9 October 2018

The next generation DAS, DAS-6, will get funding! For details, see the DAS Achievements page. DAS-6 is expected to become operational in the second half of 2020.

May, 2016

IEEE Computer publishes paper about 20 years of Distributed ASCI Supercomputer. See the DAS Achievements page.

DAS-6 gets funding!

The Dutch Science organization NWO has announced that the DAS-6 proposal submitted by the DAS steering committee, headed by prof. Henri Bal of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, will receive EUR 500.000 funding to build the next-generation high performance computing infrastructure. The DAS-6 project partners (VU, UvA, Leiden, Delft, ASTRON, SURFsara and NLeSC) will together also invest over EUR 500.000 themselves in DAS-6. This will be the sixth time that a single project receives funding from the very competitive NWO program, which is quite an achievement.

The challenge of the new DAS-6 project is to study the feasibility of a next generation trusted ecosystem to face the proliferation of many developments in Computer Science, such as streaming applications, edge and fog computing, in-network processing, and complex security and trust policies. The DAS-6 research ecosystem will consist of 6 clusters with different functionalities, integrated into a coherent shared distributed system that is designed to fit the current research agenda of numerous Computer Science groups in The Netherlands. Over 60 funded research projects will use DAS-6 once it is operational, especially in systems areas like trust, security, blockchains, scheduling, big data, Internet-of-Things, and accelerators and in application areas like artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning (DL), and eScience.

The DAS steering committee will now work hard on starting the procurement procedure. DAS-6 is expected to become operational in the second half of 2020. This site will be updated to represent DAS-6 when it becomes operational. Until then, our current DAS-5 system is described here.

IEEE Computer: 20 years of DAS

The May 2016 issue of IEEE Computer Society’s flagship journal Computer contained an extensive research paper describing the history and impact of the Distributed ASCI Supercomputer (DAS). The paper is based on Henri Bal’s keynote talk upon the receipt of the Euro-Par Achievement Award and is written by the steering committee of DAS. It explains how DAS is unique in the world: because of its moderate scale (200 nodes spread over 6 clusters), we were able to build five successive generations that each were consistent with the research agenda at the time. By favouring coherence over scale, DAS enabled ground-braking Computer Science research for almost 2 decades, resulting in numerous awards and over 100 Ph.D. theses. The central organization through the ASCI research school was crucial to this success. These modest long-term investments in Computer Science infrastructure, from DAS-1 (built in 1997) to DAS-5 (2015), thus have proven to be extremely effective.

If you have used DAS for your research, please refer to this paper:

Henri Bal, Dick Epema, Cees de Laat, Rob van Nieuwpoort, John Romein, Frank Seinstra, Cees Snoek, and Harry Wijshoff:
"A Medium-Scale Distributed System for Computer Science Research: Infrastructure for the Long Term",
IEEE Computer, Vol. 49, No. 5, pp. 54-63, May 2016.
A draft version of this paper is here.

DAS-5 Overview

DAS-5 (The Distributed ASCI Supercomputer 5) is a six-cluster wide-area distributed system designed by the Advanced School for Computing and Imaging (ASCI). DAS-5 is funded by NWO/NCF (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research), and the participating universities and organizations (see below). As one of its distinguishing features, DAS-5 employs a number of HPC Accelerators (e.g., currently various GPU types, FPGA's are also planned) and a internal wide-area OpenFlow interconnect based on light paths.

The goal of DAS-5 is to provide a common computational infrastructure for researchers within ASCI, who work on various aspects of parallel, distributed, grid and cloud computing, and large-scale multimedia content analysis. The following institutes and organisations are directly involved in the realization and running of DAS-5:

DAS-5 cluster at VU University, Amsterdam
DAS-5 clusters at UvA/UvA-MN, Amsterdam