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High performance computing environments without the fuss: the Bootable Cluster CD

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3 Author(s)
S. M. Diesburg ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, USA ; P. A. Gray ; D. Joiner

This paper confronts the issue of bringing high performance computing (HPC) education to those who do not have access to a dedicated clustering environments in an easy, fully-functional, inexpensive manner through the use of the "Bootable Cluster CD" (BCCD). As an example, many primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI's) do not have the facilities, time, or money to purchase hardware, maintain user accounts, configure software components, and keep ahead of the latest security advisories for a dedicated clustering environment. The BCCD project's primary goal is to support an instantaneous, drop-in distributed computing environment. A consequence of providing such an environment is the ability to promote the education of high performance computing issues at the undergraduate level through the ability to turn an ordinary lab of networked workstations temporarily into a non-invasive, fully-functional clustering classroom. The BCCD itself is a self-contained clustering environment in a bootable CD format. Using the BCCD, students, educators and researchers are able to gain insight into configuration, utilization, troubleshooting, debugging, and administration issues uniquely associated with parallel computing in a live, easy to use "drop-in" clustering environment. As the name implies, the BCCD provides a full, cohesive clustering environment running GNU/Linux when booted from the CDROM drives of networked workstations.

Published in:

19th IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium

Date of Conference:

4-8 April 2005