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December 16, 2013

XSEDE Distributing Tools to Help Researchers

Dec. 16 — Sharing national cyberinfrastructure and managing local campus resources just got easier. The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) announced today that it is releasing a new set of software resources. These tools are designed to allow campus system administrators to install current open-source XSEDE cluster software on their local campus or lab cluster.

XSEDE is a National Science Foundation-funded project that provides the infrastructure, support services and technical expertise researchers need to address some of today’s most complex and challenging research issues. When research grows bigger than what can be accomplished in the lab, XSEDE makes it easier for researchers to use larger systems – like powerful supercomputers Big Red II, Kraken, or any number of others across the nation – to get their research done.

There’s just one problem: The US has thousands of academic computing clusters, each with software setups that are very different from the supercomputing systems connected to XSEDE. This diversity makes it challenging for researchers to migrate their research from campus to national resources (and back) to best suit the nation’s pressing research needs.

XSEDE’s new tools, called the Basic XSEDE-Compatible Cluster Software Stack, offer a solution. The idea is that a command that works on an XSEDE cluster will work in a similar way—at least for the open-source software components of a cluster — on a local cluster set up with basic XSEDE-compatible capabilities. With the XSEDE cluster software stack, researchers and students need only learn a command once because that same command works in several places.

“The new software tools make everything easier: moving data, submitting jobs, sharing and collaborating, and learning and remembering the commands. The software tools are especially helpful for teachers, who can use existing materials and adapt and share them as needed, rather than inventing everything from scratch,” said Rich Knepper, manager of Campus Bridging and Research Infrastructure at IU and XSEDE’s campus bridging deputy manager.

XSEDE now offers the basic XSEDE-compatible cluster stack as individual downloadable modules (called RPMs) from a YUM repository. This allows a campus cluster administrator to add some or all of the tools in the basic XEDE-compatible cluster stack, and keep those tools up to date.

For more information, visit the repository at http://cb-repo.iu.xsede.org/xsederepo. See the repository’s readme file for instructions on each RPM. For assistance, contact XSEDE’s campus bridging help line at campusbridging@xsede.org or (812) 318-2872.

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Source: XSEDE