<P class=story1>Early supercomputers used parallel processing and distributed computing and to link processors together in a single machine. Using freely available tools, it is possible to do the same today using inexpensive PCs - a cluster. Glen Gardner liked the idea, so he built himself a massively parallel Mini-ITX cluster using 12 x 800Mhz nodes. <P class=story1>The machine runs <A href=”http://www.mini-itx.com/link.asp?site=www.freebsd.org” target=_blank>FreeBSD</A> 4.8, and <A style=”COLOR: #eeeeee” href=”http://www.mini-itx.com/link.asp?site=www-unix.mcs.anl.gov/mpi” target=_blank>MPICH</A> 1.2.5.2. After working with his machine and running some basic tests, Glen’s cluster looks to be equivalent to at least 4 (maybe 6) 2.4Ghz Pentium IV boxes in parallel on a similar network - achieving a performance of around 3.6 GFLP. With the exception of the metalwork, power wiring, and power/reset switching, everything is off the shelf. Rather impressive we’d say - though he is root on a 1.1 TFLP 528 CPU monster, the <A href=”http://www.mini-itx.com/link.asp?site=www.top500.org/list/2003/11/” target=_blank>106th</A> fastest computer in the world…

http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/cluster/

MPICH Site: http://www-unix.mcs.anl.gov/mpi/

You can even do this with Windows machines. If I had the resources and time, I would create my own supercomputer. You could build some cheap ($300) Athlon XP 2000+ computers. Five of them would cost around $1500, and it would be the equivelant to a 8-10 Ghz system. This would be pretty sweet. I think you might be able to get the best performance if you were to use a couple of Dual processor systems with Gigabit ethernet connecting them.