Clouds Above Calabria: HPC and Cloud Computing at the Cetraro Workshop

By Wolfgang Gentzsch

July 4, 2010

Just over a week ago, the International Advanced Research Workshop on High Performance Computing, Grids and Clouds took place in Cetraro, Italy, in the beautiful setting of Hotel San Michele, high up on the cliffs of the Calabria coast. The aim of the workshop was to discuss future developments in HPC technologies and to assess the main aspects of grids and clouds, with special emphasis on solutions to grid  and cloud computing deployment.

The biannual event started as a NATO-sponsored workshop in 1992 and is now in its  tenth incarnation, successfully organized by Professor Lucio Grandinetti and his team from the University of Calabria in Rende. The workshop attracted 110 experts in high performance computing, grids and clouds, and the list of participants reads like the who-is-who in these fields: among many others, Marian Bubak, Charlie Catlett, Ian Foster, Guang Gao, Chris Jesshope, Peter Kacsuk, Carl Kesselman, Thomas Lippert, Miron Livny, Ignacio Llorente, Satoshi Matsuoka, Tim Mattson, Paul Messina, Ken Miura, Satoshi Sekiguchi, and many other international leaders from academia, government, and industry. To give an overview of what appear to be some of the most pertinent issues in the space now, I will briefly describe those presentations which focused on cloud computing, showing what the community is talking about at events like this one.

Clouds forming over the conference center in ItalyWhen the workshop started, heavy clouds began to cover the blue sky of Calabria. The first Cloud came from Ian Foster when in his keynote he talked about how cloud services can make us smarter. “The outsourcing of computing via approaches such as utility computing, on-demand computing, grid computing, software as a service, and cloud computing can enhance human capabilities, by freeing computer applications from the limiting confines of a single computer”. Software that thus runs “outside the box” can be more powerful, dynamic, and collaborative. It can also be cheaper, due to economies of scale in hardware and software. Simultaneously, service-oriented architectures make it easier to integrate data and software from many sources. The combination of new functionality and new economics inspires new applications, reduces barriers to entry for application providers, and in general disrupts the computing ecosystem.

Then, more clouds accumulated. Jose Fortes presented cross-cloud computing which enables complex IT systems and applications with components as services from different clouds. One of the engineering challenges of combined clouds is communication across clouds. Jose explained how to engineer a combined cloud for providing BLAST-computing as a service using a lightweight overlay networking approach, Nimbus middleware for deployment of virtual BLAST appliances and Hadoop for fault-tolerant parallel execution of multiple BLAST jobs. This system has been deployed across clouds at three FutureGrid sites in the US and two Grid5000 sites in Europe, demonstrating feasibility, scalability and manageability of sky-computing middleware. Jose also put forward the idea of virtual clouds, i.e., providers of computing services overlaid on more than one cloud. A virtual cloud spans across multiple cloud providers with the view of a single logical cloud. Virtual clouds enable high-level computing services to be provided by third-parties who do not own physical resources.

Ignacio Llorente described the innovations in cloud management brought by the OpenNebula Cloud Toolkit. This widely used open-source cloud manager fits into existing data centers to build private, public and hybrid  Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. Most of its innovative features have been developed to address requirements from business use cases in RESERVOIR, flagship of European research initiatives in virtualized infrastructures and cloud computing. The innovations comprise support for elastic multi-tier services; flexible and scalable back-end for virtualization, storage and networking management; and support for cloud federation and interoperability. Finally, Ignacio introduced the community and ecosystem that are evolving around OpenNebula and the new European projects on cloud computing infrastructures that are using this innovative cloud technology.

Marcel Kunze presented the OpenCirrus Project, a collaboration of industrial and academic organizations: HP, Intel, Yahoo!, CMU, ETRI, IDA Singapore, KIT, MIMOS, RAS and UIUC. OpenCirrus is an open cloud-computing research testbed designed to support research into the design, provisioning, and management of services at a global, multi-datacenter scale. The open nature of the testbed aims to encourage research into all aspects of service and datacenter management. In addition, the hope is to foster a collaborative community around the testbed, providing ways to share tools, lessons and best practices, and ways to benchmark and compare alternative approaches to service management at datacenter scale. The specific research interests of KIT are in the field of HPC as a Service (HPCaaS) and Big Data as a Service (BDaaS).

Matt Wood described how to orchestrate the cloud for High Performance Elastic Computing. As scale increases so network, disk I/O, CPU performance and utilization all become larger and larger barriers to actually getting work done. Matt introduced the use of elastic, scalable cloud approaches as a set of productivity tools for constrained, highly flexible domains. He explored how cloud computing can play a central part in the orchestration, management and monitoring of scalable computation at petascale. The topics he covered were, among others, the productivity tax of web scale applications; hard constraints of big data: maintaining availability at scale; architectures and models for high throughput systems; addressing data as a programmable resource; orchestrating cloud architectures; managing data sets and workflows; and Map/reduce for elastic infrastructures.

