HPCE2 JRA2 activity description
In the first HPC-Europa project, the experience with regards to application needs was that
most applicants had no or little knowledge in High Performance Computing (HPC) environments.
This can be shown by many of their codes that did not satisfy the
requirements of a specific environment at the TA centre (e.g. queuing systems,
libraries, environment). In some cases, the programs were still need to be parallelised.
The JRA2 joint research activity has a goal of improving the process of application
development and parallelisation, as well as code deployment on the actual HPC platforms
by creating a live DVD. This live DVD
* will provide tools and libraries that are installed and used at the partner sites,
* emulate the environment of the platforms available at the HPC-Europa centers,
* and allow hands-on building of a "virtual cluster".
The live DVD contains training & dissemination materials produced by HPC-Europa2,
including materials from the partner centers such as slides, video tutorials and example code.
Moreover, it has an optional access to a source code repository that will enable
the migration of code and data from the Virtual Cluster to the user account created
on the HPC-Europa machines.
All in all, this live DVD enables HPC-Europa visitors to prepare their projects
before the actual visit takes place and even before they apply to HPC-Europa.
As a result, they can learn more about parallel programming with recent tools and libraries
without going through time-consuming installation procedures, get used to the local environment
(e.g. queuing system, workspace mechanisms), and set up a small cluster in order
to get an even deeper insight into HPC.
The live DVD is based on SliTaz, a free Linux operating system, working completely
in RAM and booting from a removable media. The file size of the SliTaz GNU/Linux 3.0 iso
image is 29 MB. Thus, it leaves plenty of space to include tools, libraries and
training materials into the live DVD. The SliTaz system is quick and responsive,
clean and robust. A lightweight and elegant desktop is included
as well in the SliTaz iso image.
Since September 2011, the fourth release of the live DVD is available for download.
The image has roughly a size of 3.2 GB that includes new SliTaz packages for HPC, such as
* covise-6.5.0: A collaborative visualization and simulation environment.
* marmot-2.4.0: A tool for analysing and checking MPI applications.
* modules-3.2.8: The modules environment.
* qcachegrind-0.6: A profile data visualization under Qt similar to KCachegrind.
* torque-3.0.0: Provides the binaries for the Torque Batch System.
* VampirTrace-5.11: Generates an OTF trace file, which can be analyzed and visualized
by the visualisation tool Vampir.
By using the latest live DVD, users can actually build a "virtual cluster".
For example, boot several live DVDs as virtual machines (under KVM, VirtualBox or VMware)
on one or more computers, configure the cluster using the scripts provided inside the live DVD,
and make use of the cluster with all the tools developed at each HPC-Europa2 partner,
such that the developed code can be integrated into the final HPC machine at the TA site.