Wandboard Cluster

The work done here contributes to the Massive Affordable Computing Project based out of the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Cape Town physics departments, both located in South Africa.

The purpose of this research is to explore ARM computing in the context of high energy physics such as that done at CERN. For more details and blogs about the project visit http://hep.wits.ac.za/research/mac.php.

This section describes select steps taken to configure a Wandboard Quad cluster from Freescale, http://www.wandboard.org/. It is an ongoing project and so some sections are incomplete.

A good portion of the steps apply to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, however Ubuntu 13.10 and Archlinux ARM were also used. Assume the steps are for 12.04 LTS unless otherwise specified.


Glusterfs enables you to share a filesystem over the server and nodes. From the server (MAC1), as root do:
  • apt-get install glusterfs-server
  • gluster volume create UCTMAC_Volume serverIPaddress:/data

this creates a file called data

Then start glusterfs

  • gluster volume start UCTMAC_Volume
  • gluster volume info
To allow nodes access:
  • gluster volume set UCTMAC_Volume auth.allow nodeIP1,nodeIP2

Then on the nodes, as root do:

  • mkdir /mnt/glusterfs
  • mount.glusterfs ServerIPAddress:/UCTMAC_Volume /mnt/glusterfs
  • mount
A simple df -h should show that there is a filesystem there. Since I am using a USB as my file-sharing device I will mount it from the server in /data.


I installed the latest version of MPICH from here (currently 3.03). Follow the readme files on how to install, it's pretty straight forward. Remember --enable-shared and --prefix= to your shared filesystem in configuration. Add the /bin folder in the mpich installation into your path. After following the readme file do which mpicc. It should point to the new location.

Benchmarks so far


Get the tar file from their website. untar it etc. In the new directory create a file corresponding to your system, ie, archlinux. Then do

  • sudo make XCFLAGS=" -DMULTITHREAD=4 -DUSE_FORK=1" PORT_DIR=thedirectory/

If compiling in Archlinux using -DUSE_PTHREAD add -lpthread

Play around with some of the flags. More flags can be added in the new folders .mak file.


Follow INSTALL file. Also need to do sudo apt-get install gcc-multilib. I found if a compile failed with errors, copy the Make. outside the top hpl directory. Delete the whole directory, unzip a new one, paste the Make file in there and try again. Need the atlas-base files. A sudo apt-get install libatlas-base-dev which install libcblas.a and libatlas.a in /usr/lib/atlas-base

For Archlinux: There are no atlas base files in the pacman repository. You have to build it yourself. Get the source at the bottom of this page, untar it and create the file test in the new untarred folder. Cd to test and do

  • ../configure -Si archdef 0
  • make build
  • make check

If there are cpu throttling errors, change the values in /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu#/cpufreq/scaling_governor. If the problem persists and you are sure you have turned off cpu throttling add the flag -Si cputhrchk 0 to the configure step.

These could take a long time. The libatlas.a and libcblas.a files will be in the test/include or test/lib directories.


Unzip tarball. Make changes in make.local.def. Then make all.mpi


Stream 5.10 files can be found at http://www.cs.virginia.edu/stream/FTP/Code/. Correct the fortran and C compilers in the Makefile if necessary and compile the code with make. Change matrix sizes appropriately. There isn't any need to run it in parallel on other nodes because it should directly scale.

Parallel Memory Bandwidth Benchmark (pmbw)

Get the files from here. Instructions are clear to follow from site.

Setting up "ssh-able" IP

Need to register your computers mac address and the port depending on the rules of your institution. Then in /etc/network/interfaces:

auto lo eth1
iface lo inet loopback
iface eth1 inet static
        address xxx
        netmask xxx
        gateway xxx
        broadcast xxx
        dns-nameservers xxx

If given time server info put it in /etc/openntpd/ntpd.conf.

To change default ethernet port go to /etc/ssh/sshd_config. In there change port 22 to whatever you like. To be able to ssh without having to fill in a port number each time create a file ~/.ssh/config. In there for each host/node do

host _name_
         hostname _ip address_
         port _port number_

Installing ROOT on Ubuntu and Archlinux

For Ubuntu The USB must be ext4 partitioned. Mount the usb in /media/usb/,
  • sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb (to unmount sudo umount /media/usb, or more forcibly, umount -f -l /mnt)

Unzip the root tarball onto the usb drive. Then, as root user do

  • ./configure --prefix=/data/ROOT/root_install --etcdir=/data/ROOT/root_install --enable-explicitlink --enable-rpath --enable-soversion --all
  • make
  • make install

In your .bashrc file add the line

  • source /data/ROOT/root/bin/thisroot.sh

For Arch Linux. To enable pyroot you have to change the name of the executable in the /usr/bin from python2 to python:

  • sudo mv python2 python

To enable Cintex you have to patch your code so that it will work on the ARM architecture. Although Cintex is not crucial, if you want to install ATHENA later on you have to have it (see further down). Get the patch from here, or use my slightly modified one attached to this page. Paste it in your root folder and do

  • sudo patch < root-5.34.05-cintex-armv7a-port.patch
There may be errors but as long as something updates it should be ok.

