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USENIX '99 Annual Technical Conference
Table of Contents
Tuesday, June 8, 1999
Full Day Tutorial Session (9:00 am - 5:00 pm):
T3   Linux on the Edge (NEW)
This full-day tutorial consists of two parts which are not sold individually.

Who should attend: Programmers, engineers, users and managers interested in cutting-edge Linux, especially those involved with the design of systems with real-time components and/or those interested in building and programming clusters of PCs.

PART I: Real-Time Applications in Real-Time Linux
Victor Yodaiken, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

"Hard" real-time programs perform tasks like collecting data from instruments, moving video streams, controling machinery, or managing data communication equipment. The common theme is control of devices that will malfunction or lose data if timing deadlines are not met. RTLinux allows modules with guaranteed timing to be connected to standard UNIX programs. For example, it is easy to construct a RTLinux program in which a Perl script collects data from a real-time module via standard "read" calls, processes the data, and then sends it over a network to a remote site. The key to RTLinux is to isolate the actual real-time components within a small, simple operating system that runs Linux as its lowest priority task. The result is that complex processing can be done in a feature-rich environment that is not allowed to interfere with real-time processing.

This half-day tutorial will be an introduction to both the use and programming of RTLinux.

-   Defining terms - What real-time means to non-marketing people
-   Overview of how RTLinux is used in the field
-   The technical basis of the system and how it works
-   Some examples of RTLinux applications - flying through hurricanes and controlling robots
-   Future directions: new architectures, new capabilities
-   Simple programs and the API
-   Real-time drivers
-   More complex programs - bridging the RT and Linux environments
-   Linux versions and RTLinux versions - 2.0 and 2.2 base systems
-   Real-time in SMP systems

PART II: How to Build a Beowulf: Assembling, Programming, and Using a Commodity Supercomputer
John Salmon and Daniel Savarese, California Institute of Technology

It has recently become possible to assemble a collection of commodity mass market hardware components and freely available software packages in a day and be executing real world applications by dinner time, to achieve a sustained performance at greater than 1 Gflops, at a total cost of around $20,000. Furthermore, on almost a daily basis, these numbers are improving.

This half-day tutorial will cover aspects of system assembly, integration, software installation, programming, application development, system management, and benchmarking. Demonstrations with actual hardware and software components will be conducted throughout the tutorial. Participants will be encouraged to closely examine and manipulate elements of a Beowulf at various stages of integration with strong Q&A interaction between presenters and attendees.  

Victor Yodaiken (T3 Instructor)   came up with the idea of RTLinux and has been working in and teaching operating systems for 20 years. He is an associate professor of computer science at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and also does consulting on real-time and embedded operating systems and applications.

John Salmon (T3 Instructor)   is a senior scientist at Caltech's Center for Advanced Computing Research, and is well known for his expertise in designing and implementing efficient spatial algorithms. John Salmon, along with Mike Warren of Los Alamos National Laboratory, won the Gordon Bell Prize in 1997 for best performance and price/performance for their octtree-based N-body simulation that ran on a Beowulf-class computer.


Daniel Savarese (T3 Instructor)   is a senior scientist at Caltech's Center for Advanced Computing Research and has been involved with building and evaluating the first Beowulf systems at Goddard Space Flight Center. Outside of his Beowulf work, Daniel is known as a regular columnist for Java Pro Magazine.

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