IEEE Cluster 2007 Conference

The IEEE Cluster 2007 conference was held in Austin, Texas this year. There were plenty of hands-on tutorials, paper presentations, poster sessions and panel discussions all related to cluster computing which encompasses both high-performance cluster computing and high-availability clustering.

I had the privilege to co-author and present a poster paper  named CHAF - An Object Oriented Framework for Configuring Applications in a Clustered Environment which was implemented in Sun Cluster 3.2.  The live demonstration of this implementation was performed on a laptop with a lab cluster at the back end. My session and demo were well received that it was referenced in an email by one of  Sun customers to Sun later.

Notable topics that were the focus of several research papers and panel discussions at the conference included multi-core and virtualization.  Our very own Andy Bechtolsheim gave the opening keynote on "Scaling to Petaflops" discussing the challenges and opportunities associated with peta-scale,  and the work Sun has done and continue to do in this area.  More details/links on these topics can be found at my personal blog.

I also got an opportunity to visit the impressive Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Austin where a new supercomputer (using Sun machines and the new Sun Magnum switch) is being built.  It will be the largest supercomputer in the world including 4000 nodes when it becomes operational.

The closing keynote on "the Challenges and Rewards of Petascale Clusters" by Mark Seager from Lawrence Livermore National Labs reminded the attendees that today mainstream technologies (e.g. virtual machines and object oriented design) came from the research community some 20 years ago, and projected that parallel programming in research mode today will be a mainstream technology in the near future.  I have no doubt none whatsoever that Sun will play a key role in it!

Augustus Diraviam
Solaris Cluster Engineering

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