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Grid Computing at Texas Tech University using SAS. Ron Bremer Jerry Perez Phil Smith Peter Westfall* Director, Center for Advanced Analytics and Business Intelligence Texas Tech University. What is Grid Computing?.

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grid computing at texas tech university using sas

Grid Computing at Texas Tech University using SAS

Ron Bremer

Jerry Perez

Phil Smith

Peter Westfall*

Director, Center for Advanced Analytics and Business Intelligence

Texas Tech University

what is grid computing
What is Grid Computing?
  • Grid computing means using multiple resources connected by the net to perform demanding calculations.
  • Example:
economies of high performance computing
Economies of High Performance Computing
  • Current fastest machine: ~40 Teraflops ($300M)
  • 10 Tflops Machines


  • Fastest Cluster at TTU: 0.1 Tflops (~$0.1M)
  • Speed of a PC 0.003 Tflops


underused resources
Underused Resources
  • Computers are everywhere, mostly idle!
  • Grid computing leverages unused resources to create an effective “Supercomputer”
  • Teraflops = (N computers) x (TFLPs per)
  • For Free! (Almost)
grid initiatives at ttu and in texas
Grid Initiatives at TTU and in Texas
  • HipCAT – High Performance Computing Across Texas
  • TIGRE – Texas Internet Grid for Research and Education
  • SORCER – Service ORienter Computing EviRonment (TTU CS dept.)
  • SAS/Connect grid
  • Consortium of Texas institutions working together to use
    • High performance computing
    • Clusters
    • Massive data storage
    • Scientific visualization
    • Grid computing.
  • Director: Phil Smith, Texas Tech University
  • Members:
    • Baylor College of Medicine
    • Rice University
    • Texas A&M University
    • Texas Tech University
    • University of Houston
    • University of Texas
    • University of Texas at Austin
    • University of Texas at Arlington
    • University of Texas at El Paso
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Texas Internet Grid for Research & Education
  • Two year project involving: UT, TTU, UH, Rice, and TAMU
  • Funding announced by the Governor in September
  • TIGRE will develop a grid software stack and policies and procedures to facilitate Texas grid computing efforts.
grid software products used at ttu
Grid Software Products Used at TTU
  • Globus
  • Jini Networking Technology
  • SAS/Connect (MPConnect), %Distribute macro
benefits of sas
Benefits of SAS
  • Ease of Use (relative to other grid products)
  • Available and applicable for many scientists in their resp. fields
  • Flexibility
    • Data base (DATA step, PROC SQL)
    • Math/Optimization (SAS/IML, SAS/OR)
    • Stat (SAS/STAT, SAS/ETS)
problems amenable to sas grid
Problems Amenable to SAS Grid
  • Replicates of Fundamental task
  • Fundamental tasks are time consuming, lots of replicates
  • Examples
    • Simulation
    • Astrophysics
    • Bioinformatics
    • Ensembles of predictive models
success story
Success Story
  • Financial Event Studies
    • Developed simulation tool to detect events
    • Simulated its performance
    • 25 hours finished in 40 minutes
    • Published in J. Fin. Econometrics
  • Old system: “Sneaker grid”
another success story portfolio analysis
Another Success Story:Portfolio Analysis
  • 300 portfolios, 50 securities each by randomly sampling securities from CRSP daily database (7.23 Gigabytes)
  • 15 models created for each of 50 securities (PROC AUTOREG of SAS/ETS), under 169 treatment settings.
  • 126,750 models and associated data steps per portfolio.
  • 500 days of continuous computing time reduced to two weeks.
  • Web articles appeared in SAS, Grid today, Next-Gen Data forum
  • Interviewed by DataBase Trends and Applications
sas grid structure
SAS Grid Structure
  • Client connects to host machines
  • Client sends replicates of fundamental task (“chunks”) to hosts
  • Hosts process chunks, send back to client
  • Client combines chunks and summarizes
sas farm
SAS Farm
  • 100 SAS machines in student lab
  • 2.66 GhZ per node
  • All have SAS software installed
  • SAS “Spawner” must be started on all
  • Avaki also installed - diagnoses problems
load balancing
Load Balancing
  • Automatically supports load balancing by farming out independent tasks to the next available resource.
  • Students never noticed that their machines were being used!
simulation based methods
Simulation-Based Methods

PROC MULTTEST of SAS/STAT(first hard-coded bootstrap?)

simulation based methods ii
Simulation-Based Methods, II
  • Adjust=simulate in GLM and MIXED
  • Posterior simulation in MIXED
toy example testing random number generators
Toy Example – Testing Random Number Generators
  • Random number generators often fail to provide independent numbers.
  • Test case: U1, U2 are Uniform on (0,1).
  • If independent, then E{6(U1-U2)2} = 1.00.
  • Check: Generate many pairs, report average (should be 1.000000)
startup windows
Startup (Windows)

1. Start Spawner:

C:\Program Files\SAS\SAS 9.1>spawner -i -comamid tcp

2. Activate Spawner:

3. Set batch log in permissions:

the distribute macro
The %Distribute Macro
  • Written by Cheryl Doninger and Randy Tobias
  • File:
  • Supporting document:

problems we have experienced
Problems We Have Experienced
  • Random crashes (client as well as hosts)
  • Diagnosing errors
  • I/O problems
  • Windows Service Pack 2 Firewall
  • Social issues (grid involves people!)
future plans
Future Plans
  • Support from business and government:
    • grid-enabled bioinformatics
    • business intelligence/data mining
  • Support HPC at TTU and in Texas