Maker Faire

Garbage, Fry grease and Linux: A supercomputing proposal.

Type: Maker Table/Exhibit
Program Area: Electronics

Day/Time: Saturday and Sunday

Location: To be determined

In their 12 years of operation, Alameda County Computer Resource Center (ACCRC) has built several supercomputers out of the discarded e-waste At the Maker Faire, ACCRC will be building one such cluster and powering it using their veggie-oil fueled generator.

The slave node CPUs will be entirely comprised of hardware that is brought for recycling during the event. For the master node, they will be using a dual-processor 1GHz Pentium III server that was previously donated by CNET. It's not yet certain what the minimum hardware spec for usable slave nodes will be, but based on experience so far it is likely that it'll be Pentium II or higher, with 128MB RAM, and the ability to boot from eitherthe network or a CD.

ACCRC is currently running a modified version of ParallelKnoppix, a GNU/Linux Live-CD that contains a number of clustering applications. They've added the POV-Ray 3D-renderer, patched for use under PVM, which allows individual frames to be split up into blocks and rendered in parallel by as many nodes as there are available. They've also modified the ParallelKnoppix scripts to make adding new nodes easier, and speed up the setup process.

Ray tracing is known as an embarrassingly parallel operation (meaning that it scales very well). Because they cluster is only using normal ethernet, this class of application is ideal for it. However, ParallelKnoppix includes the prerequisites for a number of other parallel computing applications which will also run, such as the High-Performance Linpack Benchmark.

See the post in the ParallelKnoppix forum or email info at

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Presented by

executive director

Deranged recycler. I run one of the oldest computer recyclers (also self funded not for profit)in the country. Proficient in veggie oil power. (is secondary power for warehouse). Beowulf clusters,electronic recycling in general. Some how eneded up as the number one "tattooed freak" on google. Enabler of geeks, provider of gear to snort project,sflan,and metasploit among others. give linux based based away on a weekly basis (16000 in 12 years)