Microwulf (Tiny Supercomputer) runs Ubuntu

Conrad Knauer atheoi at gmail.com
Tue Sep 4 13:56:49 BST 2007

(and 2nd and 3rd pages lined)

[From page 1]
In January 2007, two of us (professor Joel Adams and student Tim Brom)
decided to build a personal, portable Beowulf cluster. Like a personal
computer, the cost had to be low -- our budget was $2500 -- and its
size had to be small enough to sit on a person's desk. Joel and Tim
named their system Microwulf, which has broken the $100/GFLOP barrier
for double precision, and is remarkably efficient by several measures.
You may also want to take a look at the Value Cluster project for more
information on $2500 clusters.

[From page 2]

For various reasons, we have been a Gentoo shop for a while. So it
would seem fairly obvious that we would use Gentoo. But over time we
had found Gentoo to be something of an administrative hassle. Since we
wanted to keep Microwulf relatively simple (as simple as possible but
not overly simple). and we had experience with Ubuntu, we decided to
give that a try first.

We installed Ubuntu Desktop on the head node. We used Ubuntu 6.10
(Edgy) as it was the latest stable release of Ubuntu at the time. It
had a 2.6.17 kernel. It was a very easy installation except for one
thing - the driver for the on-board NIC was not included in the kernel
until 2.6.18. So for the first two months of Microwulf's young life,
we used an alpha version of Ubuntu 7.04 (Fiesty) with had a 2.6.20
kernel and the drivers that we needed. 7.04 finally went stable in
April, but we never had any trouble with the alpha version.

We installed Ubuntu Server on each of the top 3 "compute" nodes, since
it did not carry all of the overhead of Ubuntu Desktop.

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