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Old 01-04-2010, 07:41 PM   #1
uetian
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Linux for Scientific/Numerical computing purposes


Hi all,
I intend to use Linux for my Laptop (HP Presario v6000: Intel Dual Core processor- 2.00 GHz; 1.0 GB DDR RAM) for running numerical simulations (calculations) using engineering softwares.

The sole purpose to use Linux is to reduce the usage of memory by operating system, and get more memory and computational capability for running programs written in C++/Fortran, these programs carry out very long and complex numerical calculations, taking 20-30 hours on my laptop.

I need some help regarding these issues:

1- please guide me about the simplest Linux which is just enough to provide a plateform for these programs to run, nothing more than that.
2- is there any software utility which helps the system to use hard drive as RAM in case my RAM is not able to handle all data during floating point operations?

Thanks.
 
Old 01-04-2010, 08:17 PM   #2
Davno
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Location: Montreal, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uetian View Post
The sole purpose to use Linux is to reduce the usage of memory by operating system, and get more memory and computational capability for running programs written in C++/Fortran, these programs carry out very long and complex numerical calculations, taking 20-30 hours on my laptop.
You did not say wich program you intend to run, (are they ported to linux?)

Code:
1- please guide me about the simplest Linux which is just enough to provide a plateform for these programs to run, nothing more than that.
Something like Damn Small Linux.

Code:
2- is there any software utility which helps the system to use hard drive as RAM in case my RAM is not able to handle all data during floating point operations?
You don't need any particular software for that, just make a swap partition the size you want or think that you need.
 
Old 01-04-2010, 08:22 PM   #3
OldAl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uetian View Post
1- please guide me about the simplest Linux which is just enough to provide a plateform for these programs to run, nothing more than that.
2- is there any software utility which helps the system to use hard drive as RAM in case my RAM is not able to handle all data during floating point operations?
1. Probably the simplest for your purposes is ubuntu (current version is 9.10). It installs by simply booting to the distribution CD.
2. AFAIK, both Linux and Windows will automatically use virtual memory, if you run out of ram. Of course, that slows down the data accessing very significantly as "virtual RAM" is on the hdd and hdds are *much* slower than RAM.

Good package to look at for numerical operations is NumPy - a Python package of modules for matrix operations and some other processing intensive tasks. Combination of Python with NumPy is so effective, that many newer programs for Analysis are written in Python. On "Launchpad", look at "easmy" project.
 
Old 01-04-2010, 08:33 PM   #4
evo2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uetian View Post
The sole purpose to use Linux is to reduce the usage of memory by operating system, and get more memory and computational capability for running programs written in C++/Fortran, these programs carry out very long and complex numerical calculations, taking 20-30 hours on my laptop
What libraries do these depend on? Are you planning on using gcc to compile?

Quote:
1- please guide me about the simplest Linux which is just enough to provide a plateform for these programs to run, nothing more than that.
I would advocate Debian for this, since it's installation can be quite minimal, yet it has a huge number of useful numerical/scientific libraries prepackaged. This is speaking from experience: my work situation is not so different from yours.

Also, please note that installing lots of software is not necessarily going to slow your machine down. Only by running unneeded software can this happen. Additionally, a few unneeded daemons running in the background are unlikely to cause a significant difference in the overall number crunching performance. More significant would be how you make use of multiple cores/processors.
Quote:
2- is there any software utility which helps the system to use hard drive as RAM in case my RAM is not able to handle all data during floating point operations?
As pointed out, this is what "swap" is for. Most linux installers will automatically create a swap partition for you. People generally recommend a swap partition size about equal to or perhaps up to double the amount of physical ram you have.

Cheers,

Evo2.

Last edited by evo2; 01-04-2010 at 08:34 PM.
 
Old 01-04-2010, 08:38 PM   #5
Elv13
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I would take a basic Debian Etch or Lenny network install with no profile at all, the OS should take around 30mb of memory after bootup process. Tweaking it a little and you can get under 10.
 
  


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