Date: December 31, 1996
Creator: Abramson, D.; Sosic, R.; Foster, I.; Giddy, J.; Lewis, A. & White, N.
Description: The coordinated use of geographically distributed computers, or metacomputing, can in principle provide more accessible and cost- effective supercomputing than conventional high-performance systems. However, we lack evidence that metacomputing systems can be made easily usable, or that there exist large numbers of applications able to exploit metacomputing resources. In this paper, we present work that addresses both these concerns. The basis for this work is a system called Nimrod that provides a desktop problem-solving environment for parametric experiments. We describe how Nimrod has been extended to support the scheduling of computational resources located in a wide-area environment, and report on an experiment in which Nimrod was used to schedule a large parametric study across the Australian Internet. The experiment provided both new scientific results and insights into Nimrod capabilities. We relate the results of this experiment to lessons learned from the I-WAY distributed computing experiment, and draw conclusions as to how Nimrod and I-WAY- like computing environments should be developed to support desktop metacomputing.
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