Software // Enterprise Applications
News
4/14/2005
07:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Eclipse To Pursue Open-Source Tools For Parallel Computing

Effort will allow tools for building parallel-processing applications to work together.

The Eclipse Foundation is forging ahead with an attempt to bring order to the fragmented field of tools for building software to run on parallel computers.

Parallel computers are usually found at universities, research institutions, and businesses where large, centralized data warehouses, such as Wal-Mart's Teradata system, are used.

The foundation will team up with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a parallel-computing user, to make Eclipse a central host for many parallel-computing tools. Under the Eclipse approach, many tools plug into its programmer's workbench and work together by passing development work from one tool to another.

"Los Alamos knows firsthand the pain of using many parallel-programming tools and trying to make them work together," says Greg Watson, project leader in Los Alamos' Advanced Computing Laboratory. Different parallel computers tend to have their own tools, and software can't be moved between them without being reworked. There's even little integration among the different tools for the same type of parallel machine, he adds.

The foundation has launched a Parallel Tools Platform Project to produce open-source tools for use in parallel computing. Parallel computing allows one large task to be subdivided and its individual parts run on separate processors, yielding complex computing results much faster, Watson says.

"Parallelized" development tools produce software that solves problems by arranging them into subdivided tasks that are assigned to parallel processors. A leading example of parallel processing is the Google search engine. It doesn't methodically conduct a search of the Google index of the Internet from end to end when pursuing a keyword. It breaks the task down into many parts, with independent processors each conducting part of the search. In that way, it returns results much faster, Urs Hoelzle, Google's VP of engineering, told attendees at the EclipseCon user conference in Burlingame, Calif., early last month.

Parallel processing is also different from more common processor clusters in that each processor in a parallel machine usually has its own memory and operating system. That configuration allows it to perform a task as if it were a standalone unit. Software governing the parallel machine coordinates the overall results.

Processors in a cluster, in contrast, tend to share a common pool of memory, and one processor is restricted from using a set of data already in use by another processor, slowing output if the cluster's resources are focused on one big task. Instead, the work of several applications is generally spread across a cluster.

Los Alamos Lab will lead the parallel-tools project, says Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. The foundation will host the project, he says, providing a central development site where work will proceed on a parallel debugger and other tools.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.