MS gives NCSA $250k for NT parallel PSE project

Rohit Khare (
Tue, 03 Mar 1998 01:51:37 -0800

$200k cash, $50k SW for NCSA's Symbio NT/DCOM drone form. N.B. the bit about
the National Technology Grid of supers, visualizers, and researchers. Seems
like it culd use a resource reservation layer, right, Adam?


What is Symbio?

Symbio is a standards-based method for providing parallel computing resources
on a cluster of Windows NT machines. Symbio also provides access to idle CPU
cycles on machines which are distributed across an NT domain.

What platforms does it support?

Windows NT 4.0 SP3 (workstation or server).

What platforms will it support?

The current version of Symbio (pre-1.0) is only available for the Windows NT
4.0 platform. A future version may allow the running of jobs on any Java VM,
depending on the resources available for development.


Microsoft Research Increases Support for NCSA Symbio Software

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Feb. 18, 1998 - The National Center
for Supercomputing
Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign today
announced that Microsoft Corp. has tripled its support
of Symbio™, a
cluster computing application under development at the

NCSA received $150,000 in cash and $50,000 in software
documentation and technical support. Last year, NCSA
used a $50,000 cash
grant from Microsoft to begin development of the Symbio
distributed computing
and application development environment.

"We are excited to be a supporter of NCSA's research,"
said Jim Gray, a senior
researcher at Microsoft Research. "The Microsoft award
continues our
participation in the worldwide research community.
Symbio takes advantage of
Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model, making
it easy to build and run
parallel and distributed applications. NCSA is taking a
true leadership position in
the movement to use commodity hardware and software for
large-scale scientific

Larry Smarr, director of NCSA and the National
Computational Science Alliance,
said the support from Microsoft will help bring new
tools to the national user
community, creating new ways for scientists to conduct
their research.

"Symbio supports applications that execute massive
computations," Smarr said.
"Symbio and tools like it give scientists a new realm
of options. We are
enthusiastic about working with

Microsoft to bring such an important tool to our
research partners in the Alliance
and to the national user community."

Symbio runs the applications by monitoring the activity
on networked computers
and making use of unused cycles in idle machines.
Symbio runs on the
Microsoft Windows NT operating system, a platform
that many institutions
have already invested in.

"Symbio is an application of the Distributed Component
Object Model (DCOM)
to define, manage and interact with parallel jobs
running in a cluster," said
Briand Sanderson, an NCSA researcher and Symbio
technical program manager.

Symbio is expected to play a major role in the
construction of the National
Technology Grid, a prototype of 21st century
communication and computational
infrastructure being developed by the alliance. The
grid will integrate
high-performance computers, visualization environments
and other
computational science resources across the nation to
form the most powerful
problem-solving environments ever created.

The first public release of Symbio is expected this
spring. Symbio is currently in
beta testing at several sites. Further information and
a developer preview are
available at