'Beowulf' supercomputers on the cheap (October 1999)

Beowulf - clustered Pentium - based PCís running Linux are making headway in compute intensive work at Advanced Data Solutions and Princeton University.

The Beowulf project was initiated by NASA in 1994 and involves achieving super-computer power with low cost hardware and open software. This means running tuned and optimized open-source compilers on LINUX based Pentium clusters. The Advanced Data Solutionsí (ADS) initiative was launched in response to the Oil & Gas industry's demand to streamline costs and improve productivity. A cluster of 84 Pentium CPU's is currently being used for production seismic processing at ADS. The Beowulf cluster has proven to be a stable seismic processing environment with exceptionally good economics.

plate tectonics

Princeton Universityís Department of Geosciences has been modeling the solid earth since 1985 to study the deep seated origins of plate tectonics. The TERRA Earth model has been ported to high-speed Beowulf clusters using a parallel Fortran compiler from the Portland Group Inc. Princetonís Hans-Peter Bunge explained that porting TERRA to a Beowulf cluster turned out to be quite simple. Performance of 10 GFLOPS is expected on the new 72 processor Pentium II Beowulf cluster under construction.

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