Thursday, 31 January, 2002

More Cluster Nodes

I got seven of my eight machines connected to the  cluster and running the POV program.  With all seven running, I'm able to render the skyvase image in 43 seconds; a 61% savings over the 1:53 that it takes the Pentium 333 (onefish) to do it alone.

All of the machines currently in the cluster are old Dells that we had gathering dust in a closet.  The eighth machine, which isn't running because I haven't put a hard drive in it, is a generic clone box.  The fastest machine is the Pentium 333, and the slowest is a Pentium 75.  Two of the machines have 166 MHz Pentiums with MMX.  They outperform the 200 MHz Pentium on the ray trace.

The cluster is a tinkerer's dream.  It's hard not to get distracted running benchmarks with every possible combination, and trying different compilation options to optimize performance.  That's not the point of my exercise, though.  Now that I have the cluster running, it's time to learn a little about writing programs to take advantage of the multiple processors.  The PVM distribution has some sample programs, which I'm currently studying.  I'm also working on my Beowulf page, on which I'll post more detailed results.  There are only so many hours in a day, though, so it may be a while before the page is ready.