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Using computer labs for distributed computing

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3 Author(s)
Elankovan Sundararajan ; Ind. Comput. Programme, Nat. Univ. of Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia ; Tan Bing Yean ; Mahathir Rahmani

PCs in computing labs at institution of higher learning are often if not always underutilized. These PCs are usually not used at night and early morning (i.e. between 10pm-8am), during semester breaks, weekends and during final examinations. At other times most of the lab PCs are not utilized up to the available capacity. This underutilization scenario provides an excellent opportunity for researchers to utilize these lab PCs for research work that requires immense computing power. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the life cycle of a PC is about 5 years which comes to about 1826 days (1 year = 365.25 days). At the end of its life cycle, new PCs are often purchased to replace the older ones. Thus, using these PCs effectively before being rendered obsolete should be given high priority. The use of distributed computing for compute intensive problems is not new. However, with the availability of improved hardware, fast interconnects and user friendly middleware, the use of distributed computing has become even more popular now. In this paper, we discuss our experience in using Condor middleware on lab PCs at Faculty of Information Science and Technology. We have recorded good speedups from our experiments for embarrassingly parallel problem that we executed on the lab PCs. A script and programs were written to automate the process of preparing input files, merging output files, and displaying output. The single command execution provided by the script offers user friendly environment for the users. We hope the outcome of this experiment will encourage more faculty members to use the available resources at the computing labs for their research work.

Published in:

Electrical Engineering and Informatics (ICEEI), 2011 International Conference on

Date of Conference:

17-19 July 2011