What Could be Easier? Dropbox-Based HPC with DropAndCompute

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Many university researchers are not familiar with Linux, so how does one give them easy access to compute clusters? In a recent blog post, Ian Cottam describes “DropAndCompute,” which is used at the University of Manchester to make it easier for users to access its Condor Pool of computational resources.

“With the “Drop and Compute” model you just drag and drop your “job” into the appropriate Dropbox folder. Later Dropbox notifies you about new files and when you look you find the results.  This is a totally familiar interface for file and data management. Behind the scenes, the server spotted the job – via a simple monitoring script – and did its thing. To find out all the details of how Ian makes this work with Condor job submission, check out the Drop and Compute Wiki page for instructions and a video.”

A variant of DropAndCompute is also in use at the National Grid Service. Check out this review of the software at e-Research.