PRObE: A Thousand-Node Experimental Cluster for Computer Systems Research


Availability of 1000 Nodes for Systems Research Experiments

Contact: Garth Gibson

NSF's PRObE (www.nmc-probe.org) operates four clusters to support systems research at scale. The largest is Kodiak (https://www.nmc-probe.org/wiki/Machines:Kodiak), which is 1000 nodes (two core x86, 8GB DRAM, two 1TB disks, 1GE and 8Gbps IB) donated by Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Today Kodiak is hosting researchers from Georgia Tech, Carnegie Mellon and Los Alamos. Princeton researchers have published results from Kodiak at the most recent NSDI (Wyatt Lloyd, "Stronger Semantics for Low-Latency Geo-Replicated Storage", NSDI 2013). On PRObE staging clusters are researchers from U Central Florida, UT Austin, Georgia Tech and Carnegie Mellon.

PRObE resources are intended for (infrastructure) systems researchers committed to public release of their research results, typically publishing in distributed systems (eg. OSDI or SOSP), cloud computing (e.g. SOCC), supercomputing (e.g. SC or HPDC), storage (e.g. FAST), or networking (e.g. NSDI).

PRObE resources are managed by Emulab (www.emulab.org), a cluster manager for allocating physical nodes that has been in use for systems research for over a decade (Brian White, "An Experimental Environment for Distributed Systems and Networks," OSDI 2002). Users start by porting and demonstrating their code on a 100-node staging cluster such as Denali built from the same equipment donation from Los Alamos. With demonstrated success on a staging cluster and a compelling research goal, Kodiak can be requested and allocated, possibly exclusively, for hours to days.

To start using PRObE resources:

Soon another style of large PRObE resource will come online. Susitna is 34 nodes of 64 core x86 processors, for a total of more than 2000 x86 cores. Susitna also has NVidia donated K20 GPU coprocessors with 2496 cuda cores each, for a total of 84,864 cuda cores. With 128 GB DRAM, a hard disk and an SSD each, Susitna nodes are interconnected by 40Gbps ethernet, 40 Gbps infiniband and 1Gbps ethernet.

NSF PRObE resources will be available for at least the next two years.

All uses of PRObE resources are obligated to publish their results, either in conferences or one their web sites, and acknowledge NSF PRObE resources used in these publications.


© 2017. Last updated 2 July, 2013