Needed packages for packman are: libxpm, libxft. There are also a couple optionals like mysql.

Then configure with

  • ./configure linuxarm --prefix=/home/archlinux/ROOT/Root_Install
  • sudo make
  • sudo make install

If there is a "freetype/freetype.h" error which there probably will be, cd to /usr/include/freetype2 and create a softlink pointing a new file freetype, back to the freetype2 folder which has freetype.h in it:

  • sudo ln -s /usr/include/freetype2/ freetype

Once configure has finished, look at the bottom of the configure output and see if python and cintex are there.

A dedicated Proof Cluster

This applies to Ubuntu 14.04. We have an ARM cluster of 7/8 wandboards sharing a filesystem through an NFS server. Overview: You will need to install ROOT as well as xrootd. Xrootd will be installed directly from resources provided in the ROOT download once it is untarred. Once ROOT and xrootd are installed, you start the xrootd daemon by using the command to start the xproofd daemon (which has been installed automatically). Because of the way the configure files for xrootd are set up, and the way you initialise the xproofd daemon, it automatically starts the xrootd daemon. I know... confusing.

Everything was put in a shared directory (/home/josh) which makes life easier. Make sure each node can access each other without requiring passwords:

  • ssh-keygen -t rsa –C “username@HeadNodeIPaddress”
  • cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub | ssh username@WorkerNodeIPAddress "cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys"
Doing it for one node should be ok since they share the directory. Then, on all boards do
sudo apt-get install git dpkg-dev make g++ gcc binutils libx11-dev libxpm-dev libxft-dev libxext-dev python-dev gfortran libboost-all-dev
(I recommend using cluster ssh for this.) Once ROOT has been untarred go into build/unix/ and do
  • installXrootd.sh /home/josh/xrootd

Now you need to build ROOT. Here is the full configure command I used:

./configure linuxarm --with-xrootd-incdir=/home/josh/xrootd/xrootd-3.2.7/include/xrootd --with-xrootd-libdir=/home/josh/xrootd/xrootd-3.2.7/lib \
 --with-x11-libdir=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf --with-xpm-libdir=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf --with-xft-libdir=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf \
--with-xext-libdir=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf --with-python-libdir=/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf --prefix=/home/josh/ROOT/root-install \
--etcdir=/home/josh/ROOT/root-install/ --enable-rpath --enable-explicitlink --enable-soversion --all
  • make && sudo make install
Add this to your .bashrc:
source /home/josh/ROOT/root-install/bin/thisroot.sh
source /home/josh/ROOT/root-install/bin/setxrd.sh /home/josh/xrootd/xrootd-3.2.7/
export PROOFCONFIG=/home/josh/ROOT/root-install/proof

Now go into ROOT/root-install/proof. The two files we need are xpd.cf and proof.conf. I've provided mine at the bottom of the page, but there are also samples in the directory. Once configured to your liking (goodluck) do:

  • xproofd -c xpd.cf -b -l /tmp/xpd.log
on the master and all the workers (use cssh). This is a shared location so it's the same place for all boards but each need to have the daemon started on them. The /tmp location is not shared and so each board will have it's own xproofd/xrootd log file stored there.

To start your proof cluster do

  • TProof *p = TProof::Open("wanboard1)
  • p.Print(“a”)

To run benchmarks do

  • gROOT->Time() This initializes a timer of any command entered.
  • TProofBench pb("wanboard1")
  • pb.SetDebug(kTRUE) This saves more results into the ROOT tree

For memory benchmarks you have:

  • pb.RunCPU()
  • pb.RunCPUx()
  • pb.GetPerfSpecs() (after running one of the memory tests)

I/O benchmarks:

  • pb.MakeDataSet() (essential)
  • pb.RunDataSet()
  • pb.RunDataSetx()

Each command can take a lot of arguments. So go look here if you want to use something other than defaults. The title about "Getting the performance specs" is helpful.


