RCE Podcast Looks at Shifter Containers for HPC

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In this RCE PodcastBrock Palen and Jeff Squyres speak with Shane Canon and Doug Jacobsen from NERSC, the authors of Shifter.

Shifter is a prototype implementation that NERSC is developing and experimenting with as a scalable way of deploying containers in an HPC environment. It works by converting user or staff generated images in Docker, Virtual Machines, or CHOS (another method for delivering flexible environments) to a common format. This common format then provides a tunable point to allow images to be scalably distributed on the Cray supercomputers at NERSC. The user interface to shifter enables a user to select an image from their dockerhub account and then submit jobs which run entirely within the container.

Shane Canon joined NERSC in 2000 to serve as a system administrator for the PDSF cluster.  While working with PDSF he gained experience in cluster administration, batch systems, parallel file systems and the Linux kernel.  In 2005, Shane left LBNL to take a position as Group Leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  One of the more significant accomplishments while at ORNL was architecting the 10 petabyte Spider File System.  In 2008, Shane returned to NERSC to lead the Data Systems Group.  In 2009, he transitioned to leading a newly created Technology Integration Group in order to focus on the Magellan Project and other areas of strategic focus. More recently Shane has focused on enabling data intensive applications on HPC platforms and engaging with bioinformatics applications.  Shane joined the Data & Analytics Services group in 2016 to focus on these topics.  Shane is involved in a number of projects outside of NERSC.  He is the Production Lead on the KBase project which is developing a platform to enable predictive biology.  Shane has a Ph.D in Physics from Duke University and B.S. in Physics from Auburn University.

Doug Jacobsen completed his Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of Michigan in May 2012.  Doug’s thesis research was both computational and experimental, integrating biophysics, chemistry, and bioinformatics.  He was previously in the NERSC User Services Group working with scientists from the Joint Genome Institute. He moved to the NERSC Computational Systems group where he will be spending part of his time helping deliver services developed for JGI data scientists to the larger NERSC community.

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