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PANTS is the PANTS Application Node Transparency System. It provides automatic and transparent load sharing on a Beowulf cluster of Linux computers. PANTS manages the resources of the cluster for the user and executes processes remotely to share the computation load among the nodes in the cluster.

The benefits of cluster computing are well known. A large class of computations can be broken into smaller pieces and executed by the various nodes in a cluster. Sometimes, however, it can be beneficial to run an application on a Beowulf cluster that was not designed to be cluster-aware. This is one of the main goals of PANTS.

PANTS was designed to be transparent to the application as well as the programmer. This transparency allows an increased range of applications to benefit from process migration. Under PANTS, existing multi-process applications, not built with cluster computing in mind, can now run on multiple nodes by invisibly migrating the individual processes of the application. AS far as the application is concerned, it is running on a single computer, while PANTS controls what resources it is using.

The PANTS design also contains a method for minimal inter-node communication and fault tolerance. In a Beowulf system, the network is most often the performance bottleneck. With this in mind, PANTS keeps the number of messages that move between machines low and also uses a protocol which does not exchange messages with nodes busy with computation. Built-in fault tolerance allows the cluster to continue functioning even in the event that a node fails. In the same way, nodes can be added or removed from a cluster without dramatic consequences.