ASP Monograph
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Paper: Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Networked Workstations as a parallel Processing Computer
Volume: 6, Twenty Years of ADASS
Page: 493
Authors: Breen, J. O.; Meleedy, D. M.
Abstract: Unlike traditional computers in which one central processing unit performs one instruction at a time, parallel processing computers contain several processing units, thereby allowing them to perform several instructions at once. Many of today's fastest supercomputers achieve their speed by employing thousands of processing elements working in parallel. While few institutions can afford these state-of-the-art parallel processors, many already have the makings of a modest parallel processing system. Workstations on existing high-speed networks can be harnessed as nodes in a parallel processing environment, bringing the benefits of parallel processing to many. While such a system can not rival the industry's latest machines, many common tasks can be accelerated greatly by distributing the processing burden and exploiting idle network resources. We have used p4, a freely-available parallel processing environment, as the foundation for our investigation, and our preliminary results have been very encouraging. With the ever-growing volume of observational data and the ever-increasing complexity of theoretical calculations, it is essential to utilize our computing resources fully.
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