March 15, 2001

Thursday 15 March 2001 UNIGROUP: Jozef Skvarcek on GNU/Linux beowulf clusters

Author: JT Smith

Jay Sulzberger wrote in to tell us about this meeting: "The food is good and plentiful, the company excellent, and every *n*x
sysadmin should know something about simulation of quantum chaotic systems
on free *n*x clusters." Read on for all the details:
This meeting is open to the public.

There is a $15 fee for those who are not members of UNIGROUP, the senior
New York City *n*x user froup.

The food is good and plentiful, the company excellent, and every *n*x
sysadmin should know something about simulation of quantum chaotic systems
on free *n*x clusters.

Jay Sulzberger 
Corresponding Secretary LXNY
LXNY is New York's Free Computing Organization.



When: Thursday, March 15, 2001

Where: The Chase Manhattan Bank
55 Water Street (enter at Old Slip)
South Tower
13th Floor, Conference Room C

Time: 6:15 PM - 6:30 PM Registration
6:30 PM - 6:40 PM Ask the Wizard,
Questions, Answers and Current Events
6:40 PM - 6:50 PM Unigroup Business
6:50 PM - 9:30 PM Main Presentation

Topic: Linux Clustering: Beowulf Clusters

Speaker: Jozef Skvarcek, Ph.D.
Unix Administrator, Datek Online

Meeting Introduction:

The March 2001 Unigroup meeting is on Linux Clustering. The main
presentation will made by Jozef Skvarcek, Ph.D,, who is an end user of
Beowulf. He has designed Beowulf clusters and has designed and coded
applications to make use of them. Beowulf is a freely available
open-source add-on to Linux which provides support for multi-node
clustering. With such a cluster, a group of inexpensive machines can
appear to act as a single much larger system. Depending on the size of
the workload, the design of the application, and the horsepower and
number of cluster members, mainframe computing power can be achieved.

We also have another guest speaker, Andrew Flesch from TurboLinux. Andrew
will briefly describe TurboLinux's commercial closed-source multi-platform
(Unix, Linux, NT) clustering solution, EnFuzion, and describe how EnFuzion
cluster implementations differ from Beowulf cluster implementations.

For a good introduction to Beowulf, see the Beowulf Web site's
Introduction and Overview page listed below.

Web Resources:

1. The Beowulf Project
2. Introduction to Beowulf
3. Beowulf 2nd Generation Clustering
4. Beowulf Underground
5. Top Clusters
6. IEEE Computer Society/Clusters
7. Jacek's Beowulf Page
8. Beowulf FAQ
9. TurboLinux
10. TurboLinux EnFuzion
11. BSP / Bulk Synch. Parallel Model


Building Linux Clusters by David HM Spector, O'Reilly, 2000


Caldera has donated three "cartons" of
Caldera OpenLinux 2.3 for giveaways at Unigroup meetings. These
are full, boxed distributions (3 CDs + Manuals). OpenLinux is
a leading commercially supported Linux Operating System!
We gave out most of them at our January meeting, but we still
have some left to give out (raffle off) as door prizes at
this meeting.

Andrew Flesch of TurboLinux should
be bringing a variety of giveaways to this meeting which should
include: White Papers, T-Shirts and CD-ROMs.

Unigroup appreciates Caldera's and TurboLinux's support!

Description of Talk:

Few of us are aware of how much our everyday life depends on supercomputers.
The price of an ordinary good, such as a pair of jeans, is carefully
calculated using complicated market simulations. The weather map we see on
TV is a result of another high performance parallel application. There is
an obvious need for supercomputing power in the academia. The money, the
lack of robust funding for a commercial MPP (Massively Parallel Processors)
resp., in the later case creates a need for computing technologies that a
Beowulf cluster is an example of.

Beowulf clusters fall somewhere between MPP and NOW (Network of
workstations). The nodes in the cluster are dedicated to the cluster and
they are connected via their own private network. All the nodes are within
the administrative jurisdiction of the cluster. The building of such cluster
is based on the idea of providing COTS (Commodity off the shelf) to satisfy
given computational needs. The similar philosophy applies to the software
too, the OS (Linux) and the tools are open source, public and therefore easy
to get. That is pretty much the definition of a Beowulf cluster.
Surprisingly, there is no "Beowulf" software to be installed. Beowulf is a
technology of clustering Linux Computers to form a parallel, virtual
supercomputer. [Note that Scyld's Beowulf v2 implementation does boot a
special cluster operating system on remote nodes, Unigroup is planning
a followup meeting on this technology].

Of course, the message passing libraries like MPI and PVM are used in order
to increase the productivity. The parallelization of a given application
is achieved by first identifying the concurrent parts of the application and
then by executing them on different processors with the help of the message
passing libraries. The way the application is broken into the parallel
parts is perhaps both the most important and the most difficult (at least if
we seek to get the maximum performance from a given hardware).

There is no prescribed way how to build "genuine" Beowulf cluster. Jozef
will present the setup he used in the past as an illustration. Also, he
will illustrate the parallelization on one of his research problems.

Speaker Biography:

Jozef Skvarcek studied in the Ph.D. program in Physics at the City
University of New York between 1994 and 2000, specializing in theoretical
quantum optics.

While working as a research assistant in the group of Prof. M. Hillery
and Prof. J. Bergou at Hunter College, he created and ran high performance
parallel programs that simulated physical processes, namely the interaction
between an atom and electromagnetic field inside a microwave cavity.
Jozef designed and implemented a Beowulf cluster to perform those

After graduation in 2000, Jozef started to work at Datek Online. Jozef
teaches undergraduate classes in Astronomy at Hunter College and he
continues to stay in touch with his former research group.


