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Tim Randles: "Charliecloud - A Lightweight Linux Container for User-Defined Software Stacks in HPC."

Abstract: Compute resources from the desktop to supercomputing are seeing increased demand for user-defined software stacks (UDSS), instead of or in addition to the sysadmin-provided stack. These UDSS support user needs such as complex dependencies or build requirements, externally imposed configurations, portability, and consistency. The challenge for admins is to provide these services in a usable manner while minimizing the risks: security, support burden, missing functionality, and performance.

This talk will introduce and demonstrate Charliecloud, which uses the Linux user and mount namespaces to run containers, built using industry-standard Docker or other procedures, with no privileged operations or daemons on production resources. Our simple approach avoids most security risks while maintaining access to the performance and functionality already on offer, doing so in just 900 lines of code. Charliecloud promises to bring an industry-standard UDSS workflow to existing, minimally altered compute resources.
Charliecloud is an open-source product and available now. It is currently installed on LANL's Woodchuck and Darwin clusters.

Bio: Tim Randles has been working in scientific, research, and high-performance computing for many years, first in the Department of Physics at the Ohio State University, then at the Maui High Performance Computing Center, and most recently as a member of the HPC Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His current work is focused on the convergence of the high performance and cloud computing worlds, specifically leveraging cloud computing software and methods to enhance the flexibility and usability of world-class supercomputers.

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