A team of ORNL researchers published a paper describing research seeking to improve interactions between experimental devices (e.g., neutron beam-line instruments) and traditional high-performance computing resources. The paper highlights elements from an emerging software framework and prototype of a “virtual beamline” instrument that will enable exploration of more agile instrument interfaces (e.g., to enable experiment/computational steering).
Significance and Impact
There is an unprecedented promise of enhanced capabilities for federations of leadership computing systems and experimental science facilities by leveraging software technologies for fast and efficient operations. These federations seek to unify different science instruments, both computing and experimental, to effectively support science users and operators to execute complex workflows. The FedScI project addresses the software challenges associated with the formation and operation of federated environments by leveraging recent advances in containerization of software and softwarization of hardware. We propose a software framework to streamline the federation usage by science users and it’s provisioning and operations by facility providers. A distinguishing element of our work is the support for improved interaction between experimental devices, such as beam-line instruments, and more traditional high-performance computing resources, including compute, network, storage systems. We present guiding principles for the software framework and highlight portions of a current prototype implementation. We describe our science use case involving neutron imaging beam lines (SNAP/BL-3, Imaging/CG-1D) at the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Additionally, we detail plans for a more direct instrument interaction within a federated environment, which could enable more advanced workflows with feedback loops to shorten the time to science.
- The paper presents challenges for the federation of science instruments/resources and a proposed design for a software framework to aid in the formation and operation of federated environments.
- The component-based software architecture is described along with highlights from an initial prototype implementation (e.g., Federation Manager, Resource Providers/Brokers).
- The driver for this work is based on a science use case from SNS/HFIR that involves neutron imaging beam-lines. This explores capabilities for improving the interface to these experimental devices, while maintaining practical requirements for device control and site security policies.
- The paper describes plans for a “virtual beamline” instrument based on the EPICS distributed control system that is used at SNS and many other experimental facilities. The approach leverages the Resource Provider/Broker capabilities outlined in the software framework sections.
- This “virtual beamline” will enable exploration of more agile instrument interfaces for computational steering and offers domain scientists the ability to explore preliminary ideas using past results without requiring the physical instrument (e.g., “replay mode” with past datasets to explore different viewing angles).
This work is addressing the software challenges associated with the formation and operation of federated environments by leveraging recent advances in containerization of software and softwarization of hardware. We designed the basis for a component-based federated software stack and developed an initial implementation of several components. The project has created containerized versions of science applications that are used for the analysis of data generated by the imagining instruments at SNS/HFIR, e.g., SNAP/BL-3, IMAGE/CG-1D. Additionally, a virtual testbed was created for federation experiments that enable investigators to attach containerized workloads with virtual instruments, while simulating various network properties of the federated environment. We designed and developed an initial prototype of a “virtual beamline” instrument based on the EPICS1 distributed control system that is used at SNS and many other experimental facilities. This “virtual beamline” will enable exploration of more agile instrument interfaces for computational steering and offers domain scientists the ability to explore preliminary ideas using past results without requiring the physical instrument (e.g., “replay mode” with past datasets to explore different viewing angles).
Last Updated: January 19, 2021 - 12:05 pm