NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

Future Technologies Group Gets Four-Year Funding for Cluster Work

January 4, 1999

The DOE Office of Science announced just before Christmas that it will sponsor 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 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.


About NERSC and Berkeley Lab
The National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility that serves as the primary high-performance computing center for scientific research sponsored by the Office of Science. Located at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the NERSC Center serves more than 7,000 scientists at national laboratories and universities researching a wide range of problems in combustion, climate modeling, fusion energy, materials science, physics, chemistry, computational biology, and other disciplines. Berkeley Lab is a DOE national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. »Learn more about computing sciences at Berkeley Lab.