[Computer-go] Big Iron for Orego
drake at lclark.edu
Mon Mar 1 08:42:19 PST 2010
I'm in a position to buy some serious hardware on which to run
Orego. Here are the constraints:
I have roughly $16K to spend.
I want to have as much processing power (i.e., many fast cores) as
possible. Having a single box would be nice, but I'm willing to use a
This system will be used for three purposes:
1) Running experiments, e.g., many games against GNU Go, to test new
variations of Orego.
2) Possibly running Orego on the entire system. Orego is already
multithreaded, but running it across a cluster will take more work.
3) Running Orego in tournaments.
Orego is written in Java. I want it to be platform-independent, the
existing codebase is in Java, and I often have student researchers who
have been trained in Java. This is not negotiable.
My operating system preferences, in decreasing order, are: Mac OS X,
I don't want any strange or bleeding-edge systems. I'm experimenting
with artificial intelligence, not with system construction and
Since this is purely a number-crunching system (as opposed to a
development terminal), I don't need a fancy monitor. Heck, I might not
need any monitor or keyboard.
As a baseline, one possibility is to buy five of these:
That would be 40 cores of good hardware with an OS that I know. I
suspect that I can get more bang for my buck.
Please send suggestions to drake at lclark.edu.
Update (25 Feb 2010):
Another suggestion would be to buy a pile of Mac minis. If one of them
is running OS X Server, I might be able to use XGrid for cluster
Using educational pricing, plus $39 per machine for parts-only
AppleCare, I can get:
Qty Item Price Total
24 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo Mac Mini 549+39 14088
1 2.53GHz Mac Mini w/ OS X Server 949+39 987
That's 48 cores, plus 2 more on the server. They're quite
energy-efficient, if Apple is to be believed, and I wouldn't
technically need a rack: they can literally be stacked on a
shelf. Still ... can I get more out of a Linux setup?
Update (1 Mar):
I have a quote from a custom Linux vendor. For just under $16k, I can
get 24 cores in a single machine with 32GB RAM. This would be better
as a powerhouse for running a single, multithreaded instance of Orego,
but not as good for running experiments.
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