User Environment Tracking and Problem Detection with XALT

Date and Time: 
2015 April 14 @ 11:00am
FL2-1022 Large Auditorium
Robert McLay

XALT is a product to help sites understand individual users’ software needs, then leverages that understanding to help stakeholders conduct business in a more efficient, effective, and systematic way. It builds on work that is already improving the user experience and enhancing support programs for thousands of users on twelve supercomputers across the United States and Europe. XALT instruments individual jobs on high-end computers to generate a picture of the compilers, libraries, and other software that users need to run their jobs successfully. It will highlight the products researchers need and do not need, and alert users and support staff to the root causes of software configuration issues as soon as the problems occur. A key objective of this work is generating the information needed to improve efficiency and effectiveness for an extensive community of stakeholders including users, sponsoring institutions, support organizations, and development teams. Efficiency, effectiveness, and responsible stewardship each require a clear picture of users’ needs. XALT is an important step in the quest to achieve that clarity.

Speaker Description: 

Doctor Robert McLay received bachelors and masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D in Engineering Mechanics from The University of Texas at Austin. His research include C++ software development, regression testing, and software tools, all related to large parallel numerical simulation codes. In particular, he has done work in parallel finite-element programs solving incompressible fluid flow and heat transfer.

His interest in software tools and support of HPC programming environments has lead to his development of Lmod, a modern replacement for Environment Modules system. Lmod's major advantages are protect all users from loading incompatible software without hindering experts. This work as lead to an interest in tracking the software usage through the module system.

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