LJ Archive

The Beowulf Project

Marjorie Richardson

Issue #45, January 1998

With the Beowulf project, NASA has provided the Linux community with the opportunity to spread into scientific areas needing big computing power.

Beowulf is one of the most exciting projects using Linux today. Originating from the Center of Excellence and Information Sciences (CESDIS) at the NASA-Goddard Space Center in Maryland, the project's mission statement is:

Beowulf is a project to produce the software for off-the-shelf clustered workstations based on commodity PC-class hardware, a high-bandwidth internal network and the Linux operating system.

The Beowulf project was conceived by Dr. Thomas Sterling, Chief Scientist, CESDIS. Donald Becker, a Scientist at CESDIS, wrote the fast-Ethernet drivers needed for the Beowulf-class clusters and incorporated them into Linux. One of NASA's imperatives has always been to share technology with universities and industries. With the Beowulf project, NASA has provided the Linux community with the opportunity to spread into scientific areas needing big computing power.

Our cover is a picture of the Beowulf-class cluster, Loki, used at Los Alamos National Laboratory. For more information about this cluster and the Hyglac cluster at Caltech, see our feature article I'm Not Going to Pay a Lot for This Supercomputer! by Jim Hill, Michael Warren and Patrick Goda. There are also clusters of this type at Drexel and Clemson Universities.

In February

Next month, our focus will be on databases, and we have articles on development, PostgressSQL, SQL in Python and a free database called Qddb. I think you will find them all enlightening. We will also feature an article about Digital Domain, a production studio that does digital special effects for the movies. Digital Domain used 105 Alphas running Linux and connected by fast Ethernet to create many of the effects used in the upcoming motion picture Titanic.

7th USENIX Security Symposium

The goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers, practitioners, system programmers and others interested in the latest advances in security and applications of cryptography. This will be a four-day symposium with two days of tutorials, followed by two days of refereed paper presentations, invited talks, works-in-progress presentations and panel discussions. It will be held January 26-29, 1998 at the Marriott Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. For more information contact the USENIX Conference Office via e-mail at conference@usenix.org.

Linux Resources on the Web

We've updated our Linux Resources web pages—check them out at http://www.linuxresources.com/. In addition to the usual sections pointing to Linux distributions, FAQs, HOWTOs and Newsgroups, we have:

  • Linux Speaker's Bureau: a list of people willing to give Linux talks and their areas of expertise.

  • Employment: a place to go to find a job or the right person for a position utilizing Linux.

  • Business Connection: information on how to promote Linux in the workplace.

  • Linux Projects: a list of current projects being developed in Linux and a message board for posting ideas for projects.

  • G.L.U.E.: Groups of Linux Users Everywhere, provides information on starting a LUG, setting up trade shows and more.

  • Linux Library and News: places to find the latest information about what's happening in Linux.

We also are providing space for people in the Linux community to post their information about Linux, so that it can be found in one area rather than scattered over the web. Write to info@linuxjournal.com if you wish to make use of this space. Because we wish this Linux Resources area to be a community effort to promote Linux, we have kept it non-vendor specific and advertisement free.

Subscription Fulfillment

Several months ago a light bulb went off and we had what we thought was a great idea—turn subscriptions over to a fulfillment house. Our Associate Publisher did a lot of research to find companies that performed this service and that could accept e-mail orders. We then picked one that seemed to best fit our needs. In September, we turned subscriptions over to Superior Fulfillment in Duluth, Minnesota, expecting to no longer have to worry about this aspect of the magazine. Well, we were wrong. Murphy's Law took over and everything that could go wrong did. Superior kept delaying the date when they would have all of our orders entered into their system. It was time to get label information to the printer, and we didn't have it. We began to get angry letters from new subscribers. Finally, we had to give up on being able to fix the situation long distance. Superior returned all of the subscription orders to us, and the majority of LJ's staff spent the next couple of weeks entering orders and writing letters to our subscribers. The insert cards in the November and December issues of LJ all have the Duluth, MN address, but now it's back to Seattle.

We are most sorry for the inconvenience that this situation has caused our customers and hope that you will all forgive us. To us, our subscribers are the most important people in the world, and we wish to give you the best possible service. Thanks to all of you who showed us such patience and understanding during the time period when it seemed like all orders were lost.

LJ Archive