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Los Alamos developing new eclipse-based tools for high-performance parallel computers

DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory : 20 May, 2007  (Technical Article)
Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Eclipse Foundation today announced the Parallel Tools Platform Project, a new Eclipse Technology project aimed at creating better open source software tools for parallel computers. Los Alamos will lead the project and will collaborate with institutions and companies worldwide to develop an open source platform that will enable their products to operate on a wide range of parallel computing platforms.
As high-end computing moves from one-of-a-kind machines to commodity-based systems such as clustered computers, developers must deal with a greater complexity of systems and a wide array of disparate tools. Given the fragmentation of the parallel tools market, developers make do with a profusion of interfaces, from minimal command line tools and text editors to tools with different graphical user interfaces. Some of these software tools are available only for specific systems, so the tools must be changed every time that work is moved to a new parallel machine. In addition, there is little integration between tools from different vendors making it difficult to use modern software engineering techniques.

'Los Alamos knows first-hand the pain of using many parallel programming tools and trying to make them work together before we can get to the critical task of solving tough scientific and industrial problems,' said Greg Watson, project leader in Los Alamos' Advanced Computing Laboratory. 'The Parallel Tools Platform Project can eliminate this pain point once and for all by providing a single, portable, consistent and highly integrated parallel development environment that will significantly drive productivity at the engineering level. Eclipse provides the ideal extensible platform to involve the open source community, as well as industry, universities and other laboratories.'

The project aims to extend the Eclipse platform to build up a user-friendly environment for parallel computer systems. Los Alamos staff and their collaborators at other institutions plan to add support for a wide range of parallel architectures, provide an integrated parallel debugger and develop infrastructure to assist in the integration of other parallel tools. A separate, but related, component of the project will be to add Fortran language support to the Eclipse integrated development environment.

The Eclipse Foundation will supply the open-source infrastructure in which code developers and collaborators can work. Eclipse is a community of open source software projects that builds developer tools and frameworks. The Eclipse framework provides a robust, full-featured, commercial-quality, industry platform for the development of highly integrated programming tools. Companies such as IBM, Intel and Hewlett-Packard include Eclipse technology in their commercial software products.

'Los Alamos National Laboratory is an innovator and leader in the use of parallel computing,' said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. 'The addition of the Parallel Tools Platform Project supports the Eclipse vision for integrated open source tools that enable organizations to extend the Eclipse platform to support different programming needs. We are delighted that Los Alamos has decided to lead the project to develop tools for parallel programming.'

A key project goal of the project is to transform current practice into best practice for parallel application development, while providing support for software vendors to bring their proprietary computing tools into the larger open-source computing environment. Both Los Alamos and the Eclipse Foundation are encouraging other interested parties to become involved in the design and development of the Parallel Tools Platform, particularly parallel tool developers and vendors.

For more information about the Eclipse Parallel Tools Platform Project, or to become involved, go to online.

Eclipse is an open source community whose projects are focused on providing an extensible development platform and application frameworks for building software. Eclipse provides extensible tools and frameworks that span the software development lifecycle, including support for modeling, language development environments for Java, C/C++ and others, testing and performance, business intelligence, rich client applications and embedded development. A large, vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors, innovative start-ups, universities and research institutions and individuals extend, complement and support the Eclipse Platform. The Eclipse Foundation is a not-for-profit, member-supported corporation that hosts the Eclipse projects. Full details of Eclipse and the Eclipse Foundation are available at online.
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