TeraBit April 1994

Table of Contents


Mass Storage Facility Dedication

On Wednesday, February 2, 1994, a delegation of Board of Regents of UCCSN and UNLV Administration dedicated the newly installed StorageTek 4410 System at the NSCEE.

This mass storage unit, designed and manufactured by Storage Technology Corporation of Louisville, Colorado, is the first of its kind in Nevada. The new mass storage facility arrived at the Supercomputing Center on December 20, 1993 and was available for general use on December 23, 1993. The "Silo" keeps large amounts of data only seconds, away 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The advanced robotics in StorageTek's Automated Cartridge System retrieves and delivers cartridges in an average robotic service time of 11 seconds. The Silo provides storage for the Cray, Convex, Sun, and SGI high-performance computing systems at the Center.

The Silo will be used primarily for storage of large scientific data sets generated during modeling and simulation of global change phenomena, computational fluid dynamics, propulsion, computational chemistry, fossil energy studies including combustion, vehicle safety analysis, transportation systems and road design, geologic studies, condensed matter physics, materials performance, astrophysics, genetics, and study of ecology.

The Silo offers a level of cost/performance never before achieved in data storage, dependability, availability, and security.


NYE OS Upgraded

by Michael Ekedahl, Software Systems Analyst

The operating system on nye was recently upgraded from SunOS 4.1.3 to Solaris 2.3. This upgrade has resulted in some changes in the operating environment. Essentially, Sun has migrated its operating system from a BSD based environment to a System V Release 4 environment, although most of the BSD functionality has been preserved to allow the user community a smooth transition to Solaris.

The most significant change exists within the Unix kernel itself. The implementation of SunOS 4.1.3 on the 4 processor 6/690 used mutual exclusion locks (known as nmutexes) to synchronize the kernel among the 4 processors. There was effectively a single lock around the entire kernel. On a busy system, like nye, these locks became bottlenecks such that the additional processors would block, waiting on kernel resources.

Instead of placing locks on segments of code, Solaris 2.3 uses data locking (locks are placed in data structures rather than code), in addition to code locking. Solaris 2 has about 150 different data locks. Thus, the amount of concurrency in the kernel significantly increases.

The net result of this from a user perspective is improved response time from operating system calls, since the probability of encountering a lock is reduced.

In the future, the Solaris environment will scale well to larger numbers of processors.

Some of the other changes and improvements made to the Solaris system include:


UNLV Engineering Days

by Sam West, AIC, Cray Research Inc.


Just a few of the many high school students
to visit NSCEE during recent Engineering Days at UNLV

During the recent Engineering Days at UNLV (February 20 through February 26, 1994), we were pleased to welcome Cray Research, Inc. as a participant.

Cray had two tour stations in the event. Tour stop 1 was in the Great Hall and was manned by Mike Feuerstein and Jim McAlister both from Cray Research. Mike presented informational videos on a wide variety of research and production being performed on Cray Research supercomputers, while Jim was handing out Cray informational literature and posters.





Mike Long, CRAY RESEARCH, INC., speaking with, and demonstrating Cray's MPGS software to many of the more than 400 high school students that attended UNLV Engineering Days.

The other tour stop was located in NSCEE's Visualization Lab and was manned by Mike Long and Gene Fleischmann from Cray Research. Mike demonstrated Cray's MPGS software to many of the more than 400 high students that attended the two day event, while Gene presented Cray's UniChem, computational chemistry visualization software.


UniChem Seminar

by Sam West, AIC, Cray Research Inc.

Cray Research, Inc. and the National Supercomputing Center for Energy and the Environment recently collaborated in an informal seminar on the subject of `UniChem and Computational Chemistry on Cray Research Supercomputers.' UniChem is Cray's computational chemistry visualization software.

Gene Fleischmann, a Cray Analyst from Princeton, New Jersey, came to UNLV to make the presentation, which coincided with UNLV's Engineering Days.

Gene was able to use one of NSCEE's Silicon Graphics workstations along with an overhead projector to demonstrate the power and ease of use of this software.

