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Matthew wants to know if he's going to be fired

Journal entries are going to be a bit sparse over the next few weeks as a frantically scramble to finish my dissertation by all the deadlines.

Some quickies:

  • Went to the OSCAR meeting meeting with Brian. I gave a talk on LAM, and expressed the general rocktitude of LAMness. I now understand what these guys are trying to do, and how it is different than Scyld -- it's essentially what Bill Saphir's group at LBL was trying to do with BLD (Berkeley Lab Distribution). That is, but a "Beowulf 1" cluster on a CD. Sort of a ExtremeLinux 2. Scyld is more like "Beowulf 2", where they have single-system image, etc. If they succeed, I think it will be a good thing. To make a long story short, we got what I wanted: both LAM and MPICH will be included in the OSCAR distribution.

  • I had a few long talks with the Scyld guys while we were there. We finally realized exactly what we have to do in LAM to make LAM work on Scyld. All told, it's probably about 20 lines worth of code changes (including configure.in changes). It's really easy. The talks with the Scyld guys were good, also, because it seems that they didn't know much about parallel run-time systems. Likewise, we didn't know much about Scyld. So it was a most excellent exchange of information. Brian is setting up a mini-Scyld on 3 of our alphas this weekend, and will be doing the initial LAM porting to Scyld.

    We decided that the initial port of Scyld is easy. But how to do more than that, and take advantage of some of Scyld's nice features will take a lot more thought and discussion. It kinda changes the ballgame when you have many machines that are emulating one single machine; there are many... er... "issues" is not the right word. Perhaps "definitions that need to be created" would be accurate.

    Anyway, the Scyld guys seem like a cool, hackish, fun-loving group. It will be good to work with them.

  • I also had a long chat the Patrick from Myrinet. I don't think that I can repeat much of what was said (not that it's secret, I just don't think that the conversation was intended for public consumption), but needless to say he's happily waiting for LAM/gm. Rock on!

  • The conference was at the NCSA in Champagne/Urbana, IL. We took a tour of their machine room (actually, machine building). It was most impressive. There were only 2 SGI machines there, but each with many nodes (hundreds? I don't remember). They had a test x86 cluster as well; perhaps 64 nodes or so. And then a brand-new multi-hundred x86 cluster that was just being installed by IBM. Fully connected by Myrinet. It was huge. We also saw their Itanium cluster (IA-64); yes, these machines actually do exist. They were still under NDA, so the NCSA folks really couldn't say much about them, but they hinted that their performance was fabulous.

  • On my drive home from IL, the realization hit me that my dissertation is literally due in about 2.5 weeks. Ugh.

  • I've spent the rest of this week writing and dissertating. I'm still writing the software, too. poggenc is coming along; I think I've worked out most bugs in the serial code (I re-vamped just about all of the thread stuff last night and made it much simpler, but I think there's still a bug or two left -- you can periodically get an audible "click" in the output. It's running through bcheck right now; hopefully, bcheck will tell me where my error is...). I'm writing the MPI code right now; after all, the whole idea here is to mix MPI and threads. Gotta get this stuff done...

    SLAM is coming along as well, but I can't work on two things at once.

  • I had to be at the new house yesterday when the GE fridge, washer, and dryer were delivered. It's very nice to have a non-coin-operated washer/dryer! Our new bed was delivered today as well. Tracy and I have taken several carfulls of stuff over to the house; our apartment is getting emptier and emptier. The moving truck comes in 6 days (i.e., Friday) to move all our furniture and whatnot.

    The good news is that our phone number finally propagated through Bell's computers and whatnot, and it finally appeared "DSL capable" on Wednesday. I ordered DSL for my new house from seminar room where the OSCAR meeting was being held (it was fully wired; Brian and I were logged in with our laptops); very cool. The order is progressing smoothly, but they can't tell me when it will all be setup. It may take up to 3 weeks. :-( Hopefully, it will be less than that.

Must return to poggenc.
LocalWords: rocktitude LAMness Saphir's LBL BLD ExtremeLinux alphas Scyld's
LocalWords: kinda ballgame er hackish gm NCSA IL SGI Itanium IA NDA vamped
LocalWords: dissertating bcheck Gotta fridge carfulls

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