FOX - overview
Fault Oblivious eXascale
Exascale computing systems will provide a thousand-fold increase in parallelism and a proportional increase in failure rate relative to today's machines. Systems software for exascale machines must provide the infrastructure to support existing applications while simultaneously enabling efficient execution of new programming models that naturally express dynamic, adaptive, irregular computation; coupled simulations; and massive data analysis in a highly unreliable hardware environment with billions of threads of execution.
We propose a radically new approach to the data and work distribution model provided by system software based on the unifying formalism of an abstract file system. The proposed hierarchical data model provides simple, familiar visibility and access to data structures through the file system hierarchy, while providing fault tolerance through selective redundancy. The hierarchical task model features work queues whose form and organization are represented as file system objects. Data and work are both first class entities. By exposing the relationships between data and work to the runtime system, information is available to optimize execution time and provide fault tolerance. The data distribution scheme provides replication (where desirable and possible) for fault tolerance and efficiency, and it is hierarchical to make it possible to take advantage of locality. The user, tools, and applications, including legacy applications, can interface with the data, work queues, and one another through the abstract file model. This runtime environment will provide multiple interfaces to support traditional Message Passing Interface applications, languages developed under DARPA's High Productivity Computing Systems program, as well as other, experimental programming models. We will validate our runtime system with pilot codes on existing platforms and will use simulation to validate for exascale-class platforms.