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The cluster Banan is no longer in production at NSC.


Banan is a PC cluster, a pile of PCs, a Beowulf. It consist of ten nodes/boxes connected together with FastEthernet. The head or the front-end contains two Intel Pentium III running at a clock frequency of 450 MHz mounted on a Tyan S1832DL motherboard. The two processors share 512 Mbyte of primary memory. It has 84 Gbyte of SCSI disk and a Asus AGP-V3800 (Riva TNT2) graphics board. For communication, there are two D-Link NICs with 21143 tulip-chips installed.

The other nine nodes has the same amount of processors and memory. The secondary memory consist of one 8 Gbyte IDE disk and the number of NICs has been limited to one. An S3 Trio3D graphics card is installed. Its main purpose is to provide access to the BIOS settings.

The front-end and eight of the nodes are supposed to be used for production while the ninth node will serve as a spare node in case of any hardware failure.

Only the front-end has connection with the rest of the world using one of the NICs. The other NICs on all boxes are connected to a HP ProCurve 2424M (24 ports) FastEthernet switch.


Most of the software on Banan is open source. The compiler suite from Portland Group Inc. is an exception.

Operating System

The operating system on Banan is Linux. Redhat is the used distribution and the current version is 6.2. The Linux kernel is upgraded to 2.2.16 with some additional patches.

Programming Environment

The following compiler suites are available on Banan:

  • EGCS 1.1.2 (C, C++, and F77)
  • PGI Workstation 3.1 (C, C++, F77, F90, and HPF)
    (commercial software)
Debugging and profiling tools are available in both compiler suites.

Communication APIs

To easily utilize all boxes in a cluster, a efficient communication API is needed. The most well known APIs that use the message passing paradigm in parallel computations are MPI and PVM. Both are available on Banan.

Two MPI implementations are installed:

  • LAM from University of Notre Dame and
  • MPICH from Argonne National Laboratory.

For PVM, the well known distribution from Oak Ridge National Laboratory is used.


The following performance have been measured on Banan:

SCALAPACK using MPICH, 10 nodes, 20 processors

 N         24000
 NB        40
 P         4
 Q         5
 LU Time   2252.76
 Sol Time  8.90
 MFLOPS    4075

NAS 2.3

         CLASS W                 CLASS A
         1 proc       4procs/4nodes  16procs/8nodes

 FT      44.39           106.94          299.95
 MG      51.14           149.47          401.32
 LU      81.74           283.77          997.75
 IS       5.75             7.02           10.40
 EP       1.25             5.00           19.65
 CG      33.82            88.31          117.07
 SP      46.13           148.12          345.72
 BT      66.41           245.69          548.00


 Function  Rate (MB/s) RMS time Min time Max time
 Copy:     306.8959     0.0523   0.0521   0.0530
 Scale:    304.1886     0.0527   0.0526   0.0527
 Add:      366.3174     0.0656   0.0655   0.0656
 Triad:    265.3486     0.0905   0.0904   0.0905


Ninety percent of the available time on Banan was dedicated for use by The SKF Group. SKF was mainly using Banan for running a program named BEAST, (Bearing Simulation Toolbox). It simulates the dynamics of a rolling bearing by solving the general differential equations of motion for all components.

Banan is now (2003) being used by NSC for various testing.

If you are interested in testing your application on Banan and see what kind of performance and scalability is possible to get on this architecture using your own software, please contact support.


If you have any questions, corrections, additions, or suggestions regarding Banan or this web-page, please contact NSC's helpdesk;

One box (Front-End) containing
  • 2 Pentium III 450 MHz
  • 512 Mbyte SDRAM
  • 84 Gbyte SCSI disk
  • 2 NICs (tulip)
  • 1 Asus AGP-V3800 (TNT2)
    Nine boxes, each containing
  • 2 Pentium III 450 MHz
  • 512 Mbyte SDRAM
  • 8 Gbyte IDE disk
  • 1 NIC (tulip)
  • 1 S3 Trio3D
    1 HP ProCurve 2424M Switch
  • Linux 2.2.16
  • RedHat 6.2
  • PGI Workstation
  • LAM
  • PVM
  • Former users
  • The SKF Group
  • Links
  • NSC Support
  • Beowulf
  • Beowulf Underground
  • Freshmeat
  • Linux Apps

  • Niclas Andersson, National Supercomputer Centre

    Page last modified: 2006-04-26 14:39
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