"Back in late 90's there was a time when clustering was the
rage. A few boxes, a fast Ethernet switch, some Linux software and
presto, you had a cluster. Like every new technology there are
misconceptions, hype and detractors. Eventually, the price
performance numbers ushered in a new HPC computing paradigm. In
some cases people cobbled together clusters, just to build them, in
others they built clusters and ran actual HPC programs on them.
Indeed, there seemed to be story after story about a new 'off the
shelf system' built at low cost or from some systems that were
'just lying around.' They would get an MPI or PVM program working
and find that they now had their own personal supercomputer. There
seemed to be several enabling factors that ran through the success
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