Plura is a unique blend of processing power and bandwidth. It is not quite a cluster and has features that make it unique from grid computing projects like Folding@home.
Stock Market Simulations – Quant R&D is using Plura to analyze the stock market using an all-vs-all data strategy. Quant’s problem boils down to wanting to run complex simulations on pairs of stocks from the entire stock market. Each simulation is relatively expensive, but it can be broken up into pieces. Quant uses 1-minute stock market data and one stock’s data over the time period they analyze is about 1MB compressed. To stay within Plura node memory limitations and to minimize bandwidth needs, they want to reuse the stocks as much as possible. So, they use Plura data groups to ensure Plura nodes get to reuse the stock data they have already downloaded as often as possible. This means that a typical Plura node will download two 1MB pieces of data and will then proceed to work on WUs (work units) using those two pieces of data for quite some time (probably longer than the life of the node).
Custom Web Crawling – 80legs is using Plura to do distributed web crawling. Rather than having data centers with very fat pipes, they use a portion of the bandwidth of the Plura nodes to crawl the web. In order to improve the success ratio for each work unit, 80legs sends out Plura WUs with very few URLs to crawl. The economics of this are incredibly dramatic compared to data center bandwidth.
Prime Number Search – As a sample application, Plura has created a distributed prime factoring engine that is doing pre-factoring for large Mersenne primes. We are using this application to demonstrate a different data model for Plura. This model has no specific data, but each WU contains a specific amount of factoring to do. In the next weeks or months, we will release yet another prime number application that implements the Lucas-Lehmer test for Mersenne primes. This will show yet another data model for Plura, so stay tuned for more information.
We have other customers that are in various stages of evaluating Plura usage for a variety of applications. We’ll release details on these if and when they agree to do so. In the mean time, if you want to explore the possibility of running any particular algorithm on Plura, feel free to contact us.