Scalability is one of the key challenges to computing with hundreds if not thousands of processor. Yet, testing software at scale with hundreds of processing cores is impossible if system software with privileged access rights needs to be modified. The inability to change system software at will in large-scale computing installations thus impedes progress in system software.
This project creates a mid-size computational infrastructure, called ARC (A Root Cluster), that directly supports research into scalability for system-level software solutions. ARC empowers users temporarily with administrator (root) rights and allows them to replace arbitrary components of the software stack. Such replacements range from entire operating systems over drivers, kernel modules to runtime libraries, middleware and system tools.
ARC ultimately enables a multitude of systems research directions to be assessed under scalability that could otherwise not be conducted. Through ARC, methodologies for scalability of experimental system software in various institutional projects and beyond can be explored and systematically improved. ARC is positioned to benefit the software systems community and indirectly science in general by this assessment of system software requirements at scale.
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