PC-NOW99 Workshop on Personal Computers based Networks Of Workstations

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Clusters composed of fast personal computers are becoming more and more attractive as cheap and efficient platforms for distributed and parallel applications. One of the main drawbacks of a standard Cluster is the poor performance of the standard inter-process communication mechanisms. Such standard communication mechanisms perform poorly for several interesting applications.

Several prototypes and research projects have proved that optimizing the implementation of the communication layer of a standard operating system kernel, a low cost hardware platform composed of only commodity components can scale up to many processing nodes and deliver performance exceeding the one delivered by the conventional high-cost parallel platforms.

Despite the importance of this break-through, that allows the use of inexpensive hardware platforms for efficient support of large/medium grain parallel computation in a Cluster environment, few papers describing their design and implementation still appear in the literature. Multiprogramming and co-scheduling of communicating processes so that "real applications" can be efficiently parallelized in Cluster environments are still open research issues as well.

This workshop provides a forum to discuss issues, results, and ideas related to the design of efficient Clusters based on commodity hardware and public domain operating systems as compared to custom hardware devices and/or proprietary operating systems. The program will consist of key-note speaches, and of contributed presentations selected by the Program Committee.

chiola@disi.unige.it, June 24, 1999