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IBM Research - Almaden

OptimalGrid


 Overview

OptimalGrid is a project in the Healthcare Information Management department at the IBM Research - Almaden that is designed to solve the next generation of large scale parallel problems on a large number of network-attached, heterogeneous compute nodes (i.e. "The Grid"). The first generation of large parallel problems were Unconnected problems, which are sometimes referred to as "independently parallel" or even "embarassingly parallel" problems, as they are relatively straight-forward to solve in a grid environment. Unconnected problems, such as SETI@Home, can be split up into arbitrary pieces and computed independently. Issues of job management, problem piece deployment, and system load balancing, are all either solved individually (per node), or not addressed at all. Connected problems, on the other hand, require much more complex management in virtually every area: Problem definition, problem partitioning, problem piece deployment, problem piece repartitioning/redeployment, compute node management and overall system orchestration. If any compute node in a connected problem computation slows down or fails, the entire computation slows or stops. Thus, the problem management component must be able to address all failures or problems in the compute landscape.

OptimalGrid automates most aspects of solving a large scale connected problem on a computing grid, thus freeing a scientist (or problem owner) to concentrate on the problem at hand (e.g. finite difference time domain solutions, or perhaps find a missing baryon). With OptimalGrid, the problem owner does not have to concern herself with the partitioning of the problem, its deployment, the enlisting of the compute nodes, the delivery of the code for the various parts of the distributed computation, the runtime management of the overall problem, the dynamic rebalancing (e.g. repartitioning and reapportioning of problem pieces, as well as dynamic node replacement) and the employment of additional utilities for report generation, visualization and data aggregation.

 Additional Information

Eden Model Simulation

An early shot of OptimalGrid (a.k.a Smart Grid) running the Eden Model Simulation on Four Machines.

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