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The authors implemented and evaluated a heterogeneous system architecture that combines a traditional computer cluster with a broadband network of embedded Set-Top Box (STB) devices to provide a distributed computing platform for parallel applications. Their prototype system for broadband grid computing leverages the recent dramatic progress in computational power of STBs. It includes a complete head-end cable system based on the Tru2way standard, a DOCSIS- 2.0 network, and an implementation of the Open MPI library running on the STB embedded operating system across 128 devices. An important contribution of their work is a novel method for the virtualization of a large collection of embedded processors within a managed broadband network.
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