Just a note, a prooflite session is very easy to start, no setup is neccesary other than installing ROOT. Once that is done then: To start a PROOF Lite process open ROOT and type
  • TProof *plite = TProof::Open("lite://")
  • TProofBench pb("lite://")
then to specify number of workers if different from the default:
  • TProof *proof = TProof::Open("workers=10")

Running Proof on lxplus worker

Log into lxplus. Then source a version of root:

  • source /afs/cern.ch/sw/lcg/app/releases/ROOT/5.34.18/x86_64-slc6-gcc48-opt/root/bin/thisroot.sh
Source that gcc version:
  • source /afs/cern.ch/sw/lcg/contrib/gcc/4.8.1/x86_64-slc6-gcc48-opt/setup.sh

Start xrootd daemon:

  • source /afs/cern.ch/sw/lcg/app/releases/ROOT/5.34.18/x86_64-slc6-gcc48-opt/root/bin/setxrd.sh /afs/cern.ch/sw/lcg/external/xrootd/3.2.7/x86_64-slc6-gcc48-opt/

Making SSD rootfs without Serial Cable

Create a tar file of the rootfs on the wandboard. As root in ~/

  • tar -zcvf Archlinux-rootfs.tar.gz *

Mount the newly formatted SSD to a directory and unzip tar.gz file into it (make sure it's ext4):

  • sudo mount /dev/sda /SATA
  • sudo tar -zxvf Archlinux-rootfs.tar.gz -C /SATA

A good source is [[http://archlinuxarm.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=5995][here]. This may be a more clear explanation. Get the u-boot package:

  • sudo pacman -S uboot-wandboard-quad
Then in /boot create the file uEnv.txt. Copy and paste this into it
bootcmd=mmc dev ${mmcdev};if mmc rescan; then echo SD/MMC found on device ${mmcdev};if run loadbootenv; then run importbootenv;fi;echo Checking if uenvcmd is set ...;if test -n $uenvcmd; then echo Running uenvcmd ...;run uenvcmd;fi;echo Running default loaduimage ...;if run loaduimage; then run mmcboot;fi;fi;
bootscript=echo Running bootscript from mmc ...; source
importbootenv=echo Importing environment from mmc (uEnv.txt)...; env import -t $loadaddr $filesize
loadbootenv=load mmc ${mmcdev}:${mmcpart} ${loadaddr} /boot/uEnv.txt
loadbootscript=load mmc ${mmcdev}:${mmcpart} ${loadaddr} ${script};
loadfdt=load mmc ${mmcdev}:${mmcpart} ${fdt_addr} ${fdt_file}
loaduimage=load mmc ${mmcdev}:${mmcpart} ${loadaddr} ${uimage}
mmcargs=setenv bootargs console=${console},${baudrate} ${optargs} root=${mmcroot} rootfstype=${mmcrootfstype} video=${video}
mmcboot=echo Booting from mmc ...; run mmcargs; if test ${boot_fdt} = yes || test ${boot_fdt} = try; then if run loadfdt; then bootz ${loadaddr} - ${fdt_addr}; else if test ${boot_fdt} = try; then bootz ${loadaddr}; else echo WARN: Cannot load the DT; fi; fi; else bootm ${loadaddr}; fi;
mmcroot=/dev/sda1 rw
mmcrootfstype=ext4 rootwait
netargs=setenv bootargs console=${console},${baudrate} root=/dev/nfs ip=dhcp nfsroot=${serverip}:${nfsroot},v3,tcp
netboot=echo Booting from net ...; run netargs; if test ${ip_dyn} = yes; then setenv get_cmd dhcp; else setenv get_cmd tftp; fi; ${get_cmd} zImage; if test ${boot_fdt} = yes || test ${boot_fdt} = try; then if ${get_cmd} ${fdt_addr} ${fdt_file}; then bootz ${loadaddr} - ${fdt_addr}; else if test ${boot_fdt} = try; then bootz ${loadaddr}; else echo WARN: Cannot load the DT; fi; fi; else bootz ${loadaddr}; fi;
update_sd_firmware=if test ${ip_dyn} = yes; then setenv get_cmd dhcp; else setenv get_cmd tftp; fi; if mmc dev ${mmcdev}; then if ${get_cmd} ${update_sd_firmware_filename}; then setexpr fw_sz ${filesize} / 0x200; setexpr fw_sz ${fw_sz} + 1; mmc write ${loadaddr} 0x2 ${fw_sz}; fi; fi

Restart the wandboard and try

  • dmesg | grep root
It should say your root folder is now /dev/sda1


What follows applies to Arch Linux. Get the header files, sudo pacman -S linux-wandboard-headers which is here Get an OpenAfs source tar from here. Unzip it cd into the new folder. Then
  • sudo ./configure --enable-transarc-paths --enable-checking --enable-debug --with-linux-kernel-headers=/usr/src/linux-3.0.35-5-ARCH/
  • make
  • make dest
  • cd /dest
  • sudo mkdir /usr/afs
  • sudo mkdir /usr/vice
  • sudo mkdir /usr/vice/etc
  • sudo cp -p -r root.server/usr/afs/* /usr/afs
  • sudo cp -p -r root.client/usr/vice/etc/* /usr/vice/etc

