High-Performance Data Analysis Tools for Sun-Earth Connection Missions
- Monday, 24 October 2011
Applications include medical image analysis, hyperspectral imaging, wildlife tracking, and sensor data processing.
The data analysis tool of choice for
many Sun-Earth Connection missions is
the Interactive Data Language (IDL) by
ITT VIS. The increasing amount of data
produced by these missions and the
increasing complexity of image processing
algorithms requires access to higher
computing power. Parallel computing is a
cost-effective way to increase the speed of
computation, but algorithms oftentimes
have to be modified to take advantage of
parallel systems. Enhancing IDL to work
on clusters gives scientists access to
increased performance in a familiar programming
environment. The goal of this
project was to enable IDL applications to
benefit from both computing clusters as
well as graphics processing units (GPUs)
for accelerating data analysis tasks.
The tool suite developed in this project
enables scientists now to solve
demanding data analysis problems in
IDL that previously required specialized
software, and it allows them to be solved
orders of magnitude faster than on conventional
PCs. The tool suite consists of
three components: (1) TaskDL, a software
tool that simplifies the creation and
management of task farms, collections of
tasks that can be processed independently
and require only small amounts of data
communication; (2) mpiDL, a tool that
allows IDL developers to use the Message
Passing Interface (MPI) inside IDL for
problems that require large amounts of
data to be exchanged among multiple
processors; and (3) GPULib, a tool that
simplifies the use of GPUs as mathematical
co-processors from within IDL.
mpiDL is unique in its support for the full MPI standard and its support of a broad range of MPI implementations. GPULib is unique in enabling users to take advantage of an inexpensive piece of hardware, possibly already installed in their computer, and achieve orders of magnitude faster execution time for numerically complex algorithms. TaskDL enables the simple setup and management of task farms on compute clusters.
The products developed in this project have the potential to interact, so one can build a cluster of PCs, each equipped with a GPU, and use mpiDL to communicate between the nodes and GPULib to accelerate the computations on each node.
This work was done by Peter Messmer of Tech-X Corporation for Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-15749-1
This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
High-Performance Data Analysis Tools for Sun-Earth Connection Missions (reference GSC-15749-1) is currently available for download from the TSP library.
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