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Massively Parallel Automated Debugging On IBM Blue Gene

Rogue Wave Software has announced a pre-release version of its TotalView massively parallel, interactive, and automated debugging tool optimized for the IBM Blue Gene/Q-based Sequoia supercomputer. Partnering with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM, the three organizations have worked in parallel to define the debugging interfaces and port the TotalView debugger simultaneously alongside the development of the Blue Gene/Q hardware.

Due to be unveiled later in 2012, Sequoia is expected to deliver 20 petaflops at peak performance levels, double the speed of the fastest system currently on the TOP500 list. LLNL plans to use Sequoia's computational capability to advance the understanding of fundamental physics and engineering questions that arise in the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) program to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the United States' nuclear deterrent without testing.

Rogue Wave describes TotalView as a comprehensive parallel source code debugging and memory error detection tool designed to enhance developer productivity by simplifying the process of debugging parallel, data-intensive, multi-process, multi-threaded, or network-distributed applications.

"Our software development teams create some of the most sophisticated computational models of physical systems anywhere. These models represent many physical effects and span large scales in both time and space," says Jim Rathkopf, associate program director of computational physics at LLNL. "Understanding what's happening in these large, multi-physics codes running on thousands of processors is really hard, especially when things aren't working correctly. We rely on tools provided by folks like Rogue Wave to help us develop our codes and verify that they are working correctly, but also to find problems that come up both in development and production."

As LLNL takes delivery of the Sequoia system and works to move it into production, they will be migrating applications that have been running on earlier systems (Blue Gene/L and Dawn, or Blue Gene/P) to the newer architecture, Blue Gene/Q. This is a period of intense activity for the software teams as they gain experience with the new hardware and software environment. Providing debugging capability on the Blue Gene/Q architecture involved collaboratively designing an interface called CDTI (Code Development and Tools Interface), which was then implemented by IBM and used by Rogue Wave in porting TotalView.

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