Manoj Devare reported on a prototype implementation of desktop clouds which provides the virtual infrastructure manager and scheduling framework to leverage the idle resource(s) of a network of PCs. VirtualBox hypervisor is used as the best suited virtualization technology for this work. He discussed the architecture and the scheduling approach to launch a computation abstracted as a virtual machine or a virtual cluster. The scheduling framework balances both the requirements of resource providers (PC owners), and of the users of the cloud system who expect the best performance.

Finally, Mathias Dalheimer stated that “for many enterprises cloud computing for HPC is a viable option.” When considering this, enterprises must be very careful: not every application can run in the cloud effectively. Another problem is the seamless integration of external resources in the internal infrastructure of the enterprise. His talk demonstrated an approach to combine internal and external resources while optimizing runtime performance using auto-parallelization during job execution.

In addition, over 40 invited presentations dealt with non-cloud topics such as petaflops and exaflops computing; emerging computer architectures and their performance;  green computing; languages, compilers, tool and programming models for parallel and multi-core systems; distributed systems and algorithms; hybrid CPU + GPU computing; innovative applications in science and industry; and scheduling, service level agreements, policy management, security, reliability, accountability, and the resolution of barriers, in grid and cloud computing.

This workshop again demonstrated its constant high quality of expert contributions, plenty of time for communication during the extensive lunch and dinner breaks, its perfect organization, and its breathtaking settings in one of the most beautiful places you can imagine, overshadowed only by a few clouds. Presentation slides of the HPC Workshop are available on the conference website http://www.hpcc.unical.it/hpc2010/prsnts.htm.

Wolfgang Gentzsch is Advisor to the EU project Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications (DEISA), a member of the Board of Directors of the Open Grid Forum, and a contributing editor to HPC in the Cloud.

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!

Geospatial Data Research Leverages GPUs

August 17, 2017

MapD Technologies, the GPU-accelerated database specialist, said it is working with university researchers on leveraging graphics processors to advance geospatial analytics. The San Francisco-based company is collabor Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel, NERSC and University Partners Launch New Big Data Center

August 17, 2017

A collaboration between the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), Intel and five Intel Parallel Computing Centers (IPCCs) has resulted in a new Big Data Center (BDC) that Read more…

By Linda Barney

Google Releases Deeplearn.js to Further Democratize Machine Learning

August 17, 2017

Spreading the use of machine learning tools is one of the goals of Google’s PAIR (People + AI Research) initiative, which was introduced in early July. Last week the cloud giant released deeplearn.js as part of that in Read more…

By John Russell

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…

Spoiler Alert: Glimpse Next Week’s Solar Eclipse Via Simulation from TACC, SDSC, and NASA

August 17, 2017

Can’t wait to see next week’s solar eclipse? You can at least catch glimpses of what scientists expect it will look like. A team from Predictive Science Inc. (PSI), based in San Diego, working with Stampede2 at the Read more…

By John Russell

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

IBM Raises the Bar for Distributed Deep Learning

August 8, 2017

IBM is announcing today an enhancement to its PowerAI software platform aimed at facilitating the practical scaling of AI models on today’s fastest GPUs. Scal Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IBM Storage Breakthrough Paves Way for 330TB Tape Cartridges

August 3, 2017

IBM announced yesterday a new record for magnetic tape storage that it says will keep tape storage density on a Moore's law-like path far into the next decade. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Stuffs a Petaflops of Machine Intelligence into 20-Node Rack

August 1, 2017

With its Radeon “Vega” Instinct datacenter GPUs and EPYC “Naples” server chips entering the market this summer, AMD has positioned itself for a two-head Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line

July 28, 2017

This week Cray announced that it is picking up Seagate's ClusterStor HPC storage array business for an undisclosed sum. "In short we're effectively transitioning the bulk of the ClusterStor product line to Cray," said CEO Peter Ungaro. 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leading Solution Providers

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

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

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

MIT Mathematician Spins Up 220,000-Core Google Compute Cluster

April 21, 2017

On Thursday, Google announced that MIT math professor and computational number theorist Andrew V. Sutherland had set a record for the largest Google Compute Engine (GCE) job. Sutherland ran the massive mathematics workload on 220,000 GCE cores using preemptible virtual machine instances. 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

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

Messina Update: The US Path to Exascale in 16 Slides

April 26, 2017

Paul Messina, director of the U.S. Exascale Computing Project, provided a wide-ranging review of ECP’s evolving plans last week at the HPC User Forum. Read more…

By John Russell

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