I am attending this week the Open Source Grid and Cluster conference in Oakland, California. This event includes GlobusWorld, Sun Grid Engine workshop, and Rocks workshop, as well as tracks on other open source grid and cluster software.
As an organizing committee member, it is always a little nervewracking ahead of a meeting, wondering how it will work. We're now in the third day and I am please to say that the meeting is going very well. The sessions are well attended and there is lots and lots of discussion and questions, both during and between talks. (At this very moment, I am in a session that is running 15 minutes over as attendees miss the break for a demonstration of Taverna and Globus.) In addition, the Marriott in Oakland turns out to be a beautiful location.
The GridShib Project announced last week the release of GridShib for Globus Toolkit v0.6.0. This is an exciting development, as GridShib software allows for powerful new authorization architectures in which access control decisions are made based on attributes obtained from many different sources. From their announcement:
This release culminates a 20-month effort to bring SAML-based attribute push to X.509-based Grids.
GridShib for Globus Toolkit (GT) is an implementation of a Grid Service Provider, an entity much like a SAML Service Provider but for Grids. A Grid Service Provider consumes X.509-bound SAML tokens, a new type of security token that enables attributed-based authorization in X.509-based Grids.
Most everything you need to know about GridShib for GT is on this web page:
On this readme page, you will find more detailed information about the GridShib for GT software as well as links to downloads and documentation.
A major advance in this version of GridShib for GT is support for the TeraGrid Science Gateway use case where an intermediary makes a grid request on behalf of a browser user. The Gateway binds a SAML token to an X.509 proxy certificate and makes a request to a gridshib-enabled web service. On the service side, GridShib for GT consumes the SAML token and makes an access control decision based on the security information in the token.
As a SAML-consuming software component, GridShib for GT complements the previously released GridShib SAML Tools and GridShib Certification Authority (CA), which are SAML-producing software components. These three components together enable attribute-based authorization in X.509-based Grids. See the Quick Start for step-by-step instructions that show how to use GridShib for GT v0.6, GridShib SAML Tools v0.3, and GridShib CA v0.5.1 together on Windows and UNIX systems:
I spent yesterday visiting the University of Notre Dame. (Fortunately, as it was Earth Day, I discovered I could take to train from Chicago.) I had interesting conversations with my host Doug Thain and many other talented faculty, and left impressed with the quality of the department.
I'll mention one fun thing I learned there: I happened to ask Paul Brenner from their Center for Research Computing whether they are incentivizing faculty to centralize research computers--a popular trend on college campuses. His surprising reply: "actually we're distributing computers, to provide heating!"
An article in the local paper desribed a pilot project involving an HPC cluster in the South Bend Potowatomi Greenhouses. The result is a significant reduction in both cooling expenditures for campus HPC and heating costs for the greenhouses--the latter alone being $100,000 per year.
Paul then described a fascinating idea: placing low-cost (but high-heat) "grid heating appliaces" (CPU+memory+network) in campus offices. Each such unit might cost $350 and consume 300W power--which at current electricity costs, would be ~$200/yr if the appliance ran continuously. By scheduling jobs only to cold rooms, a grid scheduler can do double duty as a source of both low-cost computing and free heating (or is it heating and free computing?).
Ok, I admit it is corny--but I assembled a list of 10 reasons why you should attend the Open Source
Grid and Cluster Conference, to be held in Oakland May 12-16
1) Globus program is fantastic, including tutorials, advanced
technical presentations, contributed talks, and community events on
every aspect of Globus.
2) Gobs of other material on Sun Grid Engine and Rocks, and
other open source grid and cluster software.
3) Gathering: A great opportunity to meet colleagues, peers,
collaborators from the grid and cluster community. The only grid
meeting in the US the rest of this year--the next two OGFs are in Spain
(June) and Singapore (September).
4) GT4.2: You'll get to learn about the exciting new features
in Globus Toolkit 4.2. New execution, data, security, information,
virtualization, and core services.
5) Gratfication (immediate) as you get to provide your input
on future directions for Globus, Sun Grid Engine, Rocks, and other open
source systems--and maybe sign up to contribute to those developments.
6) Grid solutions: You'll get to meet the people using Globus
to build enterprise grid solutions in projects like caBIG, TeraGrid,
Earth System Grid, MEDICUS, and LIGO, and learn about solution tools
like Introduce, MPI-G, Swift, Taverna, and UniCluster.
