The Hong Kong Grid Initiative

Progress Report

 

Systems Research Group

Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, The University of Hong Kong

URL: http://www.hkgrid.org/    Email: grid@csis.hku.hk

January 19, 2004

 

1.       Introduction

 

In the past, computing typically was performed within highly integrated host-centric enterprise computing centres. While sophisticated distributed systems existed, they have remained specialized, niche entities. Over the last decade, however, computing has become increasingly concerned with collaboration, data sharing, and other new modes of interaction that involve distributed resources. While no one would argue that this paradigmatic shift was mainly due to the phenomenal growth of the Internet, the emergence of Grid computing technologies actually plays an important role.

 

Compared to traditional computing platforms, computational Grids feature superior cost-effectiveness and flexibility. In the mean time, Grid computing also opens up a substantial ground for research and development in the computer science discipline. In order to promote the benefits of Grid technologies and to meet the research challenges ahead, the Hong Kong Grid Initiative (HKGrid) was formed with the following specific objectives:

 

2.       Membership and Collaboration

 

The Initiative currently involves six departments from five local institutions. Furthermore, the Initiative will also collaborate with the China National Grid (http://www.chinagridforum.org) and the Asia-Pacific Grid (http://www.apgrid.org) in research and development. Table 1 summarizes the current membership.

 


Table 1: Members of the HKGrid (as of Jan 19, 2004)

Organization

Department

Administrative contact

Technical contact

City University of Hong Kong

CS

Dr. W. Jia
Dr. X. Lin

C.M. Hui
M.H. Ko

Hong Kong Baptist University

CS

Dr. W.K.W. Cheung

M. Law

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

CS

Prof. Lionel Ni

Y.M. Zhu

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Dept. of Computing

Dr. J. Cao

W. Wu

The University of Hong Kong

Computer Centre

Dr. N. Ng

W.K. Kwan
C.M. Woo

CSIS

Dr. F.C.M. Lau
Dr. A.T.C. Tam
Dr. C.L. Wang

R.S.C. Ho

 

 

3.       Test bed construction

 

The construction of the HKGrid test bed started in October 2003 and is still in progress. Table 2 outlines the major events throughout the construction process.

 

Table 2: Major events of HKGrid (from Oct 2003 to Jan 2004)

Date

Event

Jan 12, 2004

The system status of the grid point in the Baptist University has been pushed to the HKGrid Ganglia repository; the GT services are also ready (thanks to M. Law)

Dec 17, 2003

Job submission between the Computer Centre (CC), HKU and the Department of CSIS, HKU has been tested. CC's MDS information is now available at the HKGrid MDS and Ganglia repositories (thanks to C.M. Woo)

Dec 3, 2003

Hong Kong Grid Initiative is opened officially in the banquet of the international conference Cluster 2003 on Dec. 3, 2003. Detailed information is available on Hong Kong Grid Initiative Open Ceremony

Nov 14, 2003

The GT services at UST have been setup and ready (thanks to Y.M. Zhu)

Nov 4, 2003

The firewall problem at Polytechnic University has been resolved, job submission through GT was tested. The monitoring tools started to report system status to the root server (thanks to W. Wu)

Oct 24, 2003

The root server for monitoring the HKGrid testbed has been set up. The real-time system status (Ganglia and MDS) is available

Oct 23, 2003

Grid gateways have been set up in City University and Polytechnic University. Job submission and system monitoring tools at CityU and HKU have been tested (thanks to M.H. Ko)

Oct 22, 2003

The certificate authority (CA) for the HKGrid testbed is available

Oct 22, 2003

The HKU-CSIS grid point was participated in a climate simulation demo in the 5th PRAGMA

Oct 21, 2003

The mailing lists for the Hong Kong Grid Initiative have been created

Oct 18, 2003

A demo of a distributed weather forcasting application has been conducted on the ApGrid testbed during the HKU Jupas Open Day. The demo involved AIST (Japan), Kasetsart University (Thailand), and the HKU-CSIS grid point

Oct 9, 2003

The HKGrid web page is available

 

In December 3, 2003, the Hong Kong Grid Initiative was established officially in the banquet of the 2003 IEEE International Conference on Cluster Computing (Fig. 1). The details of the opening ceremony could be found at http://hkgrid.org/OpenCeremony.html.

 

Fig. 1: Main organizers of HKGrid, with Dr. Zhiwei Xu from the China National Grid

Photo taken in the HKGrid Opening Ceremony held in Cluster2003

 

4.       Computing facilities

 

The Grid points in the HKGrid are interconnected by the HARNET (The Hong Kong Academic and Research NETwork). Table 3 outlines the computing resources on the HKGrid.

Table 3: Computing resources on the HKGrid

Institution

CPU

Memory

Internal network

City University of Hong Kong (CS)

2-way P3 1GHz x 1

1GB 

-

Hong Kong Baptist University (CS)

2-way Xeon 2.8GHz x 64

~130GB

Gigabit Ethernet

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (CS)

P4 2GHz x 1

 512MB

-

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Dept. of Computing)

2-way P3 1GHz x 1

 1GB

-

The University of Hong Kong (Computer Centre)

2-way Xeon 2.8GHz x 128
2-way P3 1GHz x 32
2-way P3 800MHz x 8

~340GB

Gigabit Ethernet

The University of Hong Kong (CSIS)

P4 2GHz x 300
P3 733MHz x 32
P2 200MHzx 18

~160GB

Fast Ethernet

 

5.       System monitoring

 

System monitoring is important to Grid applications due to the highly dynamic nature of individual components. In HKGrid, the real-time system status could either be retrieved from the Monitoring and Discovery Service (MDS) of the Globus Toolkit (GT) (http://gideon.csis.hku.hk/LDAPExplorer/), or from the Ganglia Toolkit (http://gideon.csis.hku.hk/hkgrid/). The MDS service supports a variety of GT-based applications, while the Ganglia Toolkit features comprehensive graphical interfaces (for system administration) and the use of XML data format (for application development). Fig. 2 is a snapshot of the HKGrid¡¦s status produced by Ganglia.

 

Fig. 2: System status of HKGrid (http://gideon.csis.hku.hk/hkgrid/)

 

6.       Future work

 

The progress of constructing the HKGrid test bed indicates the commitment of the participating institutions on Grid computing research and development. We wish to finish the remaining construction work (e.g., migration from GT 2 to 3, etc.) and to start experimenting new Grid middleware and applications in the coming months. In particular, we are currently designing several research prototypes: (1) a software management toolkit for remote, on-demand, construction of execution environments on computational Grids; (2) a Grid-enabled simulation platform for building intelligent transportation systems; (3) the G-Pass, an instance-oriented security system for supporting mobile agent applications on Grids; and (4) the G-JavaMPI, a Grid middleware for supporting Java process migration and post-migration message redirection.