in this behaviour).



Of course, keeping your traders free of risks like sharing information and regulatory oversight can extend an advantage, and that works in a very few situations. But hell, even Warren Buffett took a fairly serious beeting recently due to things he couldn't predict (and this is an insurance guy!), not to mention Soros when he attacked Asian currencies a few years ago.



Not only is there no silver bullet for the folks who run finance, there's just no way in hell peons in the game (anyone with less than a few hundred million invested) will profit from raw computational power. Sorry.



-j

Re:Uses (1)

Isle (95215) | about 12 years ago | (#4408544)

Actually this was widely used before the tech-bubble. The idea is that a computer can generate a few parts of a percentage better predictions than most humans. Since the percentage is so low, you let the computer invest huge amounts of money.

Ofcause when the entire market crashes, these machines loose money a lot faster than humans, since no one has tought them to pull out, and because they have to so much money invested.

So while much of the research in this area died suddeny sometime in early 2000, it still proves your theory wrong.

Thanks for making my point. (1)

abulafia (7826) | about 12 years ago | (#4408625)

Most of your statements prove my point exactly correct, if we are to belive you..

Yes, various practices that fall under the moniker of 'technical trading' have been around a long time. By some counts, since right after the 1930s. By others, before then. Software assisted trading is in some ways new, but in the past the same result happened, aleit slower, through agents.

To give you a point...

Sure, ill tuned risk management systems fuck up. Plus, they're extremely important to the world economy. That's why Greenspan bailed out a certain well known hedge fund very recently.



I was not asserting that "much of the research in this area died suddenly". On the contrary, research in risk management is hitting a rather furious pace. Please re-read what I wrote, and this time pay attention.



The volume of trades taking place without human interention causes huge swings at the moment. We're seeing this now, and have been for a couple of years.

Bonus points if you come up with a theory why seeking short-term gains are going to cause exactly the "double dip" so many cheerleaders at Bussinessweek and Fortune are trying to recant.(



If you get bored, you could actually respond to what I was asserting, which was that a commercially viable trading system would rapidly stabilize any advantage it had, because it would spread to everyone who had a serious interest in tracking new developments in this area. That's what's still oddly on topic for the parent post.
Thank you, drive though.



-j

Re:Uses (1)

2short (466733) | about 12 years ago | (#4408620)

"good old-fashioned databases and signal processing - when you have hundreds of terabytes of data that you wish to mine for interesting patterns, speed matters"

I agree with most of your points, but as someone with only a few dozen terabytes to worry about, i can say, speed does matter. DISK speed. MEMORY access speed. With that much data, Cpu speed beyond "decent" is really only useful as something you can trade for less disk access via compression, and even that hits a wall pretty fast. Supercomputers like this one are great for big calculation; not so much for big data.

Re:Uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408241)

I'm tired of reading about how supercomputers are used for military war simulations.

Yeah, enough with that "global thermonuclear war"... how bout some tic-tac-toe?

Or maybe a good game of chess, Dr. Falken?

Re:Uses (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 12 years ago | (#4408250)

The largest (largest by a long shot it outpowers the rest of the top10 combined) supercomputer in the world is the NEC Earth Simulator in Japan. It is being used to do the most detailed climate modeling ever attempted. Not only that but they are attempting a complete system model which AFAIK has never before been possible. In addition the last couple clusters that I have read about have been for biomedical research, maybe it's just what I read but I believe bioinformatics is going to be one of the biggest pushers of HPC going forward. Genomics is nothing compared to proteonics, mapping the genome probably takes about as much computing power as simulating the folding of one large protein series!

Re:Uses (2, Funny)

DasBub (139460) | about 12 years ago | (#4408267)

Well, Hollywood has used supercomputers and large clusters to do effects for movies like Star Wars: Episode II, Resident Evil, and the upcoming Terminator 4.

So, no, there haven't been any good uses.

Re:Uses (1)

DasBub (139460) | about 12 years ago | (#4408274)

Er, 3. Terminator 3...

But we all know there'll be a T4.

SkyNet probably sends Vin Diesel back in time to beat a 27-year-old John Connor at a game of pick-up-sticks, thereby destroying his ego.

Re:Uses (3, Informative)

foobar104 (206452) | about 12 years ago | (#4408478)

Wrong. Render farms are neither clusters nor supercomputers. At best, a render farm might be considered an array.

