AppleSeed Web site — which looks at a parallel Mac cluster for numerically intensive computing and should be of interest to those interested in a “plug and play parallel computer” — has been updated with new features that anticipate the “widespread use of OS X in the coming year,” according to Viktor Decyk, one of the site’s founders.
“The latest release of OS X has known issues with our software,” he said. “Apple has told us they will be fixed in a future release of OS X. Until then, you can prepare for parallel computing on X by using our latest software with CarbonLib on OS 9.”
Project AppleSeed is a way to transform a cluster of Power Macs into a parallel processing system. Decyk, Dean Dauger, and Pieter Kokelaar of UCLA’s Department of Physics created their own parallel processing “supercomputer” using a cluster of Power Mac G3s and G4s, some commercial networking hardware, and some software they designed themselves.
The AppleSeed Web site features a variety of do-it-yourself tips on constructing parallel-processing systems from Power Macs, what sort of off-the-shelf software you can use to help manage the systems, and how to write your own parallel processing-savvy software. The Web site’s newest major additions and changes include: MacMPI_X: a new Carbonized MacMPI library. MacMPI_X is based on MacMPI_IP, inheriting the high performance of Apple’s Open Transport TCP/IP implementation. Carbonized parallel applications that use MacMPI_X can run on both OS 9 with CarbonLib and OS X. But this is currently available in C only. Pooch: this is a new parallel computing operation utility for discovering nodes, launching parallel jobs, and monitoring nodes and parallel computations. Pooch uses TCP/IP exclusively for networking and is a Carbon application. It is ultimately meant for operation on OS X, but also operates on OS 9 with CarbonLib 1.2 or higher. It’s the successor to the Launch Den Mother & Launch Puppy and is far more capable, including the ability to operate over the Internet, according to Decyk. AltiVec Fractal Carbon demo: A new Fractal demo now uses both AltiVec and multiprocessing for computation, taking advantage of multiple G4 Macs, TCP/IP, via MacMPI_X, for communication, and the Carbon library, for running on both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. It has achieved over 6,000 MegaFlops on a pair of Dual G4/450s. This demo purportedly even runs in parallel on a mix of 9 and X systems. Parallel Fractal Carbon GPL: a Carbonized version of the GNU General Public License source code and project file for the Parallel Fractal Demo is now using MacMPI_X.
Updates to the AppleSeed Recipe and the Frequency Asked Questions page reflect the new software additions and other changes.