Globus and Grid: Blazing Trails for Future Discovery

By Elizabeth Leake

September 13, 2012

The discovery of the Higgs boson is a major scientific achievement, the culmination of 48 years of dedicated effort by the global High Energy Physics (HEP) community.

The hunt for the elusive particle began in 1964 when theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, and others, described the mechanism that would explain the origin of mass. It took many years for the theory to be accepted by the HEP community, and then useful technology was developed, on many fronts, which accelerated the process of discovery.

Of course, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) played a pivotal role in the discovery, but the introduction of grid-enabled computing was really the key to their success.

The roots for grid go back to the Supercomputing ’95 Conference in San Diego, California. At the event, a team led by Ian Foster (from Argonne National Laboratory and University of Chicago, US) demonstrated the successful execution of a number of applications running over 17 geographically distributed sites participating in the I-Way experiment. The project used middleware called I-Soft that would later, in collaboration with Carl Kesselman and his colleagues at the University of Southern California, US, become Globus Toolkit.

In the US, Globus Toolkit continues to provide homogeneity, with eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), Open Science Grid (OSG), and many other projects depending on it. In Europe, several countries and domains embraced the concept, and since 1996, additional middleware varieties have been funded and developed for specific applications. But with projects hitting up against four-to-five-year funding cycles, some have fallen by the wayside. Still enough have survived that navigating the disparate middleware presents challenges, especially in regard to global collaboration, and federated e-Infrastructures have found that heterogeneity is difficult to sustain in terms of development and funding. This is probably why the number of prevailing options in Europe dropped from five in 2007, to four in 2011, among them gLite, ARC, Globus Toolkit and UNICORE – with UNICORE being the only one that does not include Globus components. Of the four, only Globus Toolkit and UNICORE are common to PRACE and EGI and have the ability to bridge the e-Infrastructures by offering a common interface to the user. In the US, OSG continues to depend heavily on both Globus Toolkit and Condor Project software as well as community-developed software for handling its massive amounts of data and jobs.

In late 2002, the HEP community formed a coordinated effort known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) Computing Grid, or LCG, which leveraged LCG-2 middleware. This would become their high-throughput highway to the LHC at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) near Geneva, sited between Switzerland and France. LCG involved high-throughput distributed resources from the OSG in the US and Europe’s Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE, which became European Grid Infrastructure, EGI, in 2010). There were four major experiments at CERN, but the ATLAS and CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) projects were launched to cross-check and verify Higgs boson findings.

ATLAS and CMS each represent a vast multinational collaboration of more than 3,000 physicists from 41 countries and 179 institutes, with some overlap. They built upon research by many projects which leveraged the Large Electron Positron (predated LHC at CERN); the US Department of Energy’s Tevatron Collider at Fermilab; and the Stanford (University-US) Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). In 2010, high energy capability was introduced to the LHC (first operational in 2008). That’s when the HEP community finally had what they needed to prove Higgs’ theory on the 4th of July, 2012. EGI Deputy Director Catherine Gater chronicled the five years leading up to the discovery in an International Science Grid This Week (iSGTW) feature.

While the global HEP community was first to embrace grid technologies to this extreme, today research teams from all arenas span the globe in pursuit of life-transforming discoveries. Their workflows include a variety of resources and leverage advanced networks to engage the high-throughput systems represented by EGI and OSG, plus high-performance supercomputers (HPC), storage, visualization resources, and expertise offered by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) and the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) in the US. To facilitate this diversity, XSEDE includes access to OSG as a supported resource allocation request. There is also a joint process that allows EU-US collaborative teams to submit unified requests for allocations of PRACE and XSEDE resources (the 2012 deadline is September 15, 2012).

Last spring’s EGI Community Forum in Munich, Germany, was co-located with the Initiative for Globus in Europe’s (IGE) annual user conference, and the European Globus Community Forum (EGCF). During the conference, IGE signed a memorandum of understanding with the European Middleware Initiative (EMI), a close collaboration of Europe’s major middleware providers. IGE and EMI deliver middleware components for deployment by European e-Infrastructure providers that facilitate multinational collaboration. Through IGE and EMI’s relationship with EGI, a quality assurance process was established to specify requirements, test, solicit feedback, and apply lessons learned in an effort to continuously improve EGI’s offerings.

