C-Sharifi Cluster Engine: The Second Success Story on "Kernel-Level
Paradigm" for Distributed Computing Support
Contrary to two school of thoughts in providing system software
support for distributed computation that advocate either the
development of a whole new distributed operating system (like Mach),
or the development of library-based or patch-based middleware on top
of existing operating systems (like MPI, Kerrighed and Mosix), Dr.
Mohsen Sharifi hypothesized another school of thought as his thesis in
1986 that believes all distributed systems software requirements and
supports can be and must be built at the Kernel Level of existing
operating systems; requirements like Ease of Programming, Simplicity,
Efficiency, Accessibility, etc which may be coined as Usability.
Although the latter belief was hard to realize, a sample byproduct
called DIPC was built purely based on this thesis and openly announced
to the Linux community worldwide in 1993. This was admired for being
able to provide necessary supports for distributed communication at
the Kernel Level of Linux for the first time in the world, and for
providing Ease of Programming as a consequence of being realized at
the Kernel Level. However, it was criticized at the same time as being
inefficient. This did not force the school to trade Ease of
Programming for Efficiency but instead tried hard to achieve
efficiency, alongside ease of programming and simplicity, without
defecting the school that advocates the provision of all needs at the
kernel level. The result of this effort is now manifested in the C-
Sharifi Cluster Engine.
C-Sharifi is a cost effective distributed system software engine in
support of high performance computing by clusters of off-the-shelf
computers. It is wholly implemented in Kernel, and as a consequence of
following this school, it has Ease of Programming, Ease of Clustering,
Simplicity, and it can be configured to fit as best as possible to the
efficiency requirements of applications that need high performance.
It supports both distributed shared memory and message passing styles,
it is built in Linux, and its cost/performance ratio in some
scientific applications (like meteorology and cryptanalysis) has shown
to be far better than non-kernel-based solutions and engines (like
MPI, Kerrighed and Mosix).
C-Sharifi Development Team