Video: Providing a National Software Repository for Interactive HPC

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In this video from the Singularity User Group, Lance Wilson from Monash University presents: Providing a national software repository for interactive HPC.

The characterisation community within Australia has been working towards a federated analytics platform to provide researchers with the tools, compute and storage needed to make the most of national investments in instruments. The current user base is ~1000 across disciplines from neuroscience to neutron and synchrotron science. One of the highlighted needs was for consistency between software stacks provided on different HPC systems. The initial work has been an extension of the existing container first philosophy on the MASSIVE HPC facility (Goscinski, 2014) which provides the Characterisation Virtual Laboratory. The repository for the build files is public and is run in the same way as a software development project. In addition to the build files being public, the repository is linked to singularity hub, such that the containers are easily available to anyone in the characterisation research community. The containers are a diverse mix of single applications through to workflows, highly dependent on the intended use by the research community. Containers have also simplified aspects of user support, for single applications that are particularly difficult to install on complex HPC systems. It has also created a new support aspect in workflows or software aggregation tools, where the expectation from the software developers is that they are installed locally in the path. Overall however software support is now more convenient for both the administrators and researchers especially where we partner with software developers to provide containers.

Dr Lance Wilson is the coordinator of the Characterization Virtual Laboratory, a specialist national program for imaging and visualization on Australian high performance computing facilities, and an Senior HPC Consultant at the Monash e-Research Centre a role in which he promotes effective and creative applications of technology in research. Dr Wilson’s research career has spanned the full breadth of mechanical and medical engineering, with a strong experimental focus. Research equipment instrumentation was a strong activity, especially in the design and testing of orthopedic implants for multinational medical device companies. Later in his research career the focus shifted to more simulation and analysis of medical imaging to inform the experimental activities. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering with strong interests in all areas of characterization, in both experimental and computational aspects.

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