[R] Using GNU R on a two box "cluster"

Dirk Eddelbuettel edd at debian.org
Sun Nov 7 19:04:36 CET 2004

On Sun, Nov 07, 2004 at 11:42:33AM +0100, Thomas Sch?nhoff wrote:
> right now I'm thinking about running R 2.0.0 on box A (Debian SID) but 
> at the same time having access to the ressources of box B (Ubuntu 
> Linux) regarding disk capacity, RAM, idle CPU cycles . Is there anyone 
> of you that has already installed and administred such a tiny (home 
> based) cluster?
> Are there any recommended methods or tools to realize a two nodes cluster?

The best place to start is probably the high-level snow package which does
all clustering in userspace -- i.e. it'll work on your machines just by
pulling in the packages it needs. Moreover, as both of your machines are
Debian-based, all you need should 

$ apt-get install r-cran-snow

modulo maybe deciding which communications protocol you want to use (pvm or

Another approach is to burn a dvd from the Quantian iso images (see
http://dirk.eddelbuettel.com/quantian/) and boot one machine with it (note
that there are also some tricks that help you do that without burning a dvd,
but that is still the best way to start).  You can then boot a second
machine rather easily by starting the openMosix Terminalserver that is part
of Quantian --- and you second machine can be booted off the first one
already running Quantian (provided is can boot via PXE, many recent BIOS
support this).  That gives you a two-node cluster with openMosix, and you
can start, say, two R sessions with lengthy simulations, and one should
migrate automagically to other box.   

Hth, Dirk

If your hair is standing up, then you are in extreme danger.
      -- http://www.usafa.af.mil/dfp/cockpit-phys/fp1ex3.htm

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