Technology Spain , Salamanca, Thursday, May 14 of 2015, 19:38

Supercomputing work in the palm of your hand

Supercomputing centres make available to you an application for mobile devices that has been developed by the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA) so that their clients, scientists, and companies can continue their calculation operations wherever th

José Pichel Andrés/DICYT Nowadays many scientists and companies need to carry out major calculation operations for their R+D+I and only supercomputing centres can provide this service. Researchers at the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA) have developed an application that can be very useful for these users as it offers the possibility of interacting with the supercomputing centre and following the situation of the work that they have sent from their mobile devices.


The initiative arose during the 2012-2013 academic year when an initial prototype was developed at the Club Universitario de Innovación (CUI). This study was carried out by students of the Faculty of Computer Studies of the UPSA under the supervision of the lecturer Mariano Raboso and was christened HPC Mobile. “We created a intuitive graphic interface so that the client can configure, execute, and monitor his work from a mobile phone wherever he is”, the researcher commented to the DiCYT. “Subsequently we created a commercial version and we offered it to the Supercomputing Centre of Castilla y León”, he added. The app was so well received that "we transferred the licence to them and they are already using it”.


Apart from that located in León, the directors of the project hope that other supercomputing centres will begin to use the application very soon, for instance that of the University of Granada, the Centro de Supercomputación de Galicia (CESGA), and above all the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre which is the largest in Spain.


INESPO Project prize


The quality and the usefulness of this study is evident not only from the interest it has arisen in these centres but also because it has won a prize organised within the framework of the INESPO Project, which encourages the transfer of knowledge on a network formed by several universities in Castilla y León and in Central Portugal. Thanks to this prize the students who took part were able to undergo training so as to draw up a business project, which means that this initiative may finally materialise in the creation of a company in the future.


For the moment the application is being improved continuously to adapt it to the needs of the scientists and companies using supercomputing centres. During the past academic year and also within the CUI, the version created for Android was improved and another was developed for iOS, the Apple operating system. Currently the students and the lecturer are working on a technical improvement. In León and in most other centres a system known as Open Grid Scheduler is used to organise the tasks automatically, but the current international trend is to replace it with another called SLURM. For this reason the UPSA now intends to adapt to these changes and to get the system to operate in either one of them. “What will change will be the way of interacting with the centre and the interpretation of the results it returns, but in actual fact the interface for the users will be the same”, the researcher points out.


Hours of supercomputing


In return for developing this app, the Faculty of Computer Studies of the UPSA has obtained training and hours of supercomputing at the León centre in order to develop its own projects; this time is very valuable and will be used to access high performance computing. Within this field Mariano Raboso's group is also working on the optimisation of the time of execution of the various technologies used.


In addition it also collaborates with the School of Telecommunication Engineering of the Universidad de Valladolid, it develops programmes related to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the field of education, and it is working together with the Universidad de Salamanca on a project to classify manuscripts in the Avestan language.