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Re: st: Stata (gllamm) benchmarks for different platforms?


From   Buzz Burhans <wsb2@cornell.edu>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: Stata (gllamm) benchmarks for different platforms?
Date   Fri, 23 Apr 2004 11:25:42 -0400

As a follow-up to the previous and related post from Fred Wolfe and Buzz Burhans, with some comments from Michael Ingre also, some thoughts and ideas follow that we have exchanged during the course of our exchange on running on multiple computers or OS (again, whether Fred,Buzz, or Michael made the comments is not germaine, so I have not tried to distinguish it here):

Comments:

As most Stata users use MS Windows, we thought the above data would be germane. When I purchased my Windows computer it was with the knowledge that Linux was going to be faster. I purchased Windows rather than Linux because many additional programs that I use frequently only run on Windows. For example, a program (Reference Manager) that holds my 30,000 references and formats them for publication only runs with MS Word. In addition, the way I work requires frequent pasting from Stata (or a text editor) to Excel (for formatting) and then to MS Word. My decision to go with Windows rather than Linux was based on the assumption that the increased speed from Linux would not make up for the loss of productivity inherent in using 2 computer or partitions (Windows and Linux). Others might make different choices.



Other thoughts:
My Opteron is configured so I can dual boot it to either Linux or Windows, though I haven't installed Windows on it yet, I have the partition prepared. If you have hard drive space, an installation of Linux on a second partition may be worth exploring. Other thoughts about working between two operating systems are:

Very interesting possibility


Option 1, current practice:

I use a switch box that allows me to plug both boxes in to it, and use only one monitor and keyboard. By double tapping on a keyboard key I switch from one computer to the other, thus I run Stata, then switch back to the Win machine for other work, all on the same monitor and keyboard.

I keep a duplicate directory for each Stata project on my WinXP machine.
I use a 256MB "mini cruzer" flash disk on the USB port (on both machines) to keep a backup copy of the StataProject directory
On the WinXP machine I use a file sync program called FileSync (shareware) to sync the hard drive and the flash disk copies of the StataProject directory. That software is fast, and allows default settings, so it comes up and does the file compares and updates the new and revised files on either drive very easily and fast.
I don't have that program. I will look into it. (Thanks, I found it and downloaded it). My older machine which sits on the desk, too, is slower, and I am trying to find a use for it.


On the Linux box, I downloaded a program called UNISON that essentially does the same thing between the min cruzer flash disk and the StataProject directory on the Linux hard drive.

Syncing is easy and fast. There is a minor problem if I update the same file on both disks before I sync them, but there is software that will merge them even then, though I am not yet using it.

By the way, the KDE desktop on the Linux has an Office suite, and it is compatible with MS Office which I use on the WinXP machine. In the little testing I have done with it, the file interoperability, for spreadsheets at least, is good. I have built some tables in the spreadsheet, and been able to use them in MS Excell. This would not interest you probably, but there may be similar inter-operability for whatever Mac based tools you use.

I think if I could get it to run with Reference Manager it might be worth trying for me.


I also run and value Reference Manager, and have the same need to maintain it's usability.

Option 2.: soon as I get time to set it up:

I bought a router ($50) and a cable ($14) that I can use to link the two machines into a local network (all at the side of my desk). It will allow me to use UNISON to sync the two machines (WinXP & Linux) without having to use the flash disk. I am going to get a local Linux guy to set it up for me. I may or may not be able to run Stata "remotely", I mostly want to expedite the file movement though.

This "LAN" could be done with a single "crossover" cable ($14) and without the router expense, but I actually have a third computer I want to link to (it is even older and slower) so in my case I need the router.
Yes, I run a LAN here, and keep my lap to synchronized (mostly by hand, but I'll look into your synch program).


I can manage to do the switch to Linux. But I would not want it for my everyday work. Do you think it is possible to use the Opteron/Linux system as a remote server and submit jobs to it from Stata on another computer (My Mac, and My colleagues Macs and PCs)? Or is it only available from the command line?
I think it is possible to use the Linux box as a remote server and submit Stata jobs to it; but you would need to ascertain that with someone who knows more about setting that up than I do. In fact, Stata tech support probably could tell you.


Buzz Burhans
wsb2@cornell.edu

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