August 27, 1998
The ACTS (Advanced Computational Testing and Simulation) Toolkit,
a set of DOE-developed software tools that make it easier for programmers
to write high-performance scientific applications for parallel computers,
now has a dedicated website
for user support.
The purpose of ACTS is to accelerate the adoption and use of advanced
computing by DOE programs for their mission-critical problems. While
DOE has been motivated to develop the tools for its own programs,
it also encourages their adoption and use by non-DOE computational
efforts. The ACTS project is focusing on establishing a modest collection
of useful parallel tools and emphasizing further development that
will allow the tools to interoperate. ACTS is funded by the DOE
2000 initiative. The ACTS Toolkit website has been created by NERSC
with support from the MICS Division in DOE.
"Our initial role has been to collect all the information
about the different tools into a single point of entry," said
Brent Milne, a member of NERSC's Future Technologies Group who has
been shepherding the project. "Our next step is to work with
researchers who are interested in putting the toolkit to work in
applications. We strongly encourage any researchers who think they
might be able to make use of the ACTS Toolkit to contact us."
of a 2D linear particle accelerator simulation, using a code
based on the POOMA Framework. Shown here is the electrostatic
potential energy field generated by a set of charged particles
as they move through the accelerator. The red arrows indicate
the momentum of each particle. As particles move through the
various elements of the beamline, they experience accelerations
due to forces from the beamline elements and from particle electrostatic
interactions. This simulation was performed on a 32-node SGI
Origin 2000 computer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in conjunction
with Robert Ryne, Salman Habib, and Ji Qiang from the Computational
Accelerator Physics Grand Challenge project.
Here is some more information from the website created by NERSC:
The ACTS Toolkit differs from other "parallel tools"
projects in that it primarily focuses on software used inside an
application, instead of software used to develop an application.
The tools were mostly developed at DOE labs and universities. ACTS
is an umbrella project that has brought the tools together and is
funding developers to provide inteoperability.
The tools include "traditional" numerical libraries
(e.g., linear system and ODE solvers), tools that provide infrastructure
to manage some of the complexity of parallel programming (such as
distribution of arrays and communication of boundary information),
and tools that provide run-time support ranging from performance
analysis to real-time remote visualization.
The ACTS project is a subset of the DOE 2000 project. There are
two main components of DOE 2000: The ACTS Toolkit and the National
Collaboratory project. The two branches are related in that they
both enhance the ability of DOE scientists to solve major scientific
and technical problems. Increasingly, these problems involve multiple,
complex subproblems that often span several disciplines, requiring
scientists from multiple disciplines to work together closely. They
also increasingly involve problems of such complexity that scientists
are forced to rely heavily on computational investigation. The ACTS
project also hopes to improve collaborative computational efforts
by providing a uniform basis for software development and by encouraging
the writing of modular, reusable code.
The prime beneficiaries of ACTS tools will be developers of parallel
scientific applications. Parallel software is inherently more complex
than serial software and significantly more expensive to implement.
In the past, many smaller projects have been unable to access the
benefits of parallel computing because they lack the resources to
port their computational codes from serial to parallel implementations.
Moreover, as the problems being solved become more complex, the
challenges in building parallel programs become even greater. The
goal of ACTS is to alleviate this situation, and DOE has made a
strong commitment to the success of this project.
For more information, visit the website
or send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.