7) Gurus: You get to grill the Globus gurus--or, if you prefer,
show off your own Globus guru status.
8) Great price: $490 registration is substantially cheaper than
OGF or HPDC, for example, and the hotel rate is reasonable ($149).
9) Gorgeous location: Oakland is easy to get to -- SFO (with
easy BART train ride), Oakland, and San Jose airports also nearby.
Just a 10 minute train ride to download San Francisco. A lovely time to
be in the Bay Area.
10) Gorilla and guerilla free: None of the corporate marketing
talks that diluted the last GridWorld conference--apart from two
sponsor talks, this is pure tech, and highly useful tech at that.
Way before clouds were popular (remember then?) my colleagues Kate Keahey and Tim Freeman started work on their workspace service, a system for on-demand creation and management of virtual machines on remote computing systems. They now have an implementation that interfaces both to clusters running conventional schedulers and to Amazon EC2. It's distributed as part of the Globus software, or you can download it separately.
The University of Chicago Science Cloud, codenamed "Nimbus", is a web service that
delivers compute capacity in the cloud for scientific communities. The Nimbus' simple
client allows you to obtain customized compute nodes (that we call "workspaces") that
you have full control over quickly, easily, and in ways that can be fully automated. Using
the Nimbus cloud you can request the exact compute capability you currently need for
your application and scale it up or down as your needs dictate.
Nimbus provides compute capability in the form of Xen virtual machines (VMs) that are deployed on
physical nodes of the University of Chicago TeraPort cluster using the workspace service. We currently make 16
nodes of the TeraPort cluster available for cloud computing. Nimbus is available
for members of scientific community wanting to run in the cloud. To obtain
access you will need to provide a justification (a few sentences explaining your
science project) and a valid grid credential (If you don't have a credential,
email us. We can help). Based on the project, you will be given an allocation on
the cloud. Send your requests, demands and cries of anguish to firstname.lastname@example.org
(for cries of anguish mp3 format is acceptable).
In a typical session you will make a request to deploy a workspace based on a specified
VM image. You can either use one of the VM images already available on the cloud (we
provide a command that allows you to see what's already there) or upload your own VM
image. On deployment, the image will be configured with an ssh public key you provide --
in this way once the workspace is deployed, you will be able to ssh into it and configure
it further, upload data, or run your applications. Have fun!
I gave a talk on Services for Science (PDF, PPT) at the INGRID 2008 conference in Ischia, Italy, on Wednesday. I decided to do something different and include demonstrations. I think this worked well. I created and deployed a GT4 service using Introduce and gRAVI, and then created and ran a workflow invoking GT4 services using Taverna. Well, to be honest, there was some steps I skipped along the way (in the style of Julia Childs), but nevertheless I found it impressive how much could be done interactively, in a short time. In summary, I was able to show how we can:
Create a new service using the Introduce integrated development environment, defining operations and resource properties, folding in required functionality (e.g., security, notification), and selecting types from both base types and predefined libraries. (Using gRAVI we can also encapsulate executables.)
Publish this service into registries (GT4 index services).
Discover available services.
Compose services into workflows, e.g., via the use of Taverna, which thanks to recent work by Wei Tan and Ravi Madduri (and much help from the Taverna team) can now invoke GT4 services.
sixth in the highly successful series of International Summer Schools
on Grid Computing will be held at the Hotel Füred Conference and
Congress Centre of Balatonfüred, Hungary, from 6th to 18th July 2008.
School will include lectures, discussions, laboratory sessions,
tutorials and group work delivered by leading authorities in the fields
of advanced grid technology, applications of e-Science and distributed
systems research. Reports from world leaders in deploying and
exploiting Grids will complement lectures from research leaders shaping
laboratory exercises will give students experience with widely used
Grid middleware. The school will conclude with an integrating practical
that will enable students, working in teams, to bring together all they
have learnt on an extended exercise that simulates collaborative
research using e-Infrastructures. Indeed during the school,
participants will meet like-minded students from many parts of the
world, working in many disciplines, and form valuable long-term working
invite applications from enthusiastic and ambitious researchers who
have recently started or are about to start working on Grid projects.
Students may come from any country. We expect participants from
computer science, computational science and any application discipline.
The School will assume that students have diverse backgrounds and build
on that diversity. However, in order to fully participate in the
practical exercises you should be a confident programmer who will have
fulfilled certain prerequisites.