The seminar was attended by UNLV's chemistry faculty, students and chemists from the EPA.


CLIPS 6.0 installed on clark

CLIPS, or C Language Integrated Production System, is an expert system tool developed by the Software Technology Branch (STB), NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Since its first release in 1986, CLIPS has undergone continual refinement and improvement. It is now used by thousands of people around the world. The Internet news group comp.ai.shells often has discussions of CLIPS. NASA supports CLIPS and other software products developed by the STB through the STB Bulletin Board (cf).

CLIPS is designed to facilitate the development of software to model human knowledge or expertise.

There are three ways to represent knowledge in CLIPS:

You can develop software using only rules, only objects, or a mixture of objects and rules.

CLIPS has also been designed for full integration with other languages such as C and Ada. The rules and objects form an integrated system. Because the rules can pattern-match on facts and objects, it can be used as a stand-alone tool. CLIPS can be called from a procedural language, perform its function, and then return control back to the calling program. Likewise, procedural code can be defined as external functions and called from CLIPS. When external code completes execution, control returns to CLIPS.

If you are already familiar with object-oriented programming in other languages such as C++, Smalltalk, Object C, or Turbo Pascal, you know the advantages of objects in developing software. If you are not familiar with object-oriented programming, you will find that CLIPS is an excellent tool for learning this new concept in software development.

For further information, please see the CLIPS 6.0 documentation located in room A-308 at NSCEE. Also, see the clips man (1) page for a quick description of the clips and xclips commands.



NCSA Mosaic installed at NSCEE

by Julio Pereda, WWW Project Leader UNLV

The NSCEE is pleased to announce that our World Wide Web (WWW) server
(
http://www.nscee.edu/) is available for public access. Our WWW team is currently working with UNLV departments to provide valuable information to the Internet about UNLV and NSCEE.

NSCEE is offering regular seminars on Mosaic. To receive a schedule, call (702) 895-4153 or send e-mail to www@aurora.nscee.edu.

There are many entry points to our WWW server. Local users may prefer setting their Mosaic (or other browser's) home page to <http://www.nscee.edu/home.html> as it has many links to resources available on the Internet. The direct link to information about UNLV is <http://www.nscee.edu/>, and for information about the NSCEE: <http://www.nscee.edu/nscee/>.

NCSA Mosaic is installed on Nye (nye.nscee.edu), and can be run from any NSCEE workstation, x-terminal, or by telnet to Nye and setting your environment DISPLAY variable appropriately. The executable name is "Mosaic" (capital "M"). Microsoft Windows and Macintosh versions are also available via anonymous FTP to ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu in the /Mosaic/Windows or /Mosaic/Mac directory.

Any questions regarding running Mosaic from our systems, or setting a default "home" or start-up page should be directed to www@aurora.nscee.edu.

The following information is an excerpt from an article found on: http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/Mosaic/Docs/d2-intro.html

NCSA Mosaic is a networked information discovery, retrieval, and collaboration tool and World Wide Web browser developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Mosaic provides a hypertext interface to the global Internet. Hypertext is text which contains highlighted links, called hyperlinks or anchors, to other texts. Each highlighted phrase (in color or underlined) is a hyperlink to another document or information resource somewhere on the Net. Single click with the left mouse button on any highlighted phrase to follow the link. To follow a link, in this sense, means that Mosaic will retrieve the document associated with the selected hyperlink and display it.

The Mosaic client communicates with HTTP servers. HTTP is the HyperText Transfer Protocol of the WWW (World Wide Web). Mosaic can also communicate with more traditional Internet protocols such as FTP, Gopher, WAIS, NNTP, etc.

Mosaic also features unlimited multimedia capabilities. File types that Mosaic cannot handle internally, such as mpeg movies, sound files, Postscript documents, and JPEG images, are automatically sent to external viewers (or players).

NCSA Mosaic was originally designed and programmed for the X platform by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina at NCSA. Version 1.0 was released in April, 1993, followed by two maintenance releases during summer, 1993. Version 2.0 was released in December, 1993, along with version 1.0 releases for both the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft Windows platforms.

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