Student Projects Highlight Cloud’s Potential

By Jose Luis Vazquez-Poletti

January 4, 2013

If ideas are what will help students to survive outside the classroom, creative use of technologies like cloud computing will help them to change the world.

We at universities are not only engaged in research but also take a great responsibility shaping the next generations or even better, provide them with the tools to shape their own futures.

The Master Thesis project is an important stage in which students tackle a specific problem and do so using all available technologies and methodologies learned during their studies.

One of the best features of cloud computing is its high accessibility. In this way, it opens up a world of research possibilities and engenders a fast learning process, allowing the students to develop in a reasonable time projects like the ones that were outlined one year ago and those shown in the present article.

This time the effects of the financial crisis turned to be the center of gravity of this year’s Master Thesis projects, which are always proposed by the students themselves.

CygnusCloud (2012-2013, ongoing)

The three members of the CygnusCloud team (named in honor of the swam of Complutense University coat of arms) observed that many computational resources of the computer labs spread across the UCM campus were underutilized. On the other hand, computers from our faculty labs are often insufficient to meet the demand.


CygnusCloud Team: Adrian Fernandez, Samuel Guayerbas and Luis Barrios at one the UCM computer labs.

Turning each campus PC into a Computer Science lab computer would be one way to increase overall computing power, but in reality this isn’t a workable solution given the multitude of software requirements and subsequent administrative overhead this would create.

This project then aims to provide virtual lab machines that can be accessed from any available campus PC in which the both hardware and software requirements are minimal.

An on-demand and centralized distribution of these services like that proposed by CygnusCloud reduces the effects of budget cuts in education as students could use cheaper computers with less energy consumption. The proposed solution increases the academic progress as it optimizes the use of non-specialized computer labs and reduces costs as it relies totally on open source software.


Diagram showing CygnusCloud functionalities.

This academic year, our university reached an agreement with Google for outsourcing the e-mail services. Also, all campus members are provided with a Google Drive account. This will be exploited by CygnusCloud as it allows data ubiquity.

Moreover, the CygnusCloud team is one of the 85 participating at the Spanish Open-Source University Contest.

Next >> SmartCloud

SmartCloud (2012-2013, ongoing)

This project is focused on getting the most value out of existing infrastructure, as well as providing a service to UCM researchers or any member of an academic environment.


SmartCloud Team: César Cayo, Javier Bachrachas and Ailyn Baltá at the Monument to the Spanish Constitution at Madrid.

The main idea is to host virtual machines on computers in a LAN that aren’t currently in use. These machines don’t need to reside in a computer laboratory. Users from the administrative staff also qualify to be in the SmartCloud resource pool.

These machines could handle several guest types, which would serve as processing nodes inside a computing cluster or even separate machines for interactive access. One of the approaches is to rely on iPython for providing the researchers access to a powerful Matlab-style web notebook, which would be linked to their Google Drive accounts, sharing their data easily.


Diagram showing SmartCloud functionalities.

All technologies used in this project are open source and the outcome will represent a direct save for the adopting institution when it comes to licenses and hardware.

Both CygnusCloud and SmartCloud Master Thesis projects are co-advised by my colleague Dr. Jose Antonio Martin H., who is a Python expert and whose research interests are mainly Soft-Computing and Computational Intelligence. Indeed, this collaboration has increased the interdisciplinary nature and the quality of the solutions provided.

HORADRIM (2012-2013, ongoing)

Only one member comprises the team behind this project because he was my student at our Master in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, which was rated as the best in its area for Spain last year.

This student is currently working at Sistemas Genómicos, an SME offering genetic analysis and bioinformatic services. He saw that this company had a limited computing environment due to the high demand of running applications. Unfortunately, this demand is not continuous and in the current economic situation scaling through the purchase of new equipment was not a valid option.


HORADRIM: Guillermo Marco at Sistemas Genómicos Datacenter

As cloud computing allows among other things the providing of resources on demand – pay only for what you use – he saw a great opportunity when his employer signed a partnership with T-Systems.


Diagram showing HORADRIM functionalities.

The first objective of the project is to implement a computing prototype that will expand the local cluster infrastructure into the cloud. The second objective is to calculate both economic and computational costs of certain bioinformatic applications in the cloud, in order to maximize the efficiency of the chosen cloud configuration.

Our best asset

Students are our best asset right now. The more we invest in them, the more we get in return. The next generation is aware of the harsh times we are currently living and they are willing “to lift a cloud.” We only have to give them an opportunity!

The three projects I have described are very representative because they affect three different areas affected by the financial crisis (teaching, research and SMEs). A feasible solution exists thanks to cloud computing and open source tools. If students can produce these ideas in just one academic year, what could they do over their academic careers and beyond!

If you are curious about past student projects, feel free to visit http://dsa-research.org/jlvazquez/students/.

About the Author

Dr. Jose Luis Vazquez-Poletti is Assistant Professor in Computer Architecture at Complutense University of Madrid (UCM, Spain), and a Cloud Computing Researcher at the Distributed Systems Architecture Research Group. He is (and has been) directly involved in EU funded projects, such as EGEE (grid computing) and 4CaaSt (PaaS Cloud), as well as many Spanish national initiatives.

