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Parallel PC

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Last response: in CPUs
June 6, 2003 5:16:04 PM

Hi guys;
I red an article about Parallel PC, where you can connect several PC's together. The article wasn't too specific about how to do it. So I searched this site, and my search came up with nothing. Have anybody done it, and is there another OS beside Linux that can be installed? Thanks.
Let's say you have 3 PC's at 3 GHz each, this can be turned into a 9 GHz Parallel Pc...! Actually it's called Clustering. I red the article on PC Upgrade, but they did it with a Linux software, and not too much info on how to it with Windows OS. Update: As I am reading the responses, one thing comes to mind. I've done this before, using Network Rendering from MAX. This is when each frame of an animation is sent to different machine, and gathers on a server. Few years back I heard there was a PCI card that can connect 2 motherboards. Does that still exist?

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Reza on 06/08/03 10:30 AM.</EM></FONT></P>

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June 6, 2003 6:03:55 PM

Yeah, it's called a network. You see, what you need are some NICs, some network cables, a hub/switch, etc, and what you do is.....

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

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June 6, 2003 8:29:15 PM

ive never heard of such a thing and i dont think its possible. For these reasons:
1. How would they connect to each other, through some sort of paralell cabel(not enough bandwidth), scsi, and i dont know..
2. The sheer speed is not necessarily to an advantage with todays other common hardware.
3. What would you need something like that for..

But if it does work please someone post the link because i have an urge to yea learn.. you hear me LEARN.

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June 7, 2003 5:25:06 AM

It is called clustering, and it's replacing supercomputers!

Basically, you have a group of PC's and a main computer. The main computer breaks large tasks into chunks, and sends the chunks to the other PC's to be processed. The other PC's process the data and return the results.

The most popular type I've seen is the Beowolf superclusters under Linux. I don't think there is a non-Unix-based OS for doing this.

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June 7, 2003 6:29:08 AM

What specifc task, database queries?

June 7, 2003 9:03:20 AM

Mainly rendering farms. Companies like Pixar and Sony who work on films like Monsters Inc. and other such cinematics use clusters to render their massive 3d scenes. Such processing power is only attainable through multiple computers. Tasks such as rendering 3d scenes are very easily divided into multiple tasks (small chunks, say each computer renders only 1 second of video) that are independent and can be rendered on almost as many computers as you want. This allows a massive amount of rendering power using Pentium 4 boxes and such (in fact, recently, Pixar, Sony and ILM have switched from their proprietary RISC boxes to using P4-based clusters).

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June 7, 2003 5:37:39 PM

And a smaller example of that would be Bryce Lightning. (See Obviously the OS is not shared, but the application's processing is shared. Ever had to wait for a pic to be rendered, and it says it will be done in 16 hours? How about a whole network of 20 (or yes, a hundred) PCs odd rendering the same pic, all at the same time?

I do have a pic of clustering as mentioned above. If I can find it I'll forward... It's about 20 PCs on top of each other, all parallel connected. Looks great, untill you see they still use AT keyboards. :-)

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June 7, 2003 6:50:18 PM

I understood. Another question regarding Pixar and Sony:

Does this parallel architecture provide for realtime showing of the movie (suppose an interactive Monster movie)? Or are the "1 second chunks", as you mention, stored as separate AVI/MPEG files and later on merged to form the final movie?

June 7, 2003 6:55:45 PM

Such network is set using standard Gigabit adapters or even an ATM network. There is no need to create a special "path" between the processors, right?

June 7, 2003 7:45:13 PM

Generally, no, these clusters are more like distributed computing networks. Think of seti@home and how that works on all the client computers it's on.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.
June 8, 2003 11:09:43 AM

I'vr heard theyve recently manged to cluster several PS2 consoles - turns out they can give quite a lot of processing power but are limited by their 32MB of main memory.

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June 8, 2003 12:08:41 PM

Ofcourse you are right, when a lot of computing power is needed, lets say for wheater caluclation etc, one does need these "paralell" connected PC:s. The bandwith isn't the issue but the number of CPU:s one can utilize. If my memory does serve me correct I remember that several (thousands) PC over the Internet was used when beaking the old RSA encryption code.

Well, GL in further research.

June 8, 2003 3:12:57 PM

RC5-64 was cracked by millions of computers contributing to it. A useless endevour but it proves a point.

"We are Microsoft, resistance is futile." - Bill Gates, 2015.