DANGER ! This page is 3 or 4 years out of date and is no longer applicable for the state of the art in Linux. This page reviews the situation as it stood circa 1995 and 1996.

MP and Clustering for Linux and Related Info

High-performance computing can be broken into two market segments: Commercial and Scientific. This distinction is important, because the two segments have their own special requirements, needs and applications.

Commercial computing usually focuses on large databases, large application servers, high-performance transaction processing, accounting, process flow and management systems, database mining. Commercial computing tends to be integer intensive, disk and i/o intensive.

Scientific computing focuses on simulation of large, complex dynamical, physical systems, and on data visualization. Scientific applications tend to be floating-point intensive, and place a premium on high-bandwidth interprocess communications. Some industries, e.g. petroleum exploration, handle large quantities of data *and* need lots of CPU power.

The hardware and software needed for each application may seem superficially similar, but in detail becomes wildly divergent. That said, there is some overlap in general support. Things like SMP (Symmetric Multi-Processing or Shared Memory Multi Processing) and multi-threading fall into the General Computing category.

General Computing

For additional info on SMP & clusters, please look at the index page

The work that was done by the Linux SMP project to enable Intel MPS (version 1.1 and 1.4) compatible hardware is now a mainstream part of the 2.x kernel distributions. Some additional status can be found at Erich Boleyn's Status Page. The Parallel-Processing HOWTO pages provide a thorough introduction to the technical terms and concepts, as well as the status of Linux parallel processing (for both SMP and clusters). A variety of threads packages, many of which can be scheduled over SMP, are available. These and other basic questions about threads are answered in the Linux Threads FAQ.

High Speed Networking

Building a solid cluster requires high-speed networking.

Commercial Computing

This section is thin. Help, anyone? Databases? HTTPD's running on SMP's? Load-balancing IP routers?

Several high-availability, redundant-disk, SMP-enabled databases seem to be available for Linux. One is from Solid Technology, another from Software AG. See the Database Page for details. I have not been able to verify if the SMP and redundant-disk and clustering features are supported on Linux.

The pWEB Parallel Web Server Harness will distribute URL requests to multiple servers based on load and/or URL, for load balancing or I/O balancing. The harness can be used with most web servers.

Inktomi is a massively-parallel web search engine.

AOL Server
The AOL Server for Linux web server from America OnLine will schedule multiple threads across multiple processors.

Scientific Computing

DANGER ! This page is 3 or 4 years out of date and is no longer applicable for the state of the art in Linux. This page reviews the situation as it stood circa 1995 and 1996.

Last updated 22 May 1997 by Linas Vepstas (linas@linas.org)
Copyright (c) 1996,1997 Linas Vepstas.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included at the URL http://www.linas.org/fdl.html, the web page titled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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