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Although documentation for tools is essential for their use, it can be hard to understand how a tool works by documentation alone. Tutorials help scientists and engineers understand how a tool is designed to be used, what functions it provides, and how it is applied in a particular application.

During the first NACSE project year, two different tutorials were designed and implemented for the tools Ariadne and DAQV. Ariadne is an event based debugger for high-level debugging of parallel programs, and the tutorial created provides easy access through descriptive information by using hyperlinks and frames. The other tutorial created utilizes Java to provide an interactive environment for learning about DAQV, which is a tool offering user-level access to and visualization of distributed arrays in parallel programs. This tutorial exploits cutting edge web technology to provide scientists and engineers information and experience with DAQV. Both these tutorials allow scientists and engineers to easily discern the HPC tool's purpose and functions, and decide if the tool is beneficial to them.

It is possible that a scientist or engineer may not have previous experience with applying high-performance computing to their problems. In this case, it is important to show HPC techniques are used to solve a particular problem. This is done in EcoSim which introduces the areas of computer simulations and ecological modeling and discusses how ecological models are represented in computer simulations. Working examples of completed simulations are useful to show how computational scientists can utilize HPC resources for such modeling projects.

Although a scientist may be excited to utilize HPC tools or applications in order to solve their large problems, they may not have the computing power needed. A web page listing HPC sites was developed to aid scientists in finding high performance computing resources.

In the second NACSE project year, the effort to provide web tutorials for HPC tools continued to be a focus of the UO NACSE work. A web page containing information and examples was created for Viz,which is an extensible programming environment for building visualizations systems. Tau, another HPC tool, is a visual programming and performance analysis environment for pC++ and HPC++. A web-based guided tour was created for Tau that allows an easy navigated walk-through of the various parts. The Viz web pages and Tau tour provide information that was not previously available on the web and advances the effort to provide tutorials and easy-to-understand material on HPC tools.

The EcoSim application provides an example for scientists, but does not show explicitly how to use HPC tools. However, Tierra is an HPC application that provides a computational environment for tomographic image analysis for marine seismologists studying the structure and evolution of mid-ocean ridge volcanism. The environment provided by Tierra uses the HPC tools DAQV and Viz. Not only does Tierra stand as an example of what can be done in HPC, but it provides scientists and engineers with ideas of what HPC tools are capable of and how they can be used to solve real-world problems.

This effort to provide information on the web about HPC tools, applications and resources is only beneficial if that information can be found. Since there are many different HPC projects at the University of Oregon, it can difficult to find overviews, documentation, tutorials, examples and other information without knowing something about the project beforehand. In addition, the previous NACSE work was spread out among different web pages making it difficult to find. To address this problem, a central location with information and pointers to all the HPC projects was required.

A web site was created as the central location for the UO NACSE effort that includes HPC tools and applications and current and future UO NACSE work. This site includes a project navigator that uses Java to create a powerful, user-friendly interface that finding out and moving between the various UO NACSE projects; a non-Java page is also made available. The UO NACSE web page is located at www.csi.uoregon.edu/nacse/.


UO NACSE Home Page
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