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Hardware virtualization in the x86 architecture has enabled the use of virtual machine monitors in Beowulf clusters. In turn, each application user can then run a virtual guest operating system of his/her choice. Of course virtualizing and sharing the hardware resources in a Beowulf cluster will add additional overheads that may negatively effect performance of the application. However, the use of an application specific guest operating system also permits the introduction of application specific optimizations into that guest operating system. Potentially then, even with virtualization, the overall application performance may be improved. In this paper, the authors consider the optimization of the communication subsystem in a Linux-based Beowulf cluster.
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