The Aggregate Cluster Design Rules

If there is one unifying theme in all our cluster supercomputing work, it is that clusters need to be engineered to perform well on the codes you care about most. After many years of engineering, building, and using Linux PC clusters, we have finally been able to partially automate the engineering process. The tool we have built is not perfect, and you should treat its designs primarily as suggested starting points rather than as the design you should use, but it handles a surprisingly complex mix of issues very well -- mostly because it is really a specialized expert system that evaluates every possibility.

The tool is implemented as a CGI program accessed via a WWW form interface. To use it, you need to know a little about your application... and to tell our CGI about your design constraints. Of course, the fact that a particular part appears in the database, or is selected by the CGI, should not be considered an endorsement of that product by the author of the CGI (professor Hank Dietz) nor by the University of Kentucky; responsibility for evaluating the true fitness of any design falls entirely on the user of the tool.

A more detailed desrciption is available in our Cluster Monkey article entitled A Web-Based Tool for Optimized Cluster Design. A version of this tool is now available at

The current bug/wish list is:

Source code is available from the "Beowulf Design Rules" project web page hosted by Logo.


Author Info

This program was originally built by Hank Dietz, but has been dramatically improved by Bill Dieter. Both are faculty in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Kentucky.

The Aggregate. The only thing set in stone is our name.