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Awards and Recognition | Mathematics and Computer Science

Darshan wins R&D 100 Award for 2018

Darshan has won a 2018 R&D 100 Award. The award is given by R&D magazine to the 100 top new technologies for the year, selected from 180 projects chosen as finalists.

Darshan is a joint effort of four members of Argonne’s Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) division – Philip Carns, Robert Latham, Robert Ross, and Shane Snyder– in partnership with Kevin Harms of Argonne’s Leadership Computing Facility. 

The Darshan software package enables researchers to investigate and tune the I/O behavior of complex high-performance computing (HPC) applications. A key feature of the package is its ability to run on some of the largest systems in the world, including Crays, IBM Blue Gene systems and Linux clusters.

The name Darshan is taken from a Sanskrit word for sight” or vision,” said Philip Carns, a software engineer in Argonne’s MCS division and lead of the Darshan project. With Darshan, researchers can gain valuable insights into the workload characteristics of extremely data-intensive computing applications ranging from cosmology to genome sequencing.”

Tuning I/O workloads for such systems is nontrivial; and although I/O profiling tools do exist, they are generally ill-suited for increasingly complex HPC environments. In contrast, Darshan’s modular design allows it to be easily extended to include new components in the growing I/O stack. 

Moreover, instead of costly end-to-end tracing, Darshan captures statistics such as elapsed time and access patterns for each application, deferring communication and I/O operations until after the application terminates. Darshan then unifies, compresses and stores the information in a single shared record that can be analyzed, visualized and summarized by using Darshan utilities.

With this approach, we ensure that the overhead is minimal, making Darshan well suited for deployment on production HPC systems,” Carns said.

The award winners were announced at the 2018 R&D 100 Awards and Technology Conference in Orlando, Florida, on November 16.

Three other projects at Argonne were named 2018 R&D 100 winners and one was named a finalist. See the Argonne website for further details: https://​www​.anl​.gov/​a​r​t​i​c​l​e​/​f​o​u​r​-​a​r​g​o​n​n​e​-​t​e​c​h​n​o​l​o​g​i​e​s​-​r​e​c​e​i​v​e​-​2​0​1​8​-​r​d​-​1​0​0​-​a​wards.