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EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional Conference 2003

OU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research

8

Linux Clusters

Linux clusters are much cheaper than proprietary HPC architectures: factor of 5 to 10 in price/performance.

They’re largely useful for:

Distributed parallelism (message passing): hard to code!

Large numbers of single-processor applications

MPI software design is not easy for inexperienced programmers because:

difficult programming model

lack of user-friendly documentation – emphasis on technical details rather than broad overview

hard to find good help

BUT: at the national level, a few million dollars for MPI programmers is much much cheaper than tens or hundreds of millions for big iron – and the payoff lasts much longer.

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