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Massive Parallelism with Workstation Clusters {

Challenge or Nonsense?

Technical Report IFI-TR 94.01

Clemens H. CAP?

Department of Computer Science

University of Zurich

Winterthurerstrasse 190

CH{8057 Zurich, Switzerland

e-mail: [email protected], Tel. +41{1{257 43 26

December 14, 1993


Workstation cluster computing recently has become an important and successful technique. The communication bottleneck limits this approach to small and medium sized configurations of up to 30 workstations for most applications. This paper demonstrates that for certain algorithms massively parallel cluster computing using thousands of workstations in the Internet is feasible. It describes structures for the coordination of a large number of geographically dispersed processes. The paper introduces Lola, a library supporting massively parallel computing in wide area networks, and provides an application example.

1 Introduction

Recent research activities have shown, that workstation cluster computing or hypercomputing provides a fair amount of computing power at a reasonable price. [16] reports a performance of more than 1 Gflops in a cluster of 110 workstations and [23] demonstrates, that for certain applications cluster solutions provide a price performance ratio which is two orders of magnitude better than for classical supercomputers. [32] estimates that

?Research partially supported by Firma Siemens AG Munchen and Schweizer Bundesamt fur Konjunktur und Wirtschaftsforderung, grant numbers 2255.1 and 2554.1.