EMI is a three-year project that engages European users and global infrastructure providers to assess specific needs, identify redundancies, and develop a collection of consolidated and harmonious software components. Deliverables include three major releases and subsequent minor revisions, as necessary. Each set is designed to comply with open-source guidelines and to integrate with Europe’s mainstream operating systems. Major releases include Kebnekaise (EMI-1, 12 May, 2011); Matterhorn (EMI-2, May 21, 2012); and Monte Bianco (EMI-3, February 28, 2013).

Although many consider the Globus Toolkit to be US software, it is open source and its developer and user communities include many Europeans who recognize its value. On October 25, 2010, IGE’s roadmap was presented by Steve Crouch (UK-University of Southampton) and Helmut Heller (Germany-LRZ) at the first EGI Technical Forum in Amsterdam. At that time, EGI’s Unified Middleware Distribution (UMD) officially recognized IGE as a technology provider. Their plan included timelines for the integration of resources by European e-Infrastructure providers, including EGI, PRACE, and EU-IndiaGrid2.

Globus Toolkit has been widely used in Germany since their D-Grid initiative began in 2005. The Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) in Munich installed it on its supercomputers in 2002. Europe’s fastest computer, the SuperMUC, became operational at the LRZ in August this year. SuperMUC and LRZ are committed to serve IGE-supported middleware and will most likely be driving forces for future development and use of Globus Toolkit by Europe’s scientific community.

Globus Online Software-as-a-service

At the GlobusWORLD 2012 conference in Chicago last April, Foster (Globus Project co-founder) quoted the late Steve Jobs (Apple) who said “Start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.” Applying this philosophy and a commitment to continuous improvement, Foster and the Globus team recently launched a new effort that leverages cloud technologies to develop the Globus Online software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. With hosted, professionally-operated services, and intuitive Web 2.0 interfaces, Globus Online aims to increase usability and functionality dramatically relative to past grid software. The SaaS model streamlines the process of delivering new features and enables the service’s capabilities to be rapidly refined based on early user feedback. When EU countries add the Globus Toolkit (in particular, GridFTP and MyProxy servers) to their middleware stack, they can take advantage of Globus Online services without requiring additional software.

From left: Steve Tuecke (Globus Online, UChicago/Argonne) and IGE Program Director Helmut Heller (LRZ) at the 2011 EGI Technical Forum in Lyon, France

From left: Steve Tuecke (Globus Online, UChicago/Argonne) and IGE Program Director Helmut Heller (LRZ) at the 2011 EGI Technical Forum in Lyon, France

At the March IGE meeting, the University of Chicago’s Steve Tuecke, Globus Online co-founder, presented its capabilities and anticipated future development with European interoperability in mind. Globus Online’s features for high performance, secure file transfer were recently integrated with the ATLAS PanDA workload management system and it is in the testing phase. An upcoming Globus service that simplifies big-data storage and sharing could substantially enhance how the HEP community manages the massive amounts of data generated by the LHC and the new subatomic field of physics research launched by the Higgs boson discovery. Future development will target additional services to offer a comprehensive research data management solution delivered using SaaS approaches.

Of course, the biggest challenge faced by multinational collaborations is satisfying the security and privacy policies of every institution, government, and network along the way. Globus Online incorporates Globus Nexus, a service that manages user identities, including profiles, groups, and information about resources connected to the Globus research cloud. Like all Globus services, the Globus Nexus features may be accessed via a Web browser, command line, and a REST-ful programming interface that enables organizations to better integrate Globus services into their infrastructure.

The EGI Technical Forum 2012 takes place next week, from September 17-21, in Prague, Czech Republic, at the Clarion Congress Hotel. GlobusEUROPE 2012 is co-located and scheduled for Monday, September 17. The event is hosted by EGI.eu in partnership with CESNET, the consortium of Czech universities and the Czech Academy of Sciences that represents the country in the EGI Council. HPC in the Cloud is covering the event live, so check back for more coverage soon.

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!

