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computer clusters

I'm bored at work and happen to have lots of old winXP laptop's so I started thinking about clustering and I have a few questions.
1st - since i don't have a switch, I was wondering about using the wireless on the laptops and creating an ad-hoc network, then clustering them up - so i don't know if that is even possible
2nd - i would imagine that winxp has NO clustering capabilities, so it would have to be done with something else - hopefully a linux thing since it's free - and I'm only thinking about this to kill some time
3rd - is clustering just basically pooling together the resources of several computers - i guess the idea is the sum of several computers is greater than just one
4th - is clustering mostly used for server like things such as file sharing - could you cluster a bunch of pc's just to make one really great pc?
just wondering - when i'm bored i try to learn about things that i don't know.
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JeffBeall
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JeffBeall
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silverkornCommented:
What your looking to do is to create a Beowulf Cluster

before getting too far into specifics about the cluster I would first identify a specific use for this. Generally this is done to run a parallel computing calculation that would normally take a long time for a standard computer to accomplish.
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JeffBeallAuthor Commented:
so is that what clustering is mostly used for? parallel computing calculations?
It's not so you could have one really awsome pc?
I guess I could try it anyhow, to kill some time.
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silverkornCommented:
yes parallel computing is really only meant for high level calculations, the virtual computer itself would not be faster but you could run excel calculations much faster.

for overall computer performance you would be better off RAID'ing the hard drives from all the laptops into one virtual disk and booting windows from that

an example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96dWOEa4Djs
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JeffBeallAuthor Commented:
thanks for the info.
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