  • sudo mkdir /usr/vice/cache

Copy all the files from an lxplus machine in /usr/vice/etc to /usr/local/etc/openafs. (This was just easier for me). Change the memory allocation in cacheinfo. I have it set to 1000000. Then copy the lxplus /etc/krb5.conf file to /etc/ on the wandboard. Then in /usr/vice/etc/ do

  • sudo ./afs.rc start
  • sudo afsd -verbose -debug

Now do kinit afsusername@CERN.CH (note capitals) and fill in cern password. If no error occurs, success! Do klist, should give something like:

Valid starting    Expires           Service principal
31/01/2014 13:13  01/02/2014 13:13  krbtgt/CERN.CH@CERN.CH

Now do aklog then tokens. This should output something similar to

Tokens held by the Cache Manager:

User's (AFS ID 51759) tokens for afs@cern.ch [Expires Mar 12 07:55]
   --End of list--
That should give you permission to view afs in /afs. You cannot cd to /afs and ask it to list everything. I'm not sure why. Instead cd to /afs/cern.ch and from there everything should be like normal afs.

To make sure the daemons begin at boot, go to /etc/systemd/system/ and create a file afs.service. In it put

Description= Enable AFS Capabilities

ExecStart=sudo /usr/vice/etc/afs.rc start
ExecStart=sudo /usr/vice/etc/afsd

Then do
  • sudo systemctl enable afs.service

LCG Software

This section has been moved to BuildAthenaArm


This section has been moved to BuildAthenaArm


Ubuntu 12.04LTS

To enable startup without gui:
  • cd to /etc/init/lightdm.conf
Comment out from
start on ((..
to just before
stop on .."

to change username and password:

  • sudo passed USER

To get ssh working:

  • sudo apt-get install openssh-server

Only way to restart ethernet port on wandboard it seems:

  • nohup sh -c "ifdown eth1 && ifup eth1"

After a flash of an image remember to change /etc/hosts, /etc/hostname and /etc/network/interfaces accordingly else network configurations will not work. Also look in /etc/udev/rules/70-presistent-net.rules. It may rename eth1 to eth2 which will cause problems. Delete the old MAC address and rename.

To fix the very annoying setlocale: LC_ALL: cannot change locale (en_US.UTF-8) problem, as root do:

  • locale-gen en_US.UTF-8
  • dpkg-reconfigure locales

To execute startup script in ubuntu

  • /etc/rc.local

A great place for a motd script (you can execute commands here)

  • /etc/profiles.d/motd.sh

Arch Linux

When first downloaded get the essential packages
  • sudo pacman -S base-devel

To allow X11 forwarding do :

  • sudo pacman -S  xorg-auth

Enable the AllowTcpForwarding option in sshd_config on the server. Enable the X11Forwarding option in sshd_config on the server. Set the X11DisplayOffset option in sshd_config on the server to 10. Enable the X11UseLocalhost option in sshd_config on the server.

Then add systemctl start sshd to /etc/profile

If you can only ping as root do

  • setcap cap_net_raw=ep /usr/bin/ping

To automatically login create a file /etc/systemd/system/getty@tty1.service.d/autologin.conf in there put

ExecStart=-/usr/bin/agetty --autologin username --noclear %I 38400 linux

Internet settings in /etc/netctl. Look in samples and change eth0 correctly.

Useful screen commands

Create new window: ctrl-a ctrl c
Close current window ctrl-a X
Split-screen ctrl-a shift-| (horizontal), ctrl-a shift-s (vertical)
Move around split screens ctrl-a tab
Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Unknown file formatgz atlas-3.8.4-arm.tar.gz r1 manage 3230.7 K 2014-04-22 - 17:34 JoshuaWyattSmith Atlas-lapack libraries
Unknown file formatconf proof.conf r1 manage 2.9 K 2014-08-02 - 17:25 JoshuaWyattSmith 2nd config file for xproofd/xrootd
Unknown file formatpatch root-5.34.05-cintex-armv7a-port.patch r1 manage 3.8 K 2014-03-20 - 17:52 JoshuaWyattSmith Patch for cintex on arm
Unknown file formatpatch va_list-fix-for-arm.patch r1 manage 1.0 K 2014-03-26 - 13:37 JoshuaWyattSmith mysql va_list patch
Unknown file formatcf xpd.cf r1 manage 1.3 K 2014-08-02 - 17:24 JoshuaWyattSmith Config file for xproofd/xrootd
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Topic revision: r115 - 2014-10-02 - JoshuaWyattSmith
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