A week in recap, Three hour cluster, Graduation


Well, the last couple of weeks have gone by so fast I'm still not quite sure how I did it, but I've graduated High School. I haven't been updating this blog as much as I'd like to so here's a recap of the last few days...

Monday Morning

  • Got a ride with Jeff (a friend of my Mom's) to East High School to take the Spanish Proficiency exam. I got there at 7:50 and found out that it didn't begin until 9:00. So I sat in the Cafeteria and watched the East High students. I have been removed from the traditional school situation so I can now act as a (mostly) impartial observer. I found it refreshing to see just how little things have changed. The cliques still exist, though the strongest separations appeared between males and females... I got the impression that the girls alienated themselves, not wanting to interact with their peers. Hmm. Not surprisingly, I found that the teachers still did more harm than good, interfering with a couple of boys tossing a ball around and leaving the violent/abusive ones alone. As 9:30 rolled around, I began the exam... It took them thirty minutes to figure out that eight people were missing. I wonder how long it would have taken with student cooperation... I finished the test around 10:15, just a few minutes after the required minimum attendance. I knew I had done well on the multiple choice section and had completely bullshitted my way through the essay. But that was out of my hands, I simply did not have the knowledge required to write an essay in Spanish.

Monday Afternoon

  • I took the bus to school and finished my remaining math tests in three hours. I passed the last math test with an 81 (minimum competency is 80). I bid everyone farewell until Thursday, stopped in to chat with DJ for a few minutes, and went home.

Monday Evening

  • At 5:00, I got a ride to the Business Development Center for my Distributed Systems class. I fiddled with Gentoo a little more only to find that LAM-MPI has a few quirks to get it working with AMD64. DJ also brought his TViX system and we watched Stargate Atlantis while we worked. Lots of fun. Later that night, I did some digging around on Gentoo's Bugzilla page and found that I wasn't the only person having problems with LAM-MPI on AMD64. I added my report of the bug as a comment and left it at that.


  • I slept in, it was nice. I took the spare system that Joe loaned me and added a couple of extra 3-4 GB hard drives I had lying around so that I could use it as a "testing" system and moved it to a nice cozy spot under my desk, previously occupied by dust bunnies. I installed OpenBSD 3.7 on it and christened the newfound system Calypso under my network's naming scheme. After a few hours of lounging around and watching DS9, I went to Distributed class again. When I got there, we started talking about what our goals for the next few weeks should be, I raised the possibility of building another cluster seeing as how the first one was almost completely working. The first cluster was built almost completely by Matt and I and didn't really give anybody else a chance to try their hand at the magic known as software. So Joel and Chuck went off with Joe and started building their cluster out of three of the P3 systems that were lying dormant on the far side of the room. When Matt showed up, I brought him up to date on the LAM-MPI problem and he suggested building it straight from source, without Portage. I had pondered the idea myself a few times but didn't have the necessary knowledge of LAM's workings to set the configure options correctly (What is ROMIO anyway?). So Matt got that compile going and as we were waiting for it to finish, I decided that I wanted to build another cluster too... It looked like everybody else was having too much fun without me. I hooked up four more of the AMD64 boxes and started installing OpenBSD on the first one. We only have a four port KVM so we decided to setup just one system at a time. The setup went surprisingly quickly once the packages were downloaded. I figured that this bottleneck could be eliminated by setting up a download mirror locally. As the first OpenBSD system, hereby known as node05, downloaded the required packages, I started the install on node06 and went upstairs to the gas station next door for some Twizzlers and a bottle of water. I also watched Matt put my recommendation letter for RIT in the mailbox. When I got back, both systems had finished their downloads. I finished the install on node06 and started tweaking it to match node05... I'm terrible about changing things before I've got everything setup. I configured Apache on node05 so that node07 and node08 installs would be much faster. Indeed they were. Both of the remaining nodes took only 20 or so minutes to setup, making the total setup time for the cluster under three hours. I continued tweaking all of the systems to get them to match fairly closely and began adding a few necessities... NFS, Bash, Passwordless SSH, and LAM-MPI. By the time I got to the LAM-MPI install, Joel and Chuck had the second cluster up and running with Debian Linux. They were having a little bit of trouble getting NFS working but eventually managed to get it to the point where the systems were fairly dependent on each other. 9:00 rolled around and I went home. A good day.


  • I woke up with but one thing on my mind, LAM-MPI. I had forgotten that we had started the build of it on node01 for the Gentoo cluster. I grabbed my laptop and SSHed into node01 to find that the build had gone flawlessly. After a little poking around looking at the results of the configure, I decided that it would be safe to install it on top of the Portage install. I waited a few minutes for the install to finish and tested it out. Still no luck but it appeared that the old libraries were still in use. I uninstalled the Portage version without any more success. Then I remembered that there was a way to set the library paths. I stumbled around the command line for a few minutes until I remembered that /etc/ld.so.conf controls libraries. I set that up to use our /usr/global path and found that it worked! Apparently a clean 64-bit library was definitely what was needed. I logged out feeling good about the success and lounged around, watching a few more episodes of DS9. Once I was tired of that, I started working on my neural network program some more and got it to the point where it ran without any problems. I am still lacking a learning function but it's well on the way to being a productive program. Eventually I'd like to make the neural network an MPI app so that I can put some really powerful hardware behind it.

Thursday Morning

  • Nick showed up at my house at 8:10 to get a ride to the graduate breakfast picnic thing with Dave. Dave showed up around 8:15 with a trailer of Kayaks in tow. We got to a nice little spot on the side of the river somewhere around Lindley... I tend to lose track of all of those small towns. We hung out skipping rocks across the water for about 45 minutes until Kristy, Nate, and Brandon showed up. I ate a donut and helped to unload the Kayaks. I said to Dave, "You're going to get me in one of these today, aren't you?" Without really protesting it, I got in the water and loved it. I hadn't been that close to water (excluding showers) in at least three years.

Thursday Afternoon

  • I got to school and hung out with Jessy for an hour and a half until things started to get going with Kristy's POL and Graduation setup. I went over to the cafeteria and setup the PowerPoint of the pictures of activities the school has done. From there on out, it was just a bunch of talking and shaking hands. I don't really like goodbyes, but this one wasn't that bad, because I didn't really feel like I was saying goodbye, just see ya later. I went to dinner at Olive Garden with my family and off to bed. A lack of sleep will do that to ya.

Well... Those are the most interesting parts of the week. I'll try to keep this up to date more often. Peace.

Next post - Slashdot's last breath, Voices, Kevin Rose, RIT