Advancing Modular Supercomputing with DEEP and DEEP-ER Architectures

February 24, 2017

Knowing that the jump to exascale will require novel architectural approaches capable of delivering dramatic efficiency and performance gains, researchers around the world are hard at work on next-generation HPC systems. Read more…

By Sean Thielen

Weekly Twitter Roundup (Feb. 23, 2017)

February 23, 2017

Here at HPCwire, we aim to keep the HPC community apprised of the most relevant and interesting news items that get tweeted throughout the week. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

HPE Server Shows Low Latency on STAC-N1 Test

February 22, 2017

The performance of trade and match servers can be a critical differentiator for financial trading houses. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Financial Update (Feb. 2017)

February 22, 2017

In this recurring feature, we’ll provide you with financial highlights from companies in the HPC industry. Check back in regularly for an updated list with the most pertinent fiscal information. Read more…

By Thomas Ayres

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Manufacturers Reaping the Benefits of Remote Visualization

Today’s manufacturers are operating in an ever-changing atmosphere, and finding new ways to boost productivity has never been more vital.

This is why manufacturers are ramping up their investments in high performance computing (HPC), a trend which has helped give rise to the “connected factory” and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts that are proliferating throughout the industry today. Read more…

Rethinking HPC Platforms for ‘Second Gen’ Applications

February 22, 2017

Just what constitutes HPC and how best to support it is a keen topic currently. Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

ExxonMobil, NCSA, Cray Scale Reservoir Simulation to 700,000+ Processors

February 17, 2017

In a scaling breakthrough for oil and gas discovery, ExxonMobil geoscientists report they have harnessed the power of 717,000 processors – the equivalent of 22,000 32-processor computers – to run complex oil and gas reservoir simulation models. Read more…

By Doug Black

Advancing Modular Supercomputing with DEEP and DEEP-ER Architectures

February 24, 2017

Knowing that the jump to exascale will require novel architectural approaches capable of delivering dramatic efficiency and performance gains, researchers around the world are hard at work on next-generation HPC systems. Read more…

By Sean Thielen

HPC Technique Propels Deep Learning at Scale

February 21, 2017

Researchers from Baidu’s Silicon Valley AI Lab (SVAIL) have adapted a well-known HPC communication technique to boost the speed and scale of their neural network training and now they are sharing their implementation with the larger deep learning community. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDC: Will the Real Exascale Race Please Stand Up?

February 21, 2017

So the exascale race is on. And lots of organizations are in the pack. Government announcements from the US, China, India, Japan, and the EU indicate that they are working hard to make it happen – some sooner, some later. Read more…

By Bob Sorensen, IDC

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Drug Developers Use Google Cloud HPC in the Fight Against ALS

February 16, 2017

Within the haystack of a lethal disease such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / Lou Gehrig’s Disease) there exists, somewhere, the needle that will pierce this therapy-resistant affliction. Read more…

By Doug Black

Azure Edges AWS in Linpack Benchmark Study

February 15, 2017

The “when will clouds be ready for HPC” question has ebbed and flowed for years. Read more…

By John Russell

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

For IBM/OpenPOWER: Success in 2017 = (Volume) Sales

January 11, 2017

To a large degree IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation have done what they said they would – assembling a substantial and growing ecosystem and bringing Power-based products to market, all in about three years. Read more…

By John Russell

US, China Vie for Supercomputing Supremacy

November 14, 2016

The 48th edition of the TOP500 list is fresh off the presses and while there is no new number one system, as previously teased by China, there are a number of notable entrants from the US and around the world and significant trends to report on. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lighting up Aurora: Behind the Scenes at the Creation of the DOE’s Upcoming 200 Petaflops Supercomputer

December 1, 2016

In April 2015, U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary Franklin Orr announced that Intel would be the prime contractor for Aurora: Read more…

By Jan Rowell

D-Wave SC16 Update: What’s Bo Ewald Saying These Days

November 18, 2016

Tucked in a back section of the SC16 exhibit hall, quantum computing pioneer D-Wave has been talking up its new 2000-qubit processor announced in September. Forget for a moment the criticism sometimes aimed at D-Wave. This small Canadian company has sold several machines including, for example, ones to Lockheed and NASA, and has worked with Google on mapping machine learning problems to quantum computing. In July Los Alamos National Laboratory took possession of a 1000-quibit D-Wave 2X system that LANL ordered a year ago around the time of SC15. Read more…

