[9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene - Plan9

This is a discussion on [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene - Plan9 ; Is there any (public) information about how plan 9 is/was being used on Blue Gene? The only information I can find seems to be "press release"-type papers that just say that it runs on Blue Gene, but not what it ...

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Thread: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

  1. [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    Is there any (public) information about how plan 9 is/was being used on
    Blue Gene? The only information I can find seems to be "press
    release"-type papers that just say that it runs on Blue Gene, but not
    what it was used for nor how it was setup and used.

    Steven Vormwald



  2. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 1:37 PM, Steven Vormwald wrote:
    > Is there any (public) information about how plan 9 is/was being used on Blue
    > Gene? The only information I can find seems to be "press release"-type
    > papers that just say that it runs on Blue Gene, but not what it was used for
    > nor how it was setup and used.
    >


    The existing BG/L port was a prototype proof of concept. It was not
    done in a clean-room fashion and so large portions of it are not
    releasable. The proof of concept was done as part of a proposal to a
    DOE funded project which just got under way. As part of that project
    which is funded for the next three years, we'll be doing a "clean"
    port to the BG/P (which will be open sourced) along with using Plan 9
    to explore large scale (tens of thousands of nodes) distributed
    systems. High level details are available off of the IBM Research
    pages: http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/...are.index.html
    -- more detailed information to come.

    -eric


  3. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Sat, 2008-07-26 at 13:47 -0500, Eric Van Hensbergen wrote:
    > On Sat, Jul 26, 2008 at 1:37 PM, Steven Vormwald wrote:
    > > Is there any (public) information about how plan 9 is/was being used on Blue
    > > Gene? The only information I can find seems to be "press release"-type
    > > papers that just say that it runs on Blue Gene, but not what it was used for
    > > nor how it was setup and used.
    > >

    >
    > The existing BG/L port was a prototype proof of concept. It was not
    > done in a clean-room fashion and so large portions of it are not
    > releasable. The proof of concept was done as part of a proposal to a
    > DOE funded project which just got under way. As part of that project
    > which is funded for the next three years, we'll be doing a "clean"
    > port to the BG/P (which will be open sourced) along with using Plan 9
    > to explore large scale (tens of thousands of nodes) distributed
    > systems. High level details are available off of the IBM Research
    > pages: http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/...are.index.html
    > -- more detailed information to come.


    Do you have any bits and pieces of the software ecosystem not
    readily available on Plan9 (dreadful things like a C++ compiler)
    covered by these funds or is your intention to use available
    Plan9 userland as-is?

    Thanks,
    Roman.



  4. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 7:32 AM, Roman V. Shaposhnik wrote:
    >
    > Do you have any bits and pieces of the software ecosystem not
    > readily available on Plan9 (dreadful things like a C++ compiler)
    > covered by these funds or is your intention to use available
    > Plan9 userland as-is?
    >


    There is effort ongoing to support certain legacy applications -- but
    at the moment its not something any of you would find useful -- and at
    best it'll be more akin to linuxemu than a port of a C++ compiler.

    -eric


  5. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    In the HPC world, there is lots of conservatism. There is an editor at
    LANL, named Fred, written in Fortran, that has been in use for longer
    than most of you have been alive. Until very recently, it was a
    required part of any HPC system.

    So, we're doing a binary compatibility module so we can run code
    compiled with the hot IBM compilers like XLC and XLF.

    ron


  6. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    ron minnich wrote:
    > In the HPC world, there is lots of conservatism. There is an editor at
    > LANL, named Fred, written in Fortran, that has been in use for longer
    > than most of you have been alive. Until very recently, it was a
    > required part of any HPC system.
    >
    > So, we're doing a binary compatibility module so we can run code
    > compiled with the hot IBM compilers like XLC and XLF.
    >
    > ron
    >


    So would developers on this platform be encouraged to use languages and
    features currently in plan 9 for HPC development, or would they target
    existing HPC languages and features, which would be added to plan 9,
    either via native ports or some kind of compatibility layer? I noticed
    that a limited version of MPI was mentioned in one of the papers on
    IBM's website, but what about other systems, such as Co-Array fortran or
    UPC?

