Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The ALICE Computing Project

From ACM TechNews:
The ALICE Computing Project
CERN Courier
(03/27/12) Federico Carminati

The ALICE software environment (AliRoot) is a framework within which all ALICE data are processed and analyzed, and the next challenge will be to adapt the code to new parallel architectures to maximize the performance of modern hardware. The Grid implementation for ALICE required the development of a complete grid system using open source software. The AliRoot developers built a lightweight framework written in Perl, which linked together many individual open source components to create the Alice Environment (AliEn). From the beginning, the core of this system consists of a distributed file catalog and a workload-management system based on the pull mechanism, in which computer centers find appropriate workloads from a central database. AliEn was built as a metasystem aimed at presenting the user with a seamless interface while joining together the different grid systems that harness the various resources. One important step was achieved with the tight integration of AliEn with the MonALISA monitoring system, which enables large quantities of dynamic parameters related to the grid operation to be stored and processed. In the future, the ALICE grid must improve the optimization tools for workload scheduling and data access, which would increase the capabilities to exploit opportunistic computing resources.

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