Complimentary Food and Refreshments will be served. This now includes
salads and sandwiches (eg. turkey, roast beef, chicken, tuna,
grilled eggplant)!


55 Water Street is between Water Street & Front Streets at Old Slip...
about 7 blocks south of Fulton St. and the South Street Seaport.
Take 4 train to Bowling Green & Walk Due East;
Take 2/3 trains to Wall Street, Walk East to Water St.
then walk South 5 blocks;
Take M/J trains to Broad St., Walk East to Water St.;
Take N/R trains to Whitehall St., Walk North East to Water St.
There is parking on the street (after 6:30-7pm) and there is a lot
right in the building, entrance on Old Slip.
Walking from Wall St., follow William St. south which bends around
and leads you to Hanover Sq. and Old Slip is across Water Street.

Room Location Specifics:
Enter the building at Old Slip. To get to the South Tower of the
complex, you enter the building at Old Slip at the "North Tower"
doors. This entrance is is immediately to the right of the main
entrance, towards Water Street... ie. Use the right-most side doors
rather than walking straight ahead at the Old Slip entrance.
Go past the guard's desk (mentioning you are heading for Unigroup,
sometimes there is a sign-in) to the elevator bank and go to the 13th
floor. When you get to the 13th floor, follow the signs leading you
to the meeting room.

The signs will lead you from the elevator, through a set of doors
(soda machine will be on your left), then past the cafeteria. After
the cafeteria, you see another "lobby" area. Walk past the cash
machines, make a left and look for a sign marking the meeting room.
Conference Room C will be on your left.

If you come very early, we may not have the signs in place yet, but
hopefully these directions will get you to the meeting room.
If you arrive before Unigroup Board Members, please be patient and
wait for us to arrive.


Fee Schedule:
Yearly Membership (includes all meetings): $ 50.00
* Non-Member Single Meeting: $ 20.00
Student Yearly Membership: $ 20.00
Non-Member Student Single Meeting (with ID): $ 5.00
Cash, Check, American Express.
* Employees of Chase (with ID) can attend general meetings at no charge.

==> Unigroup is the Greater NYC Regional Area Affiliate
of UniForum - an International Unix Users Group.
Our Joint Membership Program with UniForum is currently
on hold due to circumstances at UniForum.
For information about UniForum visit


Please mark this meeting on your calendar and join us!
Please tell your friends about Unigroup!



We have a series of meetings in the works.
- High Availability / Fault-Tolerant Hardware Cluster Configurations
- NetBSD
- Building a Firewall using FreeBSD and Linux
- Unix Office Tools: Word Processors, Spreadsheets, Accounting Packages.
- Emacs
- GNU Development Environments
- Meetings on a variety of Sun/Solaris/Java topics

Please let us know about any other meeting topics that you may be
interested in.



Our thanks go to Jeff Altman from The Kermit Project at Columbia
University for presenting a meeting on Secure TCP/IP Communications.

We learned that current Kermit implementations are more than a tool for
reliable communications, they are in fact a must-have tool in your
security toolkit as they now provide secure and authenticated telnet
and ftp. Jeff dove into the details of the security protocol
negotiations and how you can use the standard telnet protocol to
implement security for secure client connections.

Jeff made his presentation slides available on the web. For a link,
visit the Unigroup announcement page for that meeting:



Lynne Hummel of Compaq let us know about a Compaq program for Linux
developers, here is the announcement:

Join Generation Linux!
Generation Linux is a FREE program for Linux developers. When you join,
you get: support, services, porting and solution development assistance,
quick online access to hundreds of Linux books from Macmillan, visibility
with Compaq field organizations and customers, eligibility to win a great
Compaq Linux product. You also get a free Alpha SDK and a
Jumpstart CD Free. To join, go to:



The Internet & E-Business Conference & Exposition will be held in NYC
at the Javits Center on April 2-4, 2001. See
for more information and for free expo hall admission.



Unigroup is one of the oldest and largest Unix User's Groups serving the
Greater New York City Regional Area since the early 1980s. Unigroup is a
not-for-profit, vendor-neutral and member funded volunteer organization.
Unigroup holds regular and special event meetings throughout the year on
technical topics relating to Unix and the Unix User Community. Unigroup
is also the Greater NYC Regional Area Affiliate of UniForum - an
International Unix Users Group.

Thanks to Chase, Unigroup holds regular meetings planned for the Third
THURSDAY of Odd Months at The Chase Manhattan Bank, 55 Water Street, NYC.
Chase has been a long time sponsor of Unigroup, allowing us the use of a
meeting room and presentation equipment.

Planned meeting dates are: 3/15/01, 5/17/01, 7/19/01, 9/20/01...
Watch for our Special Event meetings at the various trade shows in NYC
as well as "field trips" to the facilities of local hardware and
software vendors.

= For Unigroup Information, Events and Meeting Announcements be sure to =
= visit our World Wide Web Home Page: =
= =

For further information or to get on the Unigroup Electronic Mail Mailing
List send an EMail message to:

To contact the Board of Directors of Unigroup, send an EMail message to:

To contact the Newsletter Editor, send an EMail message to:

If you have recently attended a meeting and you are not receiving
Email announcements, please send us an Email and we will make
corrections to our lists.

Please Email the Board with any suggestions, especially potential meeting
topics and speakers. Unigroup welcomes contributions and content
suggestions for our newsletter. Unigroup is a volunteer organization and
we need your assistance! Please let us know if you can help!


I hope to see you all at our next meeting!

-Rob Weiner
Unigroup Executive Director

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