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 Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Researchers 3-D print first truly microfluidic 'lab on a chipl devices
15.08.2017 | Brigham Young University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Climate change: In their old age, trees still accumulate large quantities of carbon

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related

17.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Superconductivity research reveals potential new state of matter

17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>