    Steven Vormwald


  7. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    Hello,

    Just a dumb question, as i'm totally out of this business, it is easier to write an emulator than translate the applications to plan9 c ? (for example) or to write (or port) the C++ and Fortran compilers and related tools?

    i'm asking from a technical point of view, i suppose dealing with the current users and customers is the real issue, right?

    thanks

    gabi

    > In the HPC world, there is lots of conservatism. There is an editor at
    > LANL, named Fred, written in Fortran, that has been in use for longer
    > than most of you have been alive. Until very recently, it was a
    > required part of any HPC system.
    >
    > So, we're doing a binary compatibility module so we can run code
    > compiled with the hot IBM compilers like XLC and XLF.
    >
    > ron




  8. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 10:25 AM, wrote:
    >
    > i'm asking from a technical point of view, i suppose dealing with the current users and customers is the real issue, right?
    >


    and tens of millions of lines of fortran that no one understands anymore....

    Its not that we aren't promoting other paradigms, its just we also
    need to be able to support existing code bases.

    -eric


  9. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 10:21 AM, Steven D. Vormwald wrote:
    >
    > So would developers on this platform be encouraged to use languages and
    > features currently in plan 9 for HPC development,
    >


    It is unlikely that existing features in Plan 9 scale applications (or
    system services) to 256,000 cores. The project isn't just to use Plan
    9, but to explore distributed system concepts which can be used to
    reach such scale. This will involve new system abstractions, new
    programing abstractions, new run times, and potentially new
    languages.... What ends up other the other end of the pipe may end up
    looking very different from Plan 9.

    -eric


  10. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 8:25 AM, wrote:
    > Hello,
    >
    > Just a dumb question, as i'm totally out of this business, it is easier to write an emulator than translate the applications to plan9 c ? (for example) or to write (or port) the C++ and Fortran compilers and related tools?


    yes. I looked at the app mess for a while.

    1. rewrite apps in plan 9 c. The Plan 9 C compiler is fine for what we
    do on Plan 9. For scientific apps, it's not that great a compiler. The
    IBM compilers know all the tricks. The effort to get Plan 9 C up to
    the standards of XLC is mind-boggling. And XLF? We're not going to
    write a Fortran compiler from scratch.
    2. Port the compilers. Why, exactly? None of the users would be
    willing to use a Plan 9 desktop.

    >
    > i'm asking from a technical point of view, i suppose dealing with the current users and customers is the real issue, right?


    partly.

    What we are really doing is using the Plan 9 os on blue gene as a
    target from a cross-compiler, running on Linux. The tack I'm taking
    (for now) is a system call compatibility interface in the kernel.
    Recall how apps set themselves up to be debugged: write hang to ctl.
    In this case, they write 'CNK' to ctl. After the exec, the system
    calls are handled differently: have a Linux/gcc parameter interface,
    and do different operations (some new), and will allow direct access
    to the network interfaces.

    We're helped by the fact that Compute Node Kernel (the lightweight
    kernel for bluegene) doesn't support fork.

    ron


  11. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 8:21 AM, Steven D. Vormwald wrote:

    > So would developers on this platform be encouraged to use languages and
    > features currently in plan 9 for HPC development, or would they target
    > existing HPC languages and features, which would be added to plan 9, either
    > via native ports or some kind of compatibility layer?


    The latter. Build on Linux, run on Plan 9. For most users. Some users
    have the time and willingness to try something new like Plan 9, most
    have day jobs and just want to run their code. So we make it as easy
    for them as we can.

    > I noticed that a
    > limited version of MPI was mentioned in one of the papers on IBM's website,
    > but what about other systems, such as Co-Array fortran or UPC?
    >


    Cross-compile.

    ron


  12. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 7:10 AM, ron minnich wrote:
    > In the HPC world, there is lots of conservatism. There is an editor at
    > LANL, named Fred, written in Fortran, that has been in use for longer
    > than most of you have been alive. Until very recently, it was a
    > required part of any HPC system.


    Any guesses as to just how old Fred is? Or better yet, when is Fred's birthday?

    It seems like there should be a Ratfor to C translator in Plan 9, if
    only for nostalgia.

    -Jack


  13. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    ron minnich wrote:
    > On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 8:21 AM, Steven D. Vormwald wrote:
    >
    >> So would developers on this platform be encouraged to use languages and
    >> features currently in plan 9 for HPC development, or would they target
    >> existing HPC languages and features, which would be added to plan 9, either
    >> via native ports or some kind of compatibility layer?

    >
    > The latter. Build on Linux, run on Plan 9. For most users. Some users
    > have the time and willingness to try something new like Plan 9, most
    > have day jobs and just want to run their code. So we make it as easy
    > for them as we can.
    >


    Since I still do most of my work on Linux, I can't really argue with
    that...

