[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 06:31:58 PDT 2014

Hi, C.

Yes, there are many closed source, domain-specific, proprietary tools, and I 
like them!  Any full HPC stack has many open source pieces as functional 
components.  One cannot pick what does or does not count.

To this reports defense, it does read as if to reference the near future, a 
future where we throw out all existing code and start from scratch.  The report 
seems to be making a sci-fi-esque call for a complete rethink and reinvention 
of billions-and-billions of lines of code.  Very admirable.


On 07:49PM Thu 08/28/14 +0700, "C. Bergström" wrote:
> On 08/28/14 07:26 PM, Gavin W. Burris wrote:
> >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.
> baffled you say?
> Lets go down the list of things you mentioned
> supporting tools - Allinea/Totalview and the various performance analysis
> tools - are they open source? (partially maybe, but not completely)
> compiler - I'll refrain from selfish self advertising, but with the
> exception of gcc - anything else I've seen on a cluster and when people care
> about performance - they likely use something which is closed source. (I
> don't know many Gordn Bell winners using gcc.)
> libs - Off the top of my head.. MKL, NAG, cuBLAS and a few others aren't
> open source. (Ok LAPCK, OpenBLAS and a few others are open source... got me
> here)
> MPI - From what I've seen the larger OEM and system integrators end up
> effectively creating a closed source version from one of the open source
> things.
> The linux kernel is open source, but what about the highly modified compute
> node OS which are common? I doubt there's a single customer who has
> requested the source and published those modifications..
> Good schedulers?
> ---------
> We can go deeper into domain specific stuff and then it's really mixed bag
> for what's open and what's not...
> The original post was probably clickbait and irrelevant anyway. Who cares?
> ./C

Gavin W. Burris
Senior Project Leader for Research Computing
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania

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