PelicanHPC GNU Linux
by request, there's an alternative version 2.9 in the
download area, which is the same as the recent v2.9, except
that it adds mpi4py
Jan. 2013 v2.9 is available. Octave 3.6.3, dynare 4.3.1, some
updates to the econometrics stuff, and also the usual sync to
Debian. This release is mainly to incorporate package updates
from Debian. A note: PelicanHPC is based on Debian stable
(squeeze), and is made using live-build v2.x. Before too long,
the testing version of Debian (wheezy) will become stable. To
make live images with wheezy, you need to use live-build v3.x.
The build script for PelicanHPC will need to be adapted to use
live-build 3.x. I doubt that I will have time/interest to do
that, so if anyone would like to take on the job, feel free to
go for it.
Nov. 2012. birgHPCC
is a live DVD distribution based in part on PelicanHPC. This
image is oriented to GPU computing, using CUDA. I haven't
tried it yet, but I plan to soon.
June 2012. v2.8 is available. Octave 3.6.2, dynare
4.3.0, new example code for estimation of nonlinear DSGE model
execute ./runme), also the usual sync to Debian. You can dd
the image onto USB storage to have bootable media, or you can
boot the image with virtualization software.
Dec. 2011: a note on building images: if you want to build a
64 bit image, you need to do it from a host that has 64 bit
Linux installed. You can build a 32 bit image on either 32 or
64 bit hosts. If your host is 32 bit, change the ARCHITECTURE
and KERNEL entries under ### OPTIONS FOR IMAGE ### to the
appropriate values (they are commented out for your image
22 Feb. 2011. The tutorial is available in Russian. Thanks to Ivan Bogatryev.
Linux Pro Magazine article on PelicanHPC (June 2009) issue is here
14 September 2009. There is a fast new download mirror, thanks to the Medical Informatics department of Heilbronn University and Heidelberg University. Thanks to Simon Streicher for setting this up!
30 June 2009. I finally managed to make a decent screencast that shows how to use PelicanHPC. It's 34MB, though. Check it here if you have the curiosity and bandwidth.
29 Sept 2008. If you were looking for ParallelKnoppix and you arrived here, you're in the right place. PelicanHPC is the continuation of the ParallelKnoppix project. The PK web page is no longer available, and re-directs here. ISO images for the last version of PK are achived here on the download page, but you're encouraged to use PelicanHPC instead.
PelicanHPC is an iso-hybrid (CD or USB) image that let's you set up a high performance computing cluster in a few minutes. A Pelican cluster allows you to do parallel computing using MPI. You can run Pelican on a single multiple core machine to use all cores to solve a problem, or you can network multiple computers together to make a cluster. The frontend node (either a real computer or a virtual machine) boots from the image. The compute nodes boot by PXE, using the frontend node as the server. All of the nodes of the cluster get their filesystems from the same image, so it is guaranteed that all nodes run the the same software. Packages can be added to all nodes using apt-get, thanks to aufs. The bootable image is created by running a single script, which takes advantage of the Debian Live infrastructure. It is very easy to create a custom version with new packages by adding package names to the script and then running it. PelicanHPC is creates a fairly bare-bones cluster, with few applications other than those relevant to the author's research and teaching. To use PelicanHPC for serious work in other disciplines, it will be necessary to create a customized version. The tutorial explains how to do this. It is not very difficult. Two examples of specialized distros that add to the PelicanHPC base are MOLA and birgHPC. These are very good examples of how it is intended for the make_pelican script to be used.
Pelican is created using tools from the Debian Live project. To make your own version you only need live-build (also deboostrap and rsync) and the make_pelican script, which is provided below. All of this is also available on the PelicanHPC images, so you can build a custom version while running PelicanHPC.
Contains the latest stable version of the OpenMPI implementation of MPI.
Available for 64 bit CPUs. An older version is available for 32 bit CPUs.
Pelican releases and all testing is done using the stable (Squeeze) version of Debian GNU Linux as the base.
Here are some screenshots (click to enlarge):
Use the normal download page or a mirror (see below). The make_pelican script and pre-built ISO images are always available on the normal download page. To use the script to make your own version, you need to install the live_helper package. Get the most recent version.
http://download.mi.hs-heilbronn.de/pelicanhpc/ Provided by the Medical Informatics department of Heilbronn University and Heidelberg University.
http://download.semmel.org/PK/ username "parallel" password "knoppix"
The main documentation is the tutorial, (also in Russian) which is a series of screenshots with comments. For those of you who fly by the seat of your pants, boot a computer using the CD, and follow the instructions that come up on the screen.
An academic paper style
discussion is in the document pelicanhpc.pdf.
Warning: this is somewhat out of date. Screencast video that shows how to set up and use PelicanHPC. Warning - this is about 34MB.
User Forum: the main place to ask questions
How to use ksysguard as a cluster monitor. (Thanks to A. Balsa)
Article in Linux Pro Magazine from June 2009.
let me know if you use this software to produce published academic
Some other distros for setting up a HPC cluster are mentioned here. They may be better choices for certain tasks.
birgHPC is a distro for bioinformatics built using an adapted version of make_pelican. It adds MPICH2, as well as a suite of tools for bioinformatics including GROMACS.
KestrelHPC is a system for setting up a cluster of netbooted clients, using a frontend machine that runs Debian or Ubuntu GNU/Linux. It is available as a .deb package. Now at its second version.
ABC Gnu/Linux is a distro for setting up a HPC cluster that works in both live and installed modes. I have tried it in live mode on a virtual cluster, and it works nicely, in my experience. It has the ganglia monitor, which is nice for seeing the details of the operation of the cluser. The frontend node automatically begins to operate as a dhcp server, using eth0, so be careful not to interfere with existing networks if you boot it up.
Night is another live CD approach to setting up a
cluster for MPI work. It works within an existing network,
which is not the case with PelicanHPC. It seems to be a very
nice solution when it is not possible to set up a private
This part is here to help convince
people that funding this project is worthwhile. Check
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updated version of this map:
2011 Michael Creel