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Re: PCs by day, supercomputer by night

  • Subject: Re: PCs by day, supercomputer by night
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006 03:31:05 +0100
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Organization: schestowitz.com / ISBE, Manchester University / ITS
  • References: <eb7iqt01vbq@enews1.newsguy.com> <1154970282.699531.58570@b28g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>
  • Reply-to: newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • User-agent: KNode/0.7.2
__/ [ Rex Ballard ] on Monday 07 August 2006 18:04 \__

I must say that I very much liked NoStop's signature. Comments below.

> NoStop wrote:
>> "The students who use the computer lab at St. Francis Xavier University in
>> Antigonish, N.S., probably aren't aware that at night the lab transforms
>> into the equivalent of a supercomputer.
>> All day long, St. Francis Xavier University students sit at the lab's rows
>> of PCs to surf the Internet, write papers, arrange dates or listen to
>> podcasts. During the day, the machines run Microsoft's Windows operating
>> system. But at night that all changes. At 11 p.m, the students are gone,
>> the doors are locked and the lights are out. It's time to close Windows
>> until morning.
>> The workstations begin to automatically shut down. But about 400 of them
>> are soon back up and running a GNU/Linux operating system as one big
>> connected cluster of processing power -- a grid computer."

I remember seeing that story long time ago. I am aware of other places where
this is done. At the Computer Science Department at this university, for
example, machines are used as computational clusters outside working hours.
Users can SSH to as many machines as they have available (hundreds of them).
All machines are dual-boot Fedora and Windows XP.

> This reminds me of the days when I was working at an insurance company
> where the company had about 500 Sun Workstations, particularly among
> the executives.  When they went home, we would use their machines to do
> processing of streams of content to help do 401K calculations and
> valuations and other complex calculations that had previously taken 4
> MVS mainframes.  We had secured accounts on each machine, and the users
> did not have Root access to their workstations.  (they could sudo
> certain tasks).
> The technology was a very primative form of clustering, based on RPC,
> sockets and streams, and strict rsh functions.  It really was amazing
> to get so much power from such an inexpensive resource.  Most of the
> workstations were Sun ILC and SLC workstations.
> The array of workstations could do the work in less than an hour, where
> as the 3090s took almost 10 hours.

Admittedly, such arrangements have helped me since my undergraduate days.
What some Ph.D. students currently do in weeks/months I can complete within
just hours (or one overnight experiment). I even build my programs to better
suit this arrangement. I suspect that if more people were Linux-savvy, I'd
be forced to work harder instead of playing about (UseNet included).

>> --
>> WGA is the best thing that has happened for Linux in a while.
>> The ULTIMATE Windoze Fanboy:
>> http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2370205018226686613
> (Ballmer runs around the stage like Richard Simmons and finishes with
> "I love this company").  He'd better love the company, it's made him
> the 4th richest man in the world.  The only person who should live it
> more is Bill Gates.  But I don't see Bill Gates doing a Richard Simmons
> routine.

Actually, when I saw the caption I expected this link to point at the
following video:


>> Is this a modern day equivalent of a Nazi youth rally?:
>> http://www.ntk.net/media/developers.mpg
> Sure looks like it.  Invitation only crowd, guys watching the crowd to
> make sure that everybody was cheering, and mindless chanting of
> "Developers".  Presumably about 2,000 developers in a room.  Most were
> in picnic clothes.
> How many of these guys owned their own company with more than 100
> employees?
> How many of them were even recognizable?
> How many of them were Microsfot employees?
> Inqiring minds want to know :D
> As for the static screen shots of Linux, it so doesn't capture the real
> spirit, power, and nature of Linux.  At least the animations give a
> good "taste".

I never realised the audience included developers. But it doesn't change the
fact that the video is extremely disturbing. And it's embarrassing to watch.
Makes you want to look away and shudder while saying "Stop Ballmer. You're
humiliating yourself".

>> A 3D Linux Desktop (video) ...
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUSn-jBA3CE

Excellent! I'll blog it soon. Another one that I quite liked is this:

< http://youtube.com/watch?v=lawkc3jH3ws >

I also saw another dual-head XGL demo the other day:

< http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3085800747013767131&hl=en >

Google video is changing its layour, by the way. That "expand to browser
size" feature is finally discarded, or at least they /experiment/ with a new
layout, which JS injections (in the address bar) can change.

>> View Some Common Linux Desktops ...
>> http://shots.osdir.com/

There is more than just Linux there. But Linux dominates.

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