Affordable Virtual Beowulf Cluster

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, March 23, 2000

from the how-about-a-meta-meta-meta-meta-beowulf-cluster? dept.

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 code-named "VirtualEpicPoem" that will emulate Beowulf clusters on a standard desktop PC.

"It's like any other emulator," Eric explained. "But instead of Windows bluescreens, this one emulates a 256 node Beowulf cluster. Now every nerd can purchase the hardware to build a Beowulf cluster for only a few hundred bucks."

"Of course," he added candidly, "the performance of the 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."

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. "The performance rivaled that of a Pentium 500... if, ahem, the CPU is sitting at minus 100 Celsius with all of its cache disabled."

He demonstrated a pre-alpha version of his VirtualEpicPoem software yesterday at Humorix World Headquarters. His Athlon machine emulated a 256 node Beowulf cluster in which each node, running Linux, was emulating its own 16 node Beowulf cluster in which each node, running Bochs on Linux, was emulating VMWare under Windows to emulate Linux running UAE to emulate old Amiga software. The system was extremely slow, but it worked.

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