Parallel computing on an Ethernet cluster of workstations: Opportunities and constraints

TitleParallel computing on an Ethernet cluster of workstations: Opportunities and constraints
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsHamdi, M., Y. Pan, B. Hamidzadeh, and F. M. Lim
JournalJournal of SUPERComputing
Volume13
Pagination111–132
ISSN0920-8542
Abstract

Parallel computing on clusters of workstations is receiving much attention from the research community. Unfortunately, many aspects of parallel computing over this parallel computing engine is not very well understood. Some of these issues include the workstation architectures, the network protocols, the communication-to-computation ratio, the load balancing strategies, and the data partitioning schemes. The aim of this paper is to assess the strengths and limitations of a cluster of workstations by capturing the effects of the above issues. This has been achieved by evaluating the performance of this computing environment in the execution of a parallel ray tracing application through analytical modeling and extensive experimentation. We were successful in illustrating the effect of major factors on the performance and scalability of a cluster of workstations connected by an Ethernet network. Moreover, our analytical model was accurate enough to agree closely with the experimental results. Thus, we feel that such an investigation would be helpful in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of an Ethernet cluster of workstation in the execution of parallel applications.

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