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Feature - A new test bed for future cyberinfrastructure

Feature - A new test bed for future cyberinfrastructure

Image courtesy of jaylopez at stock.xchng.

Grid, cluster, and cloud developers will have somewhere new to test their software before letting it loose on the world, thanks to a new initiative called FutureGrid.

“I think people found that it was pretty hard to test early grid software on the machines that were available, because the machines that were available didn’t like being experimented on,” said Geoffrey Fox, principle investigator for FutureGrid. “FutureGrid is trying to support the development of new applications and new system software, which are both rapidly changing.”

The FutureGrid collaboration, which will be headquartered at Indiana University, had its first all-hands meeting 2-3 October.

“We will have early users throughout the first year,” said Fox. A small number of users are already signed up, but there remains room for more on the FutureGrid roster.

“We would like a broad range, so we would like projects different from the projects we have,” said Fox. “We’d be more interested in people who say, ‘I want to develop a multicore application’ or ‘I want to exploit cloud technology and see how that works for my application.’”

FutureGrid will include a dedicated network, shut off from the rest of the world. Although that means they will be able to conduct some network research, their focus is on developing applications to run on clusters, grids and clouds.

They also plan to develop educational applications. Using virtual machines, for instance, “you can develop operating system classes on FutureGrid which would not be possible on a traditional system,” said Fox.

Currently, Fox is also in negotiations with companies that are interested in developing applications on FutureGrid. “Many companies are going to have applications in these areas,” said Fox. “Some companies are going to want to develop applications for this hardware.”

FutureGrid, which is a part of TeraGrid, received $10.1 million in funds from the National Science Foundation and $4.9 million from eight international and national partners.

A map of resources that will form FutureGrid.
Image courtesy of FutureGrid.

Miriam Boon, iSGTW

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