Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


XALT: Tracking User Jobs and Environments on a Supercomputer

Let's talk real, no-kiddin' supercomputer analytics, aimed at moving beyond monitoring the machine as a whole or even its individual hardware components. We're interested in drilling down to the level of individual tasks, users, and binaries. We’re after ready answers to the "what, where, how, when and why" that stakeholders are clamoring for: everything from which libraries (or individual functions!) are in demand, to preventing the problems that get in the way of successful science. This talk will show how XALT can provide this type of job-level insight.

XALT can provide a wide range of metrics and measures of job-level activity. There are benefits to both users and stakeholders: sponsoring institutions interested in strategic priorities; organizations concerned about meeting users' needs; and those seeking to study user activity to improve value and effectiveness.

We will show how this tool provides high value to centers and their users as it can provide documentation on how an application was built to provide reproducibility by reporting the exact environment in which jobs were run.

We have been running XALT at Texas Advanced Computing Center, one of the largest supercomputers in the world and it has become mission critical for us to know what programs to benchmark for new systems. It has also told us what programs that shouldn't be running on the large memory nodes. We will also describe using analytics on the big data generated through XALT.

XALT has a small but growing community. It is also tracking usage at major sites around the world: NICS, NCSA, Univ. of Utah, KAUST.


Robert McLay