[Beowulf] Open source and the Draft Report of the Task Force on High Performance Computing

Gavin W. Burris bug at wharton.upenn.edu
Thu Aug 28 05:26:44 PDT 2014

Hi, Bill.  

This is perplexing...

So, the Linux kernel and supporting tools that make the operating system aren't 
being factored in here?  The compiler?  The libraries?  If "very little open 
source" has "made its way into broad use within HPC," what OS are the majority 
running if not Linux?  This seem to be greatly uninformed, or pushing an 
agenda.  The only way I can see this excerpt as even remotely true would be if 
you applied a very narrow survey to a specific application set.  But that 
narrow view does not apply to a full operational stack or all of HPC in 
general!  I'm baffled, because this does not jive with my lay of the land.


On 07:29PM Wed 08/27/14 -0700, Bill Broadley wrote:
> The URL:
> http://energy.gov/seab/downloads/draft-report-task-force-high-performance-computing
> One piece I found particularly interesting:
>   There has been very little open source that has made its way into broad use
>   within the HPC commercial community where great emphasis is placed on
>   serviceability and security. There is a better track record in data analytics
>   recently with map/reduce as a notable example. This is less of an issue for
>   universities or national laboratories but they represent no more than about
>   10%-15% of all HPC usage. Of course, one cannot “force” the adoption of open
>   source but one should also not plan on it being a panacea to any ecosystem
>   shortcoming. A focus investment effort within universities could expand the
>   volume of open source and increase the chances that some of the software
>   output could become commercialized. It should be noted that the most
>   significant consumption of open source software is China and it is also the
>   case that the Chinese are rare contributors to open source as well.
>   Investments in open source or other policy actions to stimulate creation are
>   likely to produce a disproportionate benefit accruing to the Chinese.
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Gavin W. Burris
Senior Project Leader for Research Computing
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania

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