A supercomputer is a single system image. Some people call large clusters "supercomputers," but technically they're wrong.

A cluster is an interconnected group of computers that can communicate with each other. Usually a cluster depends on some kind of software layer to allow programs to run across multiple systems, something like MPI. Clusters are tightly interconnected many-to-many systems.

An array has a single job control system and a number of job execution systems. Batch jobs are submitted by users to the job control system, which doles them out to the various execution systems and then collects the results. The execution nodes don't talk to each other, and one job runs on one execution node at a time. Render farms are basically arrays; each execution node works on rendering a single frame of a multiframe animation. Because each frame can be rendered independently, without any dependencies on the previous and subsequent frames, rendering is particularly well suited to array computing.

Unique? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408080)

I'm sure a diskless cluster has been done before. Maybe not with the linuxbios, sure, but who cares how you accomplish the remote booting?

Re:Unique? (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 12 years ago | (#4408263)

Oh really. try it sometime! You'll find out why people dont do it! It's very hard to build a scalable diskless system

The Dark Side (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408088)

RH 8.0 makes me sad. I have given up on Linux for the desktop and have just installed Win2K. Debian is the only Linux I like and it just cannot not move quickly enough for me, and RH 8.0 is a flaky mess. This is indeed a sad day as I am staying with Win2K for productivity use until the day I can afford a Mac, which is probably never the way things are going. I blame you RH, for delivering eye candy with no substance and a seriously fucked up OS for the tweakers out there like me.

cannot use pink (2)

norwoodites (226775) | about 12 years ago | (#4408105)

as it is an OS by Apple and IBM (well gone but still)

Re:cannot use pink (2)

Loligo (12021) | about 12 years ago | (#4408122)

>as it is an OS by Apple and IBM (well gone but
>still)

AFAIK, "Pink" was just the internal code name for the eventual OS planned for the PowerPC.

And we all know how THAT turned out.

-l

Re:cannot use pink (1)

dome troll (614523) | about 12 years ago | (#4408170)

Los alamos is run by the gub'ment and they dodn't have to abide by patents or copyrights. The millitary, for example, reverse engineers software all the time to make it more secure. As to your second question its really coarse it tears easily and it sucks if you make bed sheets out of it...oops. Sorry, thought you said muslin

Re:cannot use pink (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408354)

Now, if only the real pink (you know, the singer) would show up for the delivery to sign one of the racks. That would make it the ultimately cool cluster. Anyone know how to contact her?

Two great things that go great together (1)

ebuck (585470) | about 12 years ago | (#4408109)

Diskless X clients have been attractive due to the lack of remote configurations and disk/data failures.

Clusters suck up a lot of electricity because of the hardware they support.

I'm sure the next step involves skipping the extra motherboard components (IDE, USB, AGP, etc.) and making the CPU/Memory mount to a TCP/IP Switch backplane. Better yet, drive the thing with low power CPU's so it won't sound like a helicopter prior to take off/reqire a new nuclear plant to power it up/create a new market for Frigidair.

LinuxBIOS (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408114)

I wonder why LinuxBIOS hasn't taken off. I've debated ordering one of their "kits." It seems to me the 3 second boot time of LinuxBIOS should be a selling point for some obscure Linux vendor, but no one really offers it yet.

I really imagine a machine with an 8MB EEPROM/ROM that can be updated as needed, but provides a boot environment and login screen - while spinning the disks in the background. This would make an excellent product.

Why hasn't anyone done this yet?

Curious

Re:LinuxBIOS (2, Interesting)

brsmith4 (567390) | about 12 years ago | (#4408220)

Probably the same reason we aren't on IPv6 yet: not enough need to insite change. I agree with you though, I would love to have 2-3 second boot times.

Re:LinuxBIOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408477)

Why hasn't anyone done this yet?

What would the per-unit hardware cost increase be to use an 8 meg EEPROM? It might be significant, especially in a high volume, low markup marketplace

How can MS not be scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408141)

When Linux runs on the smallest devices all the way up to boxen like this 10 tera-FLOPs beast and this SGI supercomputer [sgi.com] that just set a memory bandwidth speed record with 120GB per second (faster than a Sun SunFire 15K, Cray C90, IBM p690, etc) on a single system image? Scale it any which way you like ;-)

Rock on with your bad self.

