Today's Hindu has an article about the Beowulf cluster assembled
at MatScience, which is now rated 257th on the TOP500 list. There
seemed to be some inaccuracies, relating to the description of the
other clusters in India as 'imported', while this one is described
as being 'locally assembled'. A quick glance at the picture reveals
the nodes to be off-the-shelf Supermicro 1U dual Xeons imported from
the US, so the claim that it is locally assembled must be restricted
merely to the act of putting it on the shelf, plugging it in, inserting
the ethernet cables, installing RedHat and the clustering software
and turning it on.
Nevertheless, it is a fairly important learning experience, so I guess
we need to commend them, and also for the publicity it has given to
the use of Linux in HPC.
I understand that there are at least a dozen other large Beowulf
clusters in India, including ones at IBM, Intel, Amrita Institute
and sevral other sites.
Interestingly, No.2 on the TOP500 list, 'Thunder' at Lawrence Livermore
Labs, has been assembled by a desi-run company, California Digital Corp.
at Fremont (with offshore development at Bangalore). It apparently uses
Itaniums instead of Xeons, and it is a much larger cluster. It is also
a Beowulf cluster, perhaps with extensive customization at Livermore
(The lead developer of Beowulf, Donald Becker, also works (?) for the
U.S. Dept. of Energy, but at a different Lab. His name is also on most
of the Ethernet drivers in the kernel tree.)