Doug Eadline wrote a cluster rant recently entitled “A Cluster in your Pocket“, talking about the possibility of “What if your cell phone could bring you real time results from a supercomputer?”
We’ve actually idly chatted about such things in the Open MPI community for a while. It would be tremendously fun to write an iPhone/Android app that could talk to an MPI implementation and/or application. Perhaps a good starting point would be to have the MPI implementation talk to an iPhone/Android phone.
Indeed, a simple first feature might well be push notifications when an MPI job completes. Open MPI supports “notifier” plugins that exactly fit this use-case scenario. We just need someone to write a notifier that sends an iPhone/Android push notification.
Any takers? Ping me; I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
A next step would be conveying the actual results of the run to your phone — a text message, or a maybe a full app that conveys full, visual, meaningful results on your phone (i.e., not just the fact that the job completed). Such an app may end up being application-specific, but perhaps a app could be constructed that could display several different kinds of results (e.g., X-Y data that can be easily graphed on the phone) such that MPI application developers could output some/all of their results in one of the supported formats that could then be pushed out to a mobile device.
Imagine: your MPI job completes and sends a 2D graph summary of results to your phone. You can take a quick look at it, pinch zoom to look at some of the data points closely, and think, “Hum. That looks right.” Or you think, “That’s bad!” and make a phone call to a colleague to re-start the job with a new data set.
Mmmm… what if you could re-submit the job from your phone?
Ok, a) submitting a job is probably a really, really complex issue, and b) perhaps that type of feature is better suited to a parallel environment’s resource manager than the MPI implementation. But hey — MPI is the hammer that I have, so why not start there?
Who’s got a few cycles to try out some of these ideas? (I wish I did!)