Affordable Virtual Beowulf Cluster
Every nerd drools over Beowulf clusters, but very few have even seen one,
much less own one. Until now, that is. Eric Gylgen, the open source hacker
famous for EviL (the dancing ASCII paperclip add-on to vi), is working on
a program that will emulate Beowulf clusters on a standard desktop PC.
"Of course," he added candidly, "the performance of my virtual cluster
will be many orders of magnitude less than a real cluster, but that's not
really the point. I just want to be able to brag that I run a 256 node
cluster. Nobody has to know I only spent $500 on the hardware it uses."
Eric has prior experience in this field. Last month he successfully built
a real 32 node Beowulf cluster out of Palm Pilots, old TI-8x graphing
calculators, various digital cameras, and even some TRS-80s.
He demonstrated a pre-alpha version of his VirtualEpicPoem software to us
yesterday. His Athlon machine emulated a 256 node Beowulf cluster in which
each node, running Linux, was emulating its own 16 node cluster in which
each node, running Bochs, was emulating VMWare to emulate Linux running
old Amiga software. The system was extremely slow, but it worked.