By John Russell

Enlisting Deep Learning in the War on Cancer

December 7, 2016

Sometime in Q2 2017 the first ‘results’ of the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) will become publicly available according to Rick Stevens. He leads one of three JDACS4C pilot projects pressing deep learning (DL) into service in the War on Cancer. Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Wants to be “Red Hat” of Deep Learning

January 26, 2017

IBM today announced the addition of TensorFlow and Chainer deep learning frameworks to its PowerAI suite of deep learning tools, which already includes popular offerings such as Caffe, Theano, and Torch. Read more…

By John Russell

Tokyo Tech’s TSUBAME3.0 Will Be First HPE-SGI Super

February 16, 2017

In a press event Friday afternoon local time in Japan, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) announced its plans for the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer, which will be Japan’s “fastest AI supercomputer,” Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Startup Advances Auto-Parallelization’s Promise

January 23, 2017

The shift from single core to multicore hardware has made finding parallelism in codes more important than ever, but that hasn’t made the task of parallel programming any easier. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

CPU Benchmarking: Haswell Versus POWER8

June 2, 2015

With OpenPOWER activity ramping up and IBM’s prominent role in the upcoming DOE machines Summit and Sierra, it’s a good time to look at how the IBM POWER CPU stacks up against the x86 Xeon Haswell CPU from Intel. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

BioTeam’s Berman Charts 2017 HPC Trends in Life Sciences

January 4, 2017

Twenty years ago high performance computing was nearly absent from life sciences. Today it’s used throughout life sciences and biomedical research. Genomics and the data deluge from modern lab instruments are the main drivers, but so is the longer-term desire to perform predictive simulation in support of Precision Medicine (PM). There’s even a specialized life sciences supercomputer, ‘Anton’ from D.E. Shaw Research, and the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is standing up its second Anton 2 and actively soliciting project proposals. There’s a lot going on. Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia Sees Bright Future for AI Supercomputing

November 23, 2016

Graphics chipmaker Nvidia made a strong showing at SC16 in Salt Lake City last week. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TSUBAME3.0 Points to Future HPE Pascal-NVLink-OPA Server

February 17, 2017

Since our initial coverage of the TSUBAME3.0 supercomputer yesterday, more details have come to light on this innovative project. Of particular interest is a new board design for NVLink-equipped Pascal P100 GPUs that will create another entrant to the space currently occupied by Nvidia's DGX-1 system, IBM's "Minsky" platform and the Supermicro SuperServer (1028GQ-TXR). Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

IDG to Be Bought by Chinese Investors; IDC to Spin Out HPC Group

January 19, 2017

US-based publishing and investment firm International Data Group, Inc. (IDG) will be acquired by a pair of Chinese investors, China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co., Ltd. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Dell Knights Landing Machine Sets New STAC Records

November 2, 2016

The Securities Technology Analysis Center, commonly known as STAC, has released a new report characterizing the performance of the Knight Landing-based Dell PowerEdge C6320p server on the STAC-A2 benchmarking suite, widely used by the financial services industry to test and evaluate computing platforms. The Dell machine has set new records for both the baseline Greeks benchmark and the large Greeks benchmark. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Is Liquid Cooling Ready to Go Mainstream?

February 13, 2017

Lost in the frenzy of SC16 was a substantial rise in the number of vendors showing server oriented liquid cooling technologies. Three decades ago liquid cooling was pretty much the exclusive realm of the Cray-2 and IBM mainframe class products. That’s changing. We are now seeing an emergence of x86 class server products with exotic plumbing technology ranging from Direct-to-Chip to servers and storage completely immersed in a dielectric fluid. Read more…

By Steve Campbell

What Knights Landing Is Not

June 18, 2016

As we get ready to launch the newest member of the Intel Xeon Phi family, code named Knights Landing, it is natural that there be some questions and potentially some confusion. Read more…

By James Reinders, Intel

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