From 2005 to 2009 his research focused in application porting onto grid computing infrastructures, activity that let him be “where the real action was.” These applications pertained to a wide range of areas, from fusion physics to bioinformatics. During this period he achieved the abilities needed for profiling applications and making them benefit of distributed computing infrastructures. Additionally, he shared these abilities in many training events organized within the EGEE Project and similar initiatives.

Since 2010 his research interests lie in different aspects of cloud computing, but always having real life applications in mind, especially those pertaining to the high Performance computing domain.

Website: http://dsa-research.org/jlvazquez/

Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jlvazquezpoletti/

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!

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hedge Funds (with Supercomputing help) Rank First Among Investors

May 22, 2017

In case you didn’t know, The Quants Run Wall Street Now, or so says a headline in today’s Wall Street Journal. Quant-run hedge funds now control the largest Read more…

By John Russell

IBM, D-Wave Report Quantum Computing Advances

May 18, 2017

IBM said this week it has built and tested a pair of quantum computing processors, including a prototype of a commercial version. That progress follows an an Read more…

By George Leopold

PRACEdays 2017 Wraps Up in Barcelona

May 18, 2017

Barcelona has been absolutely lovely; the weather, the food, the people. I am, sadly, finishing my last day at PRACEdays 2017 with two sessions: an in-depth loo Read more…

By Kim McMahon

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Exploring the Three Models of Remote Visualization

The explosion of data and advancement of digital technologies are dramatically changing the way many companies do business. With the help of high performance computing (HPC) solutions and data analytics platforms, manufacturers are developing products faster, healthcare providers are improving patient care, and energy companies are improving planning, exploration, and production. Read more…

US, Europe, Japan Deepen Research Computing Partnership

May 18, 2017

On May 17, 2017, a ceremony was held during the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona to announce the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between PRACE in Europe Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

NSF, IARPA, and SRC Push into “Semiconductor Synthetic Biology” Computing

May 18, 2017

Research into how biological systems might be fashioned into computational technology has a long history with various DNA-based computing approaches explored. N Read more…

By John Russell

DOE’s HPC4Mfg Leads to Paper Manufacturing Improvement

May 17, 2017

Papermaking ranks third behind only petroleum refining and chemical production in terms of energy consumption. Recently, simulations made possible by the U.S. D Read more…

By John Russell

PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

May 17, 2017

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a Read more…

By Kim McMahon

Exascale Escapes 2018 Budget Axe; Rest of Science Suffers

May 23, 2017

President Trump's proposed $4.1 trillion FY 2018 budget is good for U.S. exascale computing development, but grim for the rest of science and technology spend Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray Offers Supercomputing as a Service, Targets Biotechs First

May 16, 2017

Leading supercomputer vendor Cray and datacenter/cloud provider the Markley Group today announced plans to jointly deliver supercomputing as a service. The init Read more…

By John Russell

HPE’s Memory-centric The Machine Coming into View, Opens ARMs to 3rd-party Developers

May 16, 2017

Announced three years ago, HPE’s The Machine is said to be the largest R&D program in the venerable company’s history, one that could be progressing tow Read more…

By Doug Black

What’s Up with Hyperion as It Transitions From IDC?

May 15, 2017

If you’re wondering what’s happening with Hyperion Research – formerly the IDC HPC group – apparently you are not alone, says Steve Conway, now senior V Read more…

By John Russell

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

HPE Launches Servers, Services, and Collaboration at GTC

May 10, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today launched a new liquid cooled GPU-driven Apollo platform based on SGI ICE architecture, a new collaboration with NVIDIA, a Read more…

By John Russell

IBM PowerAI Tools Aim to Ease Deep Learning Data Prep, Shorten Training 

May 10, 2017

A new set of GPU-powered AI software announced by IBM today brings automation to many of the tedious, time consuming and complex aspects of AI project on-rampin Read more…

By Doug Black

Bright Computing 8.0 Adds Azure, Expands Machine Learning Support

May 9, 2017

Bright Computing, long a prominent provider of cluster management tools for HPC, today released version 8.0 of Bright Cluster Manager and Bright OpenStack. The Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

Google Pulls Back the Covers on Its First Machine Learning Chip

April 6, 2017

This week Google released a report detailing the design and performance characteristics of the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), its custom ASIC for the inference Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Last week, Google reported that its custom ASIC Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) was 15-30x faster for inferencing workloads than Nvidia's K80 GPU (see our coverage Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CPU-based Visualization Positions for Exascale Supercomputing

March 16, 2017

Since our first formal product releases of OSPRay and OpenSWR libraries in 2016, CPU-based Software Defined Visualization (SDVis) has achieved wide-spread adopt Read more…

By Jim Jeffers, Principal Engineer and Engineering Leader, Intel

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 ne Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Facebook Open Sources Caffe2; Nvidia, Intel Rush to Optimize

April 18, 2017

From its F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif., today, Facebook announced Caffe2, a new open-source, cross-platform framework for deep learning. Caffe2 is Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

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

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 w 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 Read more…

By Steve Campbell

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 Eng Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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 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 networ Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Supercomputing Leaders Tackle the China Question

March 15, 2017

As China continues to prove its supercomputing mettle via the Top500 list and the forward march of its ambitious plans to stand up an exascale machine by 2020, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

DOE Supercomputer Achieves Record 45-Qubit Quantum Simulation

April 13, 2017

In order to simulate larger and larger quantum systems and usher in an age of "quantum supremacy," researchers are stretching the limits of today's most advance Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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