O'Reilly Xgrid Presentation

By: James Reynolds - Revised: 2007-03-28 james

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At the O'Reilly 2004 Mac OS X Conference, James Reynolds presented on Xgrid and ran a demo grid.

Watch now!

This animation is not done (there are missing frames), and the current compressed version is very BAD (low quality and large in size) because it was done with QuickTime instead of something better like Compressor or Squeeze. After running 2 days, this is what was rendered:

Watch – MP4-File, 2.1 MB

The conference grid

If you realize that this was all rendered on about 4-6 laptops in a conference environment, it isn't that bad. Conference environment means that the network was airport, the laptops were mostly disconnected from the grid, and they were only online for small durations of time. Just think of how you use your laptop during a conference, sometimes openning it, but mostly leaving it closed.

My laptop, a 1.2 GHz PowerBook, was also on the grid set to "always" instead of "when idle". I forgot I even connected it up and so I didn't notice any slow down at all. But I did notice that it got a bit hot and the fans would go on after 10 minutes or so of leaving it on. I eventually got worried that something was misbehaving (fans on means CPU is working hard). So I ran top and was pleasantly surprised to see megapov taking 70% of my CPU. So that explained the fans and heat. But I still didn't notice any slow down.

The highest number of computers on the grid was 7. Here is what the grid looked like on 2004.10.27 at 8:41 AM. For some reason, Jerry Stratton's cookie file got deleted, and so he couldn't connect to the grid. I restarted the server eventually and he was then able to connect.

About the animation

The animation is the work of several people. Anton Raves is the POV-Ray genuis who did the modeling. James Reynolds created the scene and the grid. Pieter Desnerck and Tim Courtney helped with the scene. The models are the work of several people: Chris Giddens and Daniel Jassim. The ray tracking engine is MegaPOV (a customized version of the open source POV-Ray--Megapov can do more and is more experimental). The scene use Chris Colfax's splines macro for ship movement, Nathan Kopp's Lens Flare macro and a planet that someone (?) made.