A high day ahead for Linux HPC

Linux still the high performer

You'll be running a BoF session at LCA, what would you like to hear the most about?

I'd like to hear from people what Linux features they have used in their own facility that made a difference to how they do their work, what cool projects they are working on and what things need fixing.

Do you still find Beowulf cluster jokes on slashdot funny?

I have a high tolerance for jokes (ask my offspring about my puns) so the answer is "Yes".

Has the popularisation of multi-core CPUs increased the number of developers with more parallel programming experience?

From my point of view, the majority of programs I see running are MPI-based, so I would say "No".

Where can you see HPC going in the future?

Three issues spring to mind and two of them relate to your previous question. The first is memory bandwidth. There are diminishing returns from putting more and more cores on a chip unless you can feed them data as fast as they can process it.

The second issue is programming tools including compilers and maybe even new languages to enable smart people to get their heads around the complexity of these machines. The third issue is power and cooling.

What great use, that doesn't currently exist, can you think of for a cluster?

Realtime, large-scale software rendering.

What Linux distribution do you use?

For me it is Linux *distributions*. I am writing this email on Debian 4.0, I am using Ubuntu 7.04 on my laptop at home, my venerable home server is ostensibly Red Hat 5.2 with a lot of compiled code for the daemons, tools and custom kernel (2.2.18). The supercomputer runs SLES10 SP1.

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