Gateways 2019 has ended
Back To Schedule
Tuesday, September 24 • 3:00pm - 3:20pm
nanoHUB@home: Expanding nanoHUB through Volunteer Computing

Sign up or log in to save this to your schedule, view media, leave feedback and see who's attending!

Volunteer computing (VC) uses consumer digital electronics products, such as PCs, mobile devices, and game consoles, for high-throughput scientific computing. Device owners participate in VC by installing a program which, in the background, downloads and executes jobs from servers operated by science projects. Most VC projects use BOINC, an open-source middleware system for VC. BOINC allows scientists create and operate VC projects and enables volunteers to participate in these projects. Volunteers install a single application (the BOINC client) and then choose projects to support. We have developed a BOINC project, nanoHUB@home, to make use of VC in support of the nanoHUB science gateway. VC has greatly expanded the computational resources available for nanoHUB simulations.

We are using VC to support “speculative exploration”, a model of computing that explores the input parameters of online simulation tools published through the nanoHUB gateway, pre-computing results that have not been requested by users. These results are stored in a cache, and when a user launches an interactive simulation our system first checks the cache. If the result is already available it is returned to the user immediately, leaving the computational resources free and not re-computing existing results. The cache is also useful for machine learning (ML) studies, building surrogate models for nanoHUB simulation tools that allow us to quickly estimate results before running an expensive simulation.

VC resources also allow us to support uncertainty quantification (UQ) in nanoHUB simulation tools, to go beyond simulations and deliver real-world predictions. Models are typically simulated with precise input values, but real-world experiments involve imprecise values for device measurements, material properties, and stimuli. The imprecise values can be expressed as a probability distribution of values, such as a Gaussian distribution with a mean and standard deviation, or an actual distribution measured from experiments. Stochastic collocation methods can be used to predict the resulting outputs given a series of probability distributions for inputs. These computations require hundreds or thousands of simulation runs for each prediction. This workload is well-suited to VC, since the runs are completely separate, but the results of all runs are combined in a statistical analysis.

Tuesday September 24, 2019 3:00pm - 3:20pm PDT
Toucan Room, Catamaran Resort