[Gllug] Lots of computing power required - is Amazon EC2 an answer?

Nix nix at esperi.org.uk
Thu Jun 30 22:17:28 UTC 2011

On 30 Jun 2011, Adrian McMenamin uttered the following:

> I have struggled to find an algorithmic way out of this - but cannot see one.
> I have some code which is very parallelisable but requires huge computing
> resources - on a AMD 64 dual box I have here I reckon it will take about
> 20 days to run - but if I had access to about 600 CPUs it might take 20 -
> 30 minutes (it's run against a massive XML file - 800 MB or so - with
> different parameters)
> I am also doing this for a student project so have no big budget to spend
> - but would be willing to spend some money.
> Is Amazon EC2 a possible answer - it seems less than clear to me if this
> is about web serving or computing - so I thought I'd ask where people will
> know the answer straight away :)

It's precisely about computing, but if the massive XML file needs to be
fed to all the nodes, that's going to kill you.

I'd suggest finding a better algorithm, but you already tried that :(

(GPUs are very unlikely to be helpful unless your algorithm is one of
the very limited set that GPUs are good at. The only reason we can
afford to fit supercomputers into our graphics cards is because they're
special-purpose supercomputers. More general-purpose than they used to
be, but still not *that* general.)

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