[Bioclusters] Using semi-public PCs for heavy computation jobs

Arnon Klein bioclusters@bioinformatics.org
Sun, 15 Feb 2004 20:49:26 +0200

As part of my graduate research, I need to run a job of a genome-wide 
scale. Using all of the computers available to me at my lab, this can 
take about 6 months. We don't have a cluster...
I am already making use of a students computer lab, after-hours. Those 
computers run linux, and it was a no-brainer : just hacked some scripts 
to rshell into the machines, activated by the crond. It's not enough, 
While I'm looking at the option of getting or buying CPU time on a 
cluster, I am also tempted to make use of other public PCs at the 
campus. The ideal thing here is to have something like SETI@home or 
Fold@home, but I would go for anything that will allow me to have my 
jobs running on as many PCs as possible here, while not making me the 
enemy of the system admins...
We're talking about Windows based PCs (mostly 2000 or XP), at least some 
of them are managed using a central image.
Right now it looks like the simplest option is to install sshd or telnet 
service on them, and have a script that logs in after hours, and  
execute some binary. However, I'm not sure this would go well with the 
sys-admins (security implications?).
I think it would be best if I can approach the authorities with a 
sensible plan - first impressions are very important...

I would like to hear anything about this subject: configuration 
suggestions, past experience, encouragements, discouragements, etc.