Resource Management in Seconds: The New Era for Virtual Organizations

By Pawel Plaszczak

September 8, 2009

A professor, an engineer, and a researcher who have never met before sit down to a conference dinner. One of them has a petabyte database of worldwide historical climate data. The second one owns a weather simulation engine over a cluster of a couple of thousand nodes. The third one has access to a real satellite. During conversation the question comes up: How precisely can we predict today’s weather front in Beijing, China? Let’s not waste time on discussion, but find out: they open their laptops to form an ad-hoc virtual organization to immediately share their assets. Historical data are then being fed to the simulation engine, and the results are compared to the real-time satellite feed. Within minutes, the answer is there for all to see.

Impossible? Possible. Today.

Complex HPC infrastructures, grids, collaboratories need to manage a plethora of distributed assets: data repositories, machines, applications and services. To share in a coordinated way, the HPC community invented virtual organizations (VOs): groups that share resources because they trust each other. VOs are the base concept of grid security, envisioned as highly dynamic, on-demand structures. People and processes can form and dissolve a VO at any moment, to run a project.

This concept isn’t new. It’s a decade-old, developed in the mid-90’s by Foster, Kesselman and Tuecke (The Anatomy of the Grid, 1995). Yet, how many ad-hoc VOs, formed on the fly at a conference table, have you seen since?

Common distributed security frameworks used for cross-institutional collaborations have not met this criteria. In various clones of the grid security implementation, often descending from the PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) model, virtual organizations have become static, heavy-weight, unusable structures, managed by multiple administrators. In the end, for an average user it wasn’t that simple to become part of one. Not to mention the idea of creating a VO yourself.

What happened to the original, brilliant and forward-thinking vision of a VO? It appears to me that we can’t see the forest through the trees. We might be hitting a moment when this changes.

What the HPC community has not noticed is that the concept of VOs is alive and flourishing in Web 2.0 services. In Flickr, users share pictures with others. No admin intervention is needed. In peer-2-peer services designed for sharing music, sharing is as simple as a mouse click. In T-Mobile’s Media center, and hundreds of similar services, one can upload their pics and define groups of friends to access these.

What went wrong with the robust multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research projects? Remember, grid’s mantra is “coordinated resource sharing”! Then why are commodity solutions more mature than grids? I tend to think that the root cause of the problem is not technology, but the philosophy. Web 2.0 says: give users the power to decide.

You may think that this is more difficult in research environments, because these assets are way more complex (and expensive) than those in the Web 2.0 world. True. But going back to the core of the problem, it does not make sense. I know my data. I know best whom I should share it with. I take responsibility for my data. Why should I involve an admin? Do they care more about the data than I do? If technical complexity of my assets are beyond my understanding — fine, let’s have a security expert decide. If, however, it is all about letting my project peer run an SQL query over my data, involving anyone but myself in permitting the action is just another hurdle that I should be free from.

And technologically, what’s missing? Actually, not much. Almost nothing. The distributed security frameworks, such as PKI, GSI and Shibboleth, are feature rich. This is good because they give a lot of options. They enable (but don’t support) dynamic sharing. What’s missing is the simplicity on top. A layer that ties together the loose ends provided by complex security software, and brings this up as a simple, intuitive end-user interface.

In fact, our company, GridwiseTech, recently announced such a product. AdHoc, version 1.1.0, is specifically designed to enable regular users (not administrators) to create a virtual organization on the fly and share their resources.

So the story of the professor, the engineer and the researcher is not only possible, but has already been tried out in a project we’re involved in that shares other types of data: medical patient records across multiple hospitals. Now we’re looking to work and partner with academic as well as commercial institutions that wish to adopt the concept of dynamic sharing of data, applications and machines.

About the Author

Pawel Plaszczak’s international software engineering experience includes work at CERN, British Telecommunications and Argonne National Laboratory. In 2003, Pawel founded GridwiseTech to lead pioneering work for the early adopters of scalable systems. Under Pawel’s leadership the company has won the trust and respect of customers including Turner Broadcasting, Ricoh, and Philips, and led numerous research efforts for international consortia. Pawel is the author of numerous articles and tutorials, the book “Grid Computing: The Savvy Manager’s Guide,” and a frequent speaker at professional conferences and events. Pawel blogs at BigDataMatters.com.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power

August 23, 2017

The glory of having the world's fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China's for four years running, first with the 33-petaflops Tianhe-2 and currently with the 93-petaflops TaihuLight. T Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft, Intel Unveil FPGA-driven Project Brainwave

August 23, 2017

We know about the seeming light-speed processing power of FPGAs and the natural fit they pose for data-dense AI workloads. But we also know that FPGAs present usability and programmability problems that flummox IT shops. Read more…

By Doug Black

Study Identifies Best Practices for Public-Private HPC Engagement

August 22, 2017

What's the best way for HPC centers in the public sphere to engage with private industry partners to boost the competitiveness of the companies and the larger communities? That question is at the heart of a new study pub Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Leveraging Deep Learning for Fraud Detection

Advancements in computing technologies and the expanding use of e-commerce platforms have dramatically increased the risk of fraud for financial services companies and their customers. Read more…

Google Launches Site to Share its NYC-based Algorithm Research

August 22, 2017

Much of Google’s algorithm development occurs in groups scattered throughout New York City. Yesterday, Google launched a single website - NYC Algorithms and Optimization Team page - to provide a deeper view into all of Read more…

