Date Sept. 4, 2009
Speaker Justin Riley (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Topic StarCluster - High Performance Computing on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud

StarCluster is a utility for creating and managing general purpose computing clusters hosted on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). StarCluster makes it easy to create a traditional computing cluster used in research labs or for general purpose parallel and distributed computing applications in the cloud. All that's needed to get started with your own computing cluster on EC2 is an Amazon AWS account and StarCluster.

Once you've created an AWS account and have StarCluster installed you create a simple configuration file and execute a single command to launch the cluster. StarCluster then completely automates the process of creating a high performance computing cluster on Amazon EC2. This involves requesting virtual machines from Amazon, configuring the cluster with Sun Grid Engine, OpenMPI, passwordless SSH, NFS shared /home and /opt directories, and ~140GB of /scratch space.


  • Software Tools for Academics and Researchers (STAR) group at MIT
  • Quick intro to Amazon's Web Services
  • Motivations behind StarCluster (education/research)
  • StarCluster Features
  • Case study (Materials Science)
  • Live Demo of installing StarCluster and launching a small 4 node
  • OpenMPI/Sun Grid Engine cluster on EC2

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We thank the generous support of MIT IS&T, CSAIL, and the Department of Mathematics for their support of this series.

MIT Math CSAIL EAPS Lincoln Lab Harvard Astronomy