With the presence of about 20 undergraduate and postgraduate including Phd professors the FOSS Competence Center left its mark on the biggest internet event of the Latin America, the Campus Party. The members who attended the event offered speeches and courses in the areas of development and open source software. Our triumph were the grid computing mobilization, coordinated by the professor Wagner Meira from UFMG, he and professor Fabio Kon from IME/USP conducted a speech at the main stage, inviting everyone present to offer computational power for the Folding@Home project
InteGrade at Campus Party Brasil 2009
It was a very subtle participation, not to mention a small one, to have InteGrade running only in 10 of the almost 4 thousand machines of the Campus Party. Yet, among us, the unanimous felling of the importance and gratefulness of this experience prevailed. Designed to leverage the idle power of commodity machines the middleware faced multiple challenges. It happened during the second edition of Brazillian Campus Party, where we used the grid as a platform and an example for a 12-hour course about Grid Computing, given by InteGrade team members. The goal was to explain the main concepts of this particular subject, including how to develop, deploy, and test parallel/distributed applications in a real grid.
Prof. Fabio Kon (IME/USP) and Prof. Wagner Meira (UFMG) gave two overview lectures about Grid Computing, the first one in the Free Software arena, targeted at software developers interested in Free and Open Source Software, and the second in the main Campus Party arena, for the general audience.
In the next day, the courses started. About 30 people came to see the introduction to Computational Grids and Cloud Computing given by Prof. Raphael Camargo (UFABC). After this introduction, participants were invited to work together with InteGrade developers to have the middleware installed on their machines. For those who use Linux, the installation was performed using the ig-deployer, but since it's still in a beta testing version, it failed in some cases in which manual installation was carried out. On other platforms, we offered a virtual machine using Virtual Box powered with Ubuntu 8.10 and InteGrade. Several attendees tried to install InteGrade and the majority who did it was successful. A few of them came on the other day, when Fabricio Sousa gave his lecture on the MPI framework and launched a challenge based on the Game of Life (GoF). The plan was that participants would develop a simple simulation of the GoF using the MPI technology and run their programs on the grid. Unfortunately, it seems that Campus Party participants were too busy with the dozens of lectures and activities happening 24 hours per day and were not very interested in spending several hours to solve our challenge. But the InteGrade team didn't fail :) and the parallel Game of Life we developed can be found. You can see the progress of the game in this . The original image and the one it generated can be seen bellow (resized to 25%).
Despite the successes and failures, our Campus Party experience was very enlightening on behalf of InteGrade challenges for the future. During these days we where happy to see grid's merits and some flaws, too. It was the first time ig-deployer were in production and, even with some bugs noticed, its good functionalities prevailed. The observations on the grid's behavior were very important and will set the ground for the work to come. But the gains were not just technical, but also personal. Our undergrads, grads and professors left the Campus Party taking with them several lessons learned, and eager to have the grid on production like that once more.
Image after some iterations