Initial Publication Date: July 25, 2013

Bootable Cluster CD

Contributed by The BCCD Developers (

The Bootable Cluster CD (BCCD) is a software platform designed to allow parallel programming and distributed computing instruction to concentrate on the education and not the computing infrastructure necessary for it. It is an open source Knoppix-based live CD that provides the tools necessary to teach parallel and distributed computing (e.g., GNU compiler suite, multiple MPI bindings, OpenMP, CUDA, Java) that can be run on either a single system or on a network of computers that are automatically configured using custom networking tools to form an ad hoc temporary cluster.

PPP Characteristics

Languages Supported: , Python, C++, C, Java
OS Compatibility: , , Linux
Physical Resource Support: Single Computer Simulated Cluster, Local Cluster, Remote Cluster, Local Multicore, Remote Multicore
Computational Model: Fully Distributed, Message Passing, Shared Memory

Context of Use

The BCCD can turn a typical lab full of PCs into an ad-hoc cluster in about 10 minutes by simply booting each of the machines off a copy of the live ISO (CD or USB flash drive). The BCCD automatically sets-up the networking and host files necessary to support distributed memory programming with any of the included MPI bindings. When the class is done all that needs to be done to return the lab PCs to their previous state is to remove the BCCD media and reboot. A number of curriculum modules suitable for college computer science students in a variety of classes have been written around the BCCD, allowing instructors to benefit from a community of users interested in tackling the same problems.


The BCCD is available for download at

There are detailed instructions available there for using the BCCD in live ISO mode and for installing it on real hardware or a virtual machine.


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