Apple’s Xgrid is a technology that’s been publicly available for download since earlier this year. It’s a software program that makes it possible for scientists and others to use their Macs to build a grid computing cluster. To help simplify the process of running Xgrid, Apple recently posted an introduction on the Apple Developer Connection (ADC) Web site called
Xgrid: High Performance Computing for the Rest of Us.
Created by Apple’s own Advanced Computation Group, Xgrid is designed to help researchers, academicians and anyone else with a network of Macs to create an ad hoc cluster to help speed the processing of complex calculations. Xgrid systems consist of three parts: the Agent, described by Apple as “the worker bee;” the Controller which receives jobs from clients and breaks them into tasks that it then sends to Agents; and the Client, the part of the system that submits jobs to the grid through the Controller.
Apple steps through the process of downloading and installing Xgrid, and offers up a couple of examples of ways that Xgrid users can make use of the technology. Practical examples of how Xgrid is being used new are also discussed: mathematicians at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia are using Xgrid to find low autocorrelation binary sequences, for example, while Reed College’s Center for Advanced Computation is using Xgrid to help calculate nonlinear-system computations.
There are links to other Xgrid-related information posted to Apple’s Xgrid intro page, including download links. Xgrid is
available for download from Apple’s Web site — it requires Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later and 128MB RAM.
If using Xgrid within your environment is something you’re interested in, you may also want to consider registering for this year’s
Worldwide Developers Conference, coming to San Francisco, Calif. from June 28 – July 2, 2004. One conference track — the Enterprise IT track — offers several sessions regarding High Performance Computing (HPC) solutions.