BA-Cluster Documentation

The Barcelona Cluster for the MALLBA Project.

Table of contents


This document is intended to provide a description of BA-Cluster, the cluster of PCs we are installing in Barcelona to use in the MALLBA project.

As you may imagine, this page is in construction.


The cluster is currently made of a set of 19 computers. We can distinguish three different groups according to the configuration of the machines:

Group I

All these computers share the following configuration:

Group II

All these computers share the following configuration:

Group III

This computer have the following configuration:

Computers named ba* only cointain their "box" (no keyboard, no mouse, no screen and no graphic adapter). Computers not named ba* are complete workstations including keyboard, mouse, michrophon, speakers, screen and graphic adapter.

Computers named ba1...ba9 are interconnected by a dedicated network using a 10/100 switch. Computers named achtung, iliria, peix, sente and tesuji could also be connected to this switch but currently are not (we can do that if necessary). Computers named alamak, camus, elsmunts, monge and verger are located in another building, and so share network resources with the rest of our department (we cannot change that).

How to log in

By now, connection to the cluster will only be possible from within the department. To enter the department, please use one of the following machines:

If possible, please use ssh (secure shell) in all your connections to and within our department. Secure shell is not yet required but may be imperative in the future. You can also login using an internet browser.

In order to provide you direct acces to our cluster without using login*, please contact Jordi.

More information:


Computers named ba* will be available at all time. In the case that these computers should go down, we will try to advertise it with the maximum anticipation. Computers not named ba* are located in offices. In this sense, they "belong" to their users, and so they can be turned on and off in some unsuspected way.

We recomend you to use ba* computers, as they are more reliable and homogeneous, moreover, they all are NFS client and servers. If you need to use the other machines, please contact individually the owners of achtung, alamak camus, elsmunts, iliria, monge peix sente, tesuji, verger, to let their computers on running Linux (you can also contact all them together).

External connectivity

Internal connectivity

The following figure shows how much time is needed to ping pong a message from ba3 to ba4 depending on the message size and the communication library used. The measures shown are the average over ?? runs on a friday afternoon.

General Software

All computers have the same configuration running Linux as operating system (Redhat 6.1 distribution with kernel 2.2.12-20). Most of the Redhat standard software is available under its standard directories in every machine.

Some extra software shared with the rest of the department is accessed through the /usr/local directory. Note that it is very important to have /usr/bin appearing before /usr/local/bin in your path variable.

Read on to see the BA-Cluster specific software.

Disk configuration

ba* computers are NFS (network file system) servers. The rest of computers are only NFS clients. Also, all the computers in the cluster are clients of our departmental NFS servers.

The home directory of each MALLBA user is located in the departemental server. This server ensures availabity and security. In addition, each user owns a directory in the disks of the ba* computers. To enable an easy use, each user has a directory ~/Disc which contains links to the ba* disks:

In addition, local users might have the following entries:

In order to access ~/Disc/windows it is necessary to execute mount /msdos. If you want to acces the CDROM via /cdrom, it is necessary to execute mount /cdrom. All files stored under ~/Disc/local and ~/Disc/windows are only visible when the machine is on and exclusively by the owner of this machine in this machine.

Backup information:

Backups for files under ~/Disc/ba1 are performed twice a week to ba2. As a consequence, maintain important files under ~/Disc/ba1 and try not having too much space under ~/Disc/ba2.

All files stored under the following directories are not backed up:

Initizalization Scripts

BA-Cluster computers have a directory structure very different to the one available in the rest of our department. In order to initialize your environment, please use and adapt the following scripts:

By default, the following scripts should be empty or not exist:

BA-Cluster Software

The following software is available on BA-Cluster machines:

All this software is available under ~mallba/soft in its corresponding directory. The original packages are located under ~mallba/original. For some of this software, scripts to initialize the environment are available (see below).

Please remark that all this software is freely available, but if you want to install certain libraries (LEDA and chaco) at your site you will have to ask for a license (go to their web page).

BA-Cluster Environments

Most software packages need to stablish environment variables. You can simply initialize them by sourcing the appropiate scripts (which are located under the ~mallba/entorn directory). Currently the following environments are available:

To load them, execute source ~mallba/entorn/xxx. If you use them often, you can simply source them at the end of your ~/.tcshrc.


Càrrega de les màquines: Seria bo que abans de llançar processos intensius a les màquines MALLBA, miressiu abans la seva càrrega. Per fer-ho, teniu programes com ara "xload" (lleig), "wmmon" , "wmmon2" (més bonics), "top" (mode text i molta info) o "ktop" (gràfics bonics i molta info). A les males, un miserable "uptime" també va bé.

PVM deamons: No deixeu processos PVM orfes. Mateu-los.

BA-Cluster Contacts

Frequently Asked Questions

Last update: Wed Oct 30 18:25:02 CEST 2002