If you are a student looking for a cool individual study project or are just interested in a project for its own sake, you might consider updating the existing resource, Cluster by Night. Cluster by Night (CnB) is a live CD approach to setting up an HPC (High Performance Computing) cluster for MPI work. (MPI is a programming library that allows you to write programs for computing clusters.) We’ve used CnB for the last several years in our operating systems class. What distinguishes CbN from other approaches (for example, the popular PelicanHPC) is that it can work with an existing network. With other approaches the master node on the cluster hands out IP addresses; with CbN the cluster nodes receive their IP addresses from the existing DHCP server. I think Cluster by Night is an awesome resource.
How can you help?
Here’s the thing. The last time CbN was updated was several years ago. It doesn’t work on computers that have new network cards. So, for example, it doesn’t work on the desktops in our computer lab. Bummer. Getting this updated is not rocket science. Right now, CbN uses Tiny Core Linux v2.2. We would need to update that to the current version, 4.2. CnB also uses an outdated version of the openMPI library. If would be nice if we could update that. There are several other enhancements we could make. The work is incremental. So there are nice defined independent tasks. And there is yet another reason you might consider this …
You will be doing something that will be used by a community of people.
Another cool thing about this project is that there is a high probability that it will be used by a fair number of people. Often undergrad projects once completed are put on the shelf and ignored. Here’s a chance to make a difference! If you are interested contact me.