[Beowulf] Docker in HPC

Prentice Bisbal prentice.bisbal at rutgers.edu
Wed Nov 27 13:13:20 PST 2013


You're either an evil genius, or someone with too much free time on your 
hands today. I suspect it's probably a little bit of both!

On 11/27/2013 08:23 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
> From: John Hearns <hearnsj at googlemail.com <mailto:hearnsj at googlemail.com>>
> Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 4:35 AM
> To: "beowulf at beowulf.org <mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>" 
> <beowulf at beowulf.org <mailto:beowulf at beowulf.org>>
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Docker in HPC
> On 27 November 2013 12:29, Tim Cutts <tjrc at sanger.ac.uk 
> <mailto:tjrc at sanger.ac.uk>> wrote:
>     Yes, Pete, Guy and I have been debating this stuff for some time,
>     together with some of our informatics coders.
>  Should virtualisation ever also be necessary (for example to ship ... 
> to another site to analyse some of their data)
> Well why not just clone your informatics coders?
> I'm sure you have all the necessary technology at the Sanger Centre - 
> line up your coders, take a DNA sample,
> clone them and send off the clones on low cost airline flights to 
> where they are needed.
> I suppose the nine-month lead time might be a bit problematic from a 
> project planning point of view.
> ---
> I took a project management class on task planning, and we worked in 
> fungible work months. (I think the instructor was born after Brooks 
> wrote his book) Why can you not divide the reproductive work among 9X 
> workers and get your toilers in a month?  OK, I recognize that this 
> isn't possible today (although see below for a better idea).
> Perhaps a bigger concern is the latency from birth to "productive 
> coder".  Is there a potential application of computational chemistry 
> here to produce pharmacological agents that will reduce that 10 year 
> latency (minimum) to something smaller?  Perhaps with selective 
> breeding or genetic manipulation?  Chickens and cows reach marketable 
> size much faster today than they used to. Software developers (or STEM 
> graduates in general) are next.  Conceivably, one could reduce the 
> gestation period as well. These physically smaller coders (make em 
> smarter faster, but don't waste energy on growing large bodies) will 
> occupy less space in the office, so we can turn today's space wasteful 
> cube farms with their 8 foot ceilings into something more reasonable. 
>  Perhaps not to the size of the cages for battery hens, but still 
> smaller than today's cubicle.
> Next, imagine a Beowulf Cluster of Coders. Is not the whole Beowulf 
> idea based on using commodity components in a large group to achieve 
> what required an expensive single machine to do before?  Think of 
> this.. No relying on specialists or single great intellects: one can 
> harness the power of the masses.  And you'll get more consistent 
> intellectual performance. None of that spiky curve of journals per 
> year stuff to worry about.  And you can put your computational units 
> in locations where environmental conditions favor optimum trades 
> between productivity and cost.  Food and housing is MUCH cheaper in 
> some places than in others.
> In this initial implementation, just as early Beowulfs had to rely on 
> off the shelf consumer PC on utility shelving, the cluster of coders 
> would have to use "off the street" computational units in conventional 
> cubicles.   But as described above, we can use pharmacology and 
> genetic techniques proven in the farming industry to produce more 
> "purpose designed" computational units, just as modern clusters have 
> rack mounted processors mounted in customized rack enclosures.
> We then come back to the original problem: manufacturing latency.. 
> Here is my proposed solution:  we apply clustering at a finer scale, 
> just as we have done with "manycore" processors incorporating multiple 
> computational units on one chip.  Using commodity wetware, we 
> aggressively parallelize the production process:   Take the DNA, get 
> that embryo growing in vitro, divide it into a bunch of pieces, 
> distribute the workload among multiple cores, and then recombine 
> later.  There are a few practical engineering details that remain to 
> be worked out, but now that I have disclosed the basic idea, I'll make 
> sure my phone is turned on for the Nobel committee's call next November.
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