In 1999, I packed everything I owned into my car for a cross-country trip to begin my
new job as Staff Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley Computer Science
Department. It was an optimistic time in my life and the country in general. The economy
was well into the dot-com boom and still a few years away from the dot-com bust.
Private investors were still happily throwing money at any company whose name
started with an “e-” and ended with “.com”.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) was also funding ambitious digital projects
like the National Partnership for Advanced Computing Infrastructure (NPACI). The
goal of NPACI was to advance science by creating a pervasive national computational
infrastructure called, at the time, “the Grid.” Berkeley was one of dozens of universities
and affiliated government labs committed to connecting and sharing their computational
and storage resources.
When I arrived at Berkeley, the Network of Workstations (NOW) project was just
coming to a close. The NOW team had clustered together Sun workstations using
Myrinet switches and specialized software to win RSA key-cracking challenges and
break a number of sort benchmark records. The success of NOW led to a following
project, the Millennium Project, that aimed to support even larger clusters built on x86
hardware and distributed across the Berkeley campus.
Ganglia exists today because of the generous support by the NSF for the NPACI project
and the Millennium Project. Long-term investments in science and education benefit
us all; in that spirit, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to Scholarship
America, a charity that to date has helped 1.7 million students follow their
dreams of going to college.
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