By John Russell

China Plans 2019 Exascale Machine To Grow Sea Power

August 23, 2017

The glory of having the world's fastest supercomputer, as measured by the Linpack benchmark, has been China's for four years running, first with the 33-petaflop Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft, Intel Unveil FPGA-driven Project Brainwave

August 23, 2017

We know about the seeming light-speed processing power of FPGAs and the natural fit they pose for data-dense AI workloads. But we also know that FPGAs present u Read more…

By Doug Black

Study Identifies Best Practices for Public-Private HPC Engagement

August 22, 2017

What's the best way for HPC centers in the public sphere to engage with private industry partners to boost the competitiveness of the companies and the larger c Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tech Giants Outline Battle Plans for Future HPC Market

August 21, 2017

Four companies engaged in a cage fight for leadership in the emerging HPC market of the 2020s are, despite deep differences in some areas, in violent agreement Read more…

By Doug Black

Microsoft Bolsters Azure With Cloud HPC Deal

August 15, 2017

Microsoft has acquired cloud computing software vendor Cycle Computing in a move designed to bring orchestration tools along with high-end computing access capabilities to the cloud. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Read more…

By George Leopold

HPE Ships Supercomputer to Space Station, Final Destination Mars

August 14, 2017

With a manned mission to Mars on the horizon, the demand for space-based supercomputing is at hand. Today HPE and NASA sent the first off-the-shelf HPC system i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD EPYC Video Takes Aim at Intel’s Broadwell

August 14, 2017

Let the benchmarking begin. Last week, AMD posted a YouTube video in which one of its EPYC-based systems outperformed a ‘comparable’ Intel Broadwell-based s Read more…

By John Russell

Deep Learning Thrives in Cancer Moonshot

August 8, 2017

The U.S. War on Cancer, certainly a worthy cause, is a collection of programs stretching back more than 40 years and abiding under many banners. The latest is t Read more…

By John Russell

How ‘Knights Mill’ Gets Its Deep Learning Flops

June 22, 2017

Intel, the subject of much speculation regarding the delayed, rewritten or potentially canceled “Aurora” contract (the Argonne Lab part of the CORAL “ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Mammoth Volta GPU Aims High for AI, HPC

May 10, 2017

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference (GTC17) in San Jose, Calif., this morning, CEO Jensen Huang announced the company's much-anticipated Volta architecture a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Reinders: “AVX-512 May Be a Hidden Gem” in Intel Xeon Scalable Processors

June 29, 2017

Imagine if we could use vector processing on something other than just floating point problems.  Today, GPUs and CPUs work tirelessly to accelerate algorithms Read more…

By James Reinders

Russian Researchers Claim First Quantum-Safe Blockchain

May 25, 2017

The Russian Quantum Center today announced it has overcome the threat of quantum cryptography by creating the first quantum-safe blockchain, securing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, along with classified government communications and other sensitive digital transfers. Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Quantum Bits: D-Wave and VW; Google Quantum Lab; IBM Expands Access

March 21, 2017

For a technology that’s usually characterized as far off and in a distant galaxy, quantum computing has been steadily picking up steam. Just how close real-wo Read more…

By John Russell

Google Debuts TPU v2 and will Add to Google Cloud

May 25, 2017

Not long after stirring attention in the deep learning/AI community by revealing the details of its Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), Google last week announced the Read more…

By John Russell

Groq This: New AI Chips to Give GPUs a Run for Deep Learning Money

April 24, 2017

CPUs and GPUs, move over. Thanks to recent revelations surrounding Google’s new Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), the computing world appears to be on the cusp of Read more…

By Alex Woodie

Leading Solution Providers

HPC Compiler Company PathScale Seeks Life Raft

March 23, 2017

HPCwire has learned that HPC compiler company PathScale has fallen on difficult times and is asking the community for help or actively seeking a buyer for its a Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Six Exascale PathForward Vendors Selected; DoE Providing $258M

June 15, 2017

The much-anticipated PathForward awards for hardware R&D in support of the Exascale Computing Project were announced today with six vendors selected – AMD Read more…

By John Russell

Trump Budget Targets NIH, DOE, and EPA; No Mention of NSF

March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed U.S. fiscal 2018 budget issued today sharply cuts science spending while bolstering military spending as he promised during the cam Read more…

By John Russell

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

In this contributed perspective piece, Intel’s Jim Jeffers makes the case that CPU-based visualization is now widely adopted and as such is no longer a contrarian view, but is rather an exascale requirement. Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

Top500 Results: Latest List Trends and What’s in Store

June 19, 2017

Greetings from Frankfurt and the 2017 International Supercomputing Conference where the latest Top500 list has just been revealed. Although there were no major Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Clears Path to 5nm with Silicon Nanosheets

June 5, 2017

Two years since announcing the industry’s first 7nm node test chip, IBM and its research alliance partners GlobalFoundries and Samsung have developed a proces Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphcore Readies Launch of 16nm Colossus-IPU Chip

July 20, 2017

A second $30 million funding round for U.K. AI chip developer Graphcore sets up the company to go to market with its “intelligent processing unit” (IPU) in Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Singularity HPC Container Technology Moves Out of the Lab

May 4, 2017

Last week, Singularity – the fast-growing HPC container technology whose development has been spearheaded by Gregory Kurtzer at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This