    >> I noticed that a
    >> limited version of MPI was mentioned in one of the papers on IBM's website,
    >> but what about other systems, such as Co-Array fortran or UPC?
    >>

    >
    > Cross-compile.
    >
    > ron
    >


    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't these require extensive run-time
    support, in addition to compiler support? Will the run-time libraries
    also be linux libraries running under a compatibility layer?

    Steven Vormwald


  14. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 11:41 AM, ron minnich wrote:
    > Build on Linux, run on Plan 9.


    So there's not so much a need for gcc & al. to run on Plan 9, as for
    them to target it.

    (Then we can put the gcc-p9 executables on a handy Linux box
    (linuxemu?), and write shell-script wrappers like folks did for
    vnc+Firefox.)

    --Joel


  15. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    > 1. rewrite apps in plan 9 c. The Plan 9 C compiler is fine for what we
    > do on Plan 9. For scientific apps, it's not that great a compiler. The
    > IBM compilers know all the tricks. The effort to get Plan 9 C up to
    > the standards of XLC is mind-boggling. And XLF? We're not going to
    > write a Fortran compiler from scratch.


    Can you elaborate here? What tricks can the IBM compilers use
    that the Plan 9 ones can't? Are we talking optimization? What
    is XLC and where can I find more information on the standard?

    D


  16. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 9:10 AM, Steven D. Vormwald wrote:

    > Correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't these require extensive run-time
    > support, in addition to compiler support? Will the run-time libraries also
    > be linux libraries running under a compatibility layer?


    binaries on the bg/l machine are static.

    The compatibilty is needed in two places: system call layer, and
    allowing CNK binaries direct access to network hardware.

    ron


  17. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    ron minnich wrote:
    > On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 9:10 AM, Steven D. Vormwald wrote:
    >
    >> Correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't these require extensive run-time
    >> support, in addition to compiler support? Will the run-time libraries also
    >> be linux libraries running under a compatibility layer?

    >
    > binaries on the bg/l machine are static.
    >
    > The compatibilty is needed in two places: system call layer, and
    > allowing CNK binaries direct access to network hardware.
    >
    > ron
    >


    Thanks for all your responses. That clears things up quite a bit.

    Steven Vormwald


  18. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    > Can you elaborate here? What tricks can the IBM compilers use
    > that the Plan 9 ones can't? Are we talking optimization?
    >


    No, really, that's not troll bait. I'm actually interested in
    understanding the project's basis for discriminating against
    specific compiler capability. Obviously Plan 9's compiler
    isn't optimal.. but what really are the requirements people
    want?

    D


  19. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 1:03 PM, don bailey wrote:
    >> Can you elaborate here? What tricks can the IBM compilers use
    >> that the Plan 9 ones can't? Are we talking optimization?

    >
    > No, really, that's not troll bait. I'm actually interested in
    > understanding the project's basis for discriminating against
    > specific compiler capability. Obviously Plan 9's compiler
    > isn't optimal.. but what really are the requirements people
    > want?
    >


    People want to run the same binaries they are currently running -
    those are built with XLC and XLF.

    -eric


  20. Re: [9fans] Plan 9 on Blue Gene

    On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 11:03 AM, don bailey wrote:
    >> Can you elaborate here? What tricks can the IBM compilers use
    >> that the Plan 9 ones can't? Are we talking optimization?


    yes. Quite impressive optimization. Which results in very high
    measured performance. At least when I've looked at it. The XLF/XLC
    compilers represent a few decades of very good work from IBM.

    > No, really, that's not troll bait. I'm actually interested in
    > understanding the project's basis for discriminating against
    > specific compiler capability. Obviously Plan 9's compiler
    > isn't optimal.. but what really are the requirements people
    > want?
    >


    it's not taken as such.

    The simplest requirement is "XLC version x.y.z". Why? Because these
    programs are beasts. Once they are working people are not inclined to
    change the compiler and runtime, as that is a frequent source of
    breakage. Sometimes you really do want the compiler bug.

    That said, if you look at the code XLF/XLC emit, it's pretty
    impressive. I suggest you grab the released papers on them. There's an
    ugly effect that can occur on big parallel machines. Very small
    performance deltas on small numbers of nodes can result in huge
    deltas on the whole machine. So the kinds of things you don't care
    about on, e.g., your desktop, become utterly crucial on lots of nodes.

    ron


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