Re:How can MS not be scared? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408484)

It's "boxes," twat. There's no such word as "boxen."

Please post some more pr0n stories (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408145)

Make it a nice one with cowboy neal and katz.

Why not use embedded tech? (4, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about 12 years ago | (#4408147)


This sounds like some kind of dual-processor rackmount type solution. Why not go all the way and use something like compactPCI? You can fit 21 cPCI blades into 8U of rackspace.

A standard blade could have up to a couple gigs of ram, a powerpc or p3/p4 cpu, 100BT or 1000BT ethernet, etc, etc.

You boot the things using bootp/tftpboot and then run linux off a ramdisk.

We're using cPCI at work to run VoIP softwitches. Currently we're at over a million calls an hour on a wimpy 450MHz processor.

Re:Why not use embedded tech? (1)

ziegast (168305) | about 12 years ago | (#4408351)

At 8U you get to use standard (cheap!) ATX Xeon motherboards and put them in your cases. Xeon motherboards give you very fast CPUs with lots of memory (8GB-12GB) and usually one or two GigE built-in. This is what the high-end-computing customers want - concentrated computing power. VOIP is much less demanding. If you want to use Xeon with CompactPCI, you currently need to make your own motherboard ($$$$ in initial engineering costs) and figure out how to cool it (small fans don't work well).

Does anyone know any good CompactPCI Xeon manufacturers? Doubt it.

Re:Why not use embedded tech? (2)

Elbereth (58257) | about 12 years ago | (#4408367)

Because that's more specialized and not as mass produced, it's going to end up costing a bit more. I, personally, have never played with cPCI, and I've played with some esoteric, technical stuff. I'm not sure that they'd have the experience necessary with that. They might need to hire someone or train someone. Once you start getting into the embedded world, you need need training than the average guy on Slashdot has.

cPCI with PowerPC processors would be just too damn cool. I've looked at them at Motorola's web site. I just wish I could find an application for them!

Lots of chip programming (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408151)

I don't envy the developers... After every revision of LinuxBIOS, they get to reflash 1024 motherboards, which could take a while...

Re:Lots of chip programming (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408219)

Not really, a new revision can be flashed with a single utility that can be run on all the nodes in parallel.

Re:Lots of chip programming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408224)

If done over the network, and there were no problems, I imagine it would only take marginally longer than time required for one machine.

But..the "no problems thing" with 1024 nodes, is most likely enough to make one run around naked, screaming "motherfucker!"

Riddle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408161)

I'm enormously massive and powerful, pink, and made of penguins. What am I?

Pink (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408162)

Re:Pink (1)

brsmith4 (567390) | about 12 years ago | (#4408212)

You'll have to do better than that...

You guys get more and more creative by the day, don't you?

Damn... (1)

brsmith4 (567390) | about 12 years ago | (#4408204)

And I thought the new 48 node cluster at work will soon be able put out some flops... outclassed, outgunned and outperformed. I used to get excited about hearing of other's beowulfs. Now I am only jealous. :)

BTW, if you see a post that says 'Damn...' and nothing else, thats cuz this damn keyboard has this enter key that gets in the way.

Why Bother! www.top500.org shows Power4 faster (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408229)

Why Bother! www.top500.org shows Power4 faster than any linux offering, intel or not.

in fact for many years straight macintosh related processors DOMINATE the top 500 supercomputer cluster sites of the world.

Check out the top500 list yourself and search for linux, or whatecer you please . YOu will see other unix osses predominate, and that PowerPC realted computers also achieve the fastest speeds.

True, two low cost p3s with three gige cards each, all bridged might seem ok, but if you want your work done in 1 hour instead of one month you cannot yet use linux or these non-RISC systems.... that is unless the us gov is spending the money and has no cost constraints such as LLNL

# Processors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408231)

Why does the /. post say 2048 processors yet the article says it has 1024 processors?

