April 04, 2004

Cost Sharing Your Computing Load Across Your Neighborhood Community Flashmob

A few thoughts from yesterday:

2pm, In the Parina Room, they have both exhibit booths for event sponsors like Clusterworld and HP, as well as a LAN party where 16 guys are playing Halo.

"It's a bloodbath down there," said Monica Ortiz, who does marketing for ClusterWorld. I met her first in the exhibits area, but an hour later she was taking refuge in the media room across campus in Koret Gym. A few journalists were in there, restless, about 3pm. One guy just said, "I want it to be more of a horserace." Parker Thompson told him that if one machine goes down, the whole test will be ruined, but it's 3:10pm and they are still doing the test across what we've been told is now 750+ machines. Parker then joked that he was betting some guy who had a machine with a broken fan, not understanding the situation, figured he'd lend it, and eventually, poof! We hoped not. But that's what they were dealing with at this event.

3:30pm, In the gym, where the computers are running, there is a loud hum echoing off the blond wood floors. There's a platform in the middle which is command central for the people running this, and a few other folks around them, but mainly it's just rows and rows of laptops and boxes.

Parker took this one of neatly arranged cables. More pix here and here.

The class that originated this project are all wearing black t-shirts with the project logo, sitting to the side of command central, at a row of tables that didn't get filled with nodes/computers. They too are playing xbox games. They all look very happy, pleased with the event and the fact that in the middle of the hum, they can pass the time with group video games while the test runs.

4-5pm, Brewster Kahle talked about his cluster setup at the Archive. He was his usual funny, enjoyable self with nice insight into the issues ("the future of anarchy net") they have putting together archives located around the globe. "Giving away something for free, if it's popular, can cost a lot. One slashdot can ruin your whole day." So he focuses on distributed bandwidth.

6pm. the results:

Also, watched them breaking down the setup, returning computers to owners. Impressively accomplished in about an hour or so. (Sorry about the blurry Treo 600 pix; it's just doesn't take great shots, esp inside in low light.)


One of the shared computers came in a little box:


Afterward, at the event party nearby, a lot of the students, sponsors and organizers congregated. They said they learned a lot. If nothing else, they realized they need to gather a more reliable set of nodes to do something like this but also plan more for the lack of reliability. As always, it's the little things.

Posted by Mary Hodder at April 4, 2004 08:18 PM | TrackBack