Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Supercomputer Flexibility Increased by Virtualized Operating System

25.01.2010
Supercomputers have sprung up across the world landscape like the statues on Easter Island — separate, huge, and impenetrable to the average person. They perform hundreds of trillion calculations per second, a figure almost ungraspable by a species that may have entered mathematics by first counting on its fingers.

But new work on Sandia National Laboratories’ Red Storm supercomputer — the 17th fastest in the world — is helping to make supercomputers more accessible, in effect removing them from the solitary confinement of their specialized operating systems.

Sandia researchers, working hand in hand with researchers from Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico, socialized 4,096 of Red Storm’s total 12,960 computer nodes into accepting a virtual external operating system — a leap of at least two orders of magnitude over previous such efforts.

“The goal is to create a more flexible environment for all users,” said Sandia researcher Kevin Pedretti, who led Sandia researchers in adapting and optimizing a Northwestern program called Palacios for the Red Storm environment. Sandia researchers directed the testing effort.

Built by Sandia as part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) program to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear stockpile without testing, Red Storm’s advanced computational capabilities are also being utilized in unclassified modes to contribute to global efforts to combat climate change, evaluate dangers from possible asteroid strikes, and help solve other problems of national interest.

Peter Dinda, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, added, “If we can virtualize supercomputers without performance compromises we will make them easier to use and easier to manage, generally increasing the utility of these very large national infrastructure investments.” Dinda led the development of Palacios with his student Jack Lange.

Because of the complex nature of the classified work performed on Red Storm in the service of stockpile stewardship, its operating system is functionally restrictive compared with a general-purpose operating system.

Enter the technique called virtualization. A virtual machine in effect separates the hardware of a computer from its operating system.

“Our observation is that no single operating system will satisfy the needs of all potential users,” said Pedretti, “so we are attempting to leverage the virtualization hardware in modern processors to allow users to select the operating system best for them to use at run-time.”

This could permit one machine to simultaneously run multiple operating systems, with the possibility of migrating these systems from one computer to another. To achieve this trick on Red Storm, a receptor operating system called Kitten has been developed primarily at Sandia, while a virtual machine monitoring program called Palacios was developed at Northwestern. Operating through the filter of this programming translation, a program not native to Red Storm can run on nodes of the machine

The overlaid program was only 5 percent less effective than running Red Storm’s native, fixed programming. That figure, called overhead, represents the additional expense in time and efficiency of running the program in a virtualized environment.

“We believe the results show that the benefits of virtualization can be brought to even the largest computers in the world without performance compromises,” said Pedretti.

This would mean that researchers around the world should one day be able to run their own simulations on huge machines at remote sites without having to reconfigure their software to the machine’s specific hardware and software environment.

“Visualization technology provides a path for supporting a broader range of supercomputer applications, both for traditional scientific computing and for national security purposes,” says Pedretti.

The virtualization market in general is reported by industry magazines to be billions of dollars.

The work was funded for Sandia by its Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. Northwestern and UNM work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Neal Singer | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sandia.gov

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau

nachricht Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>