By Jon Bashor, firstname.lastname@example.org
January 4, 1999
The DOE Office of Science announced just before Christmas that
it will fund a proposal by NERSC's Future Technologies Group (FTG)
to develop software for high performance clusters. The research
project, a collaboration between LBNL, the Intel Corporation Enterprise
Server Group, and Argonne National Lab, will investigate applications
and extensions of the Virtual Interface Architecture (VIA), a hardware/software
standard for high performance communication in clusters. The project
is funded under the Energy Research Laboratory Technology Research
(ER-LTR) program. Total funding including Intel matching will be
$1.6 million over four years.
VIA is an emerging hardware and software standard for high-performance
communication within a cluster. It allows an application to get
direct user-level access to the network, bypassing the operating
system and the overhead associated with protocols such as TCP/IP.
VIA will widen the space of parallel applications that can be efficiently
executed by clusters, and has many commercial applications. VIA
is a successor to a number of academic research projects, including
Berkeley's Active Messages, Illinois Fast Messages, U-Net and others.
The primary advantage of VIA is its strong industry backing, and
the fact that it will be widely supported by hardware.
The project will be based on M-VIA, a high performance modular
implementation of VIA developed by Patrick Bozeman in the NERSC
Future Technologies Group. M-VIA is a leading VIA implementation,
and the only implementation of VIA for Linux. It is currently in
beta testing (http://www.nersc.gov/research/FTG/via)
and will be officially released this spring.
Overall, Berkeley Lab was funded for four projects by the Office
of Science (SC) -- the most of any SC lab.