William W. Hargrove Archive

Cluster Computing: Linux Taken to the Extreme
The free availability, high reliability, and relative efficiency of Linux has been a boon to computational science in the 1990s, and grows ever-popular with computational scientists everywhere. Using Linux, scientists have been able to turn off-the-shelf personal computers into effective UNIX workstations suitable for a number of tasks, including number-crunching for scientific models. Beowulf-style cluster computing -- pioneered by Thomas Sterling, Donald Becker, and others at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (http://www.beowulf.org) -- has extended the utility of Linux to the realm of high performance parallel computing. Additionally, the open source nature of Linux has allowed programmers to add features directly to the operating system to meet the unique needs of cluster computing. A collection of these enhancements is now distributed under the name Extreme Linux (http://www.extremelinux.org) -- "It's Hot and It's Cool" -- by Red Hat Software, Inc. (http://www.redhat.com).