Re:# Processors (1)

goombah99 (560566) | about 12 years ago | (#4408266)

Duals

In the meantime...... (1, Redundant)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 12 years ago | (#4408239)

....RMS rants about pink and demands everyone call it GNUpink.

betatest: I've uses Bproc and Linux Bios (5, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | about 12 years ago | (#4408247)

I've been a beta tester on the prototype for this system. It works great. I've seen diskless systems before they all were NFS nighmares, could not scale and had horrible tendencies to cause rippling crashes as one computer after the next timed out on some critical disk based kernel operation it could not complete across a wedged network.

This one, brpoc, is different it is completely stable. You never get NFS wedges. Jobs launch in flash. Plus if you do reboot the whole thing is back up in seconds (literally).

Bproc is an incredibly light weight job submission system. It is so light weight and fast that it changes how you think about sumbitting jobs. Rather than designing long duration jobs and tossing them on queue, you can just run tiny short jobs if you want with no loss to overhead. It makes you re-think the whole idea of batch processing.

when the jobs run they appear in the process list of the master node. That is if you run "top" or "ps" the jobs are listed right there. In fact from the users point of view the whole system looks like just one big computer.

Sad day ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408256)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Don't do it! (4, Funny)

FyRE666 (263011) | about 12 years ago | (#4408258)

I will personally track down and slaughter the first person to mention a popular clustering architecture, and how one might imagine it...

Re:Don't do it! (3, Funny)

Elbereth (58257) | about 12 years ago | (#4408345)

Imagine a Mosix cluster of them!

AMD Opteron (1)

dfranks (180507) | about 12 years ago | (#4408272)

It will be interesting to see if anyone builds a massive HyperTransport switch (probably a local switch for a blade frame with 1000bt between blade frames). The opteron looks like it could run without much in the way of chipset support (build in memory controller), and skipping all the unnecessary I/O would be pretty simple.
Of course, dumping all the heat would be an issue...

Re:AMD Opteron (1)

raiyu (573147) | about 12 years ago | (#4408381)

Yup, I dont think that anyone will take AMD seriously for any fault tolerant systems until they deal with the heat issue.

Personally I dont even think its so much a matter of running hot, which although a nuisance isnt deadly, but more so that there are no safegaurds against overheating. Intel on the other hand, besides running cooler, downgrades the CPU if its overheating. AMD's XP does the same unless the temperature rises more than 1C per second, in which case it craps out anyway.

Deal with the heat and they may be taken seriously, they certainly have the performance, not to mention it should total up to a nice savings for a couple thousand processor system.

Cluster details (4, Funny)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | about 12 years ago | (#4408280)

Cluster Overview:
* 2050 Intel 2.4GHz Xeon processors


Now when people complain about the United States government being responsible for global warming they will have some good hard facts to use.

I want one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408346)

I've been waiting for this. A Whole-Linux clusterbox ready to add cpus as needed to make some good science. I've done aero, astro, chem, the "unnamed", and bio, but now it's all about the perfect ocean boat. Where can I get the distro?

A bit more about Pink... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#4408364)

From the same anonymous coward who posted the original story (I'm too lazy to register for an account here).



All of the software that Pink will be based on is GPL'd and open source. This includes BProc, LinuxBIOS, Supermon, beoboot, Linux (of course), the BProc Job Scheduler, V9FS, etc... All of these projects are available from the cluster research lab web page and most if not all (not sure about V9FS currently) are available via Sourceforge for users interested in the most recent, bleeding edge CVS images.

yeah right (0, Offtopic)

NOiSEA (614540) | about 12 years ago | (#4408473)

dude thats the dumbest thing ive ever hear even if the LANL was getting a 2083 processor the BA has way to much strain that was put on it inadvertently through the software nodes this will create a backlash the likes of which you have never seen on network TV. I should know. I was a child star, when i was younger and trhe cash was great. I wouldn't change it for the world [pushove.com] anyhoo in closing i would like to say that i agree

Good Stuff (3, Interesting)

Perdo (151843) | about 12 years ago | (#4408561)

"The Science Appliance" as it is dubbed will use dual processor AMD based nodes [linuxnetworx.com] .

Scary part is that this will be one of the top 5 supercomputers in the world.

Scary because you could buy all the hardware off the shelf for about half a million dollars.

On a lighter note:

"The Linux NetworX cluster will be used solely for unclassified computing, including testing on ASCI-relevant unclassified applications."

I think they mean text mode quake.

I guess they got tired of "Global Thermo-Nuclear War"
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