Cluster Computing: The Commodity Supercomputing

The availability of high-speed networks and increasingly powerful commodity microprocessors is making the usage of clusters, or networks, of computers an appealing vehicle for cost effective parallel computing. Clusters, built using commodity-of-the-shelf (COTS) hardware components as well as free, or commonly used, software, are playing a major role in redefining the concept of supercomputing. In this paper, we discuss the motivation for the transition from using dedicated parallel supercomputers, to COTS-based cluster supercomputers. We also describe the enabling technologies and then present a number of case studies of cluster-based projects to support our discussion. Finally, we summarise our findings and draw a number of conclusions relating to the usefulness and likely future of cluster computing.

Click here to download the Cluster Computing Paper (which is in Postscript format) or PDF is here.

Appeared in: Software - Practice & Experience, John Wiley & Sons, Inc