O'Regan, Emlyn writes:
> I've got to confess a couple of sad facts:
> 1: I don't know what a Beowulf computer is
Foo! Shame! Everybody knows that
Came then striding in the night the walker of darkness. In that gabled hall the warriors slept, those who guarded the hall. . . all but one. It was well known among men that, if God willed it not, no one could drag that demon to the shadows. But Beowulf watched in anger, waiting the battle's outcome. Came then from the moor under the misty hills Grendel stalking under the weight of God's anger. That wicked ravager planned to ensnare many of the race of men in the high hall. He strode under the clouds, seeking eagerly, till he came to the wine-hall, the treasure-hall of men decorated in gold. Nor was it the first time he had sought Hrothgar's home. But never in his life before --or since-- did he find worse luck! Came then to the building that creature bereft of joys. When he touched it with his hands the door gave way at once though its bands were forged in fire. Intending evil, enraged, he swung the door wide, stood at the building's mouth. Quickly the foe moved across the well-made floor, in an angry mood--a horrible light, like fire, in his eyes. He saw the many warriors in the building, that band of kinsmen asleep together, and his spirit laughed: that monster expected to rip life from the body of each one before morning came. He expected a plentiful meal. (It was his fate that he eat no more of the race of men after that night. . .) The mighty one, Beowulf, watched, waiting to see how that wicked one would go about starting. Nor did the wretch delay, but set about seizing a sleeping warrior unawares and bit into his bone locks, drinking the streams of blood, then swallowing huge morsels of flesh. Quickly he ate that man, even to his hands and feet. Forward Grendel came, stepping nearer. Then he reached for Beowulf. Beowulf grasped his arm and sat up. The criminal knew he had not met in this middle-earth another with such a grip. Grendel's spirit was afraid and his heart eager to get away, to flee to his hiding place, flee to the devils he kept for company. Never had he met a man such as this. Beowulf then kept in mind the speeches he had made in the evening and stood upright, firmly grasping Grendel's hand until the fingers broke. The monster strove to escape. Beowulf stepped closer. That famous monster suddenly wanted to disappear into the fens. He realized the power of those hands, the wrathful grip he was in. Grendel felt sorry he had made a trip to Herot. That hall of warriors dinned. All the Danes of the city, all the brave ones, feared disaster. The building resounded. It is a wonder the wine-hall withstood the battle, that the beautiful building did not fall to the ground. But it was made fast, within and without, with iron bands forged with great skill. I have heard say many a mead bench adorned in gold went flying when those hostiles fought. No wise man had ever thought that splendid building could be damaged (unless a fire should swallow it). The din rose louder, the Danes stood in dreadful terror--everyone heard lamentation, a terrifying song, through the wall: Grendel, Hell's friend, God's enemy, sang in defeat, bewailing his wound. That man, mightiest of warriors alive, held fast. He would not for any reason allow his murderous visitor to escape alive, to keep the days of his life. Beowulf's warriors brandished many a sword, inheritances from the ancient days, trying to protect their chief, but that did no good: they could not have known, those brave warriors as they fought, striking from all sides, seeking to take Grendel's soul, that no battle sword could harm him-- he had enchantment against the edges of weapons. The end of Grendel's life was miserable, and he would travel far into the hands of fiends. Grendel, the foe of God, who had long troubled the spirits of men with his crimes, found that his body could not stand against the hand grip of that warrior. Each was hateful to the other alive. The horrible monster endured a wound: the bone-locks of his shoulder gave way, and his sinews sprang out. The glory of battle went to Beowulf, and Grendel, mortally wounded, sought his sad home under the fen slope. He knew surely that his life had reached its end, the number of his days gone. The hope of the Danes had come to pass--He who came from far had cleansed Hrothgar's hall and saved it from affliction. They rejoiced it that night's work. Beowulf had fulfilled his promise to the Danes and all the distress they had endured, all the trouble and sorrow, had reached an end. The fact was plain when Beowulf laid that arm and shoulder down, there altogether, Grendel's claw, under the vaulted roof. The Warriors Rejoice I have heard say that on that morning warriors came from near and far to look at the wonder. Grendel's death made no warrior sad. They looked at the huge footprints and the path he had taken, dragging himself wearily away after he had been overcome in battle. The fated fugitive's bloody tracks led into the water-monster's mere. There bloody water boiled, a horrible swirl of waves mingled with hot gore. That doomed one had died, deprived of joy, in his fen refuge, his heathen soul taken into Hell. After seeing that place the warriors once again rode their horses to Herot. They spoke of Beowulf's glorious deed, often saying that no man under the sky's expanse, North nor South between the seas, no man who bore a shield, was more worthy of a kingdom. They, however, never found fault with the gracious Hrothgar-- he was a good king. The warriors let their bay horses go, a contest for the best horse, galloping through whatever path looked fair. Sometimes a king's man, a warrior covered in glory who knew the old traditions, would be reminded of an ancient song, and he would call up words adorned in truth. The man would think of Beowulf's deeds and quickly compose a skillful tale in words. Then he sang of things he'd heard about Sigemund's valorous deeds, untold things about Weals's son, his struggles, his wide journeys and feuds. The singer told things the children of men did not know, except for Fitela, Sigemund's nephew, who stood with him in battle. With swords those two felled many from the race of giants. After Sigemund's death day not a little fame sprang to him, about his hardy fight and killing of a dragon, keeper of a hoard. Under gray stone that prince alone engaged in that audacious deed, not even Fitela with him. Anyway, it happened that Sigemund's sword went clear through the huge dragon and that splendid iron stuck in the wall. The dragon died violently. By brave deeds the hero won a ring hoard for himself. He bore into a ship's bosom those bright treasures of the Weal kin, and the dragon melted of its own heat. Sigemund was by far the most renowned adventurer. N He had first prospered under King Heremod, but that man's strength and victory subsided. Among the Jutes Heremod was betrayed into enemy hands and put to death. Sorrow oppressed him too long. He became a trouble to his people. Many a wise man bewailed the old days when Heremod had taken the protector's position to hold the treasure of the Danish kingdom. He had loved the Geats more than his own people: evil had seized him. Thus told the song. Sometimes the warriors raced their horses on the yellow road. The morning sped away. Many a brave warrior went to the high hall to see the wonder. So also the king himself, the keeper of the rings, leaving the queen's rooms, went with his famous company. And the queen also with a troop of maidens walked among the mead seats.
> 2: I haven't really quite finished my Comp Sci degree (I let the last couple
> of points just hang there in hyperspace).
> I need to confess these things because I am I am trying to finish it off
> this semester (being the latter half of the tenth year since I began, and my
> Uni is getting shirty, funny about that). I'm currently trying to find a
> decent project for one of my final couple of subjects (an IT project unit,
> maybe that is self evident). All bar one of the proposals that I have been
> handed by the Uni involve Beowulfs (monitoring, some file system work for
> linux) and all bar one of those involve Linux.
> So what is a Beowulf? Why does everyone love them so much?
Beowulf papers: http://www.beowulf.org/papers/papers.html Beowulf quick setup: http://www.xtreme-machines.com/x-cluster-qs.html
The love is dictated by lack of money: clusters from commodity components running OpenSource software are cheap. Very cheap. Hower, recently Beowulfs based Alphas with Myrinet started to outperform SGIs... You can't really compete if the economies of scale are against you.
> Emlyn, underqualified