|Volume 7, Issue 1 -
NATIONAL SOFTWARE EXCHANGE PUTS CRITICAL HPCC SOFTWARE AT USER FINGERTIPS
A major goal of the CRPC is to bring existing and emerging high- performance software technologies into the hands of potential users. Starting this year, the center will receive funding from the High Performance Computing and Communications (HPCC) program through NASA to establish the National Software Exchange (NSE) for HPCC. The NSE, which will initially be a Mosaic-based software distribution system, will facilitate the development and distribution of software enabling technologies for high-performance computing and will play a vital role in educating and training students and professionals in the use of parallel technologies.
The NSE will address several important goals. The system will provide users with a central access point for HPCC technologies located around the nation and will demonstrate how high-performance software can be effectively exchanged and reused. It will also encourage collaboration and information sharing between universities, research laboratories, and industry.
CRPC researchers serving as principal investigators on the NSE project include Jack Dongarra, Geoffrey Fox, Ken Kennedy, Jim Pool, and Rick Stevens. Dongarra's experience in developing the Netlib Software Distribution System at Oak Ridge National Laboratory played a particularly important role in establishing a vision for the NSE. According to CRPC director Ken Kennedy, "The National Software Exchange will build substantially on Netlib, which served as a model not only for the NSE but for CRPC's Softlib distribution system."
A wide range of high-quality, public-domain software will be made available on NSE, including Grand Challenge applications, information databases, performance visualization codes, and parallel programming environments and languages. Many of these tools are reusable because they can be classified as enabling technologies, which can be applied to a number of purposes related to high-performance computing. Several CRPC technologies already available on the Softlib and Netlib systems will be available on the NSE.
Through the NSE, the CRPC is addressing user needs that it can effectively help to meet. Application and computer science users working on Grand Challenges will find tremendous value in reusing highly optimized components of code that they otherwise would have made on their own after a considerable amount of time and effort. Through staff at the supercomputing centers, users from other projects funded by NASA, NSF, and DOE already have a natural support organization that will facilitate their use of technologies on the NSE. The CRPC will work closely with supercomputing center staff to increase awareness of the NSE by current and potential high-performance computing users, such as those in industry.
In addition to outreach and technology transfer efforts, funding for the project covers system maintenance and research in advanced network-based software distribution mechanisms. For more information, a prototype system is in place that can be accessed through the URL: http://www.netlib.org/ . Please send comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org . NSE will also be demonstrated at the CRPC booth at Supercomputing '94.
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