#IloveFS Day: Interview

Most people know February 14th as Valentine’s Day. However, for some years now, it is also the day to show appreciation for Free Software and its contributers: “I Love Free Software Day” creates the opportunity to express gratitude and show appreciation for Free Software.

Free and open-source software plays an important role in the REGALE project. That’s why we asked two members from the REGALE consortium about the software they work on within the REGALE project.

We spoke to Dr. Bruno Raffin, Research Director at the French National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (INRIA) and Dr. Federico Tesser, HPC Specialist at the Italian computing center CINECA.

Which open-source tool does your organization bring into the REGALE project?

Bruno: Melissa (https://gitlab.inria.fr/melissa/melissa) is an open-source framework, co-developed between INRIA and EDF, but all contributions are welcome. Melissa is used in three pilot applications in the REGALE project.

Federico: The software CINECA brings into the REGALE project is called COUNTDOWN (https://github.com/EEESlab/countdown). It is a tool for identifying and automatically reducing the power consumption of the computing elements during MPI communications.

What role do you play in the development of that software?

Bruno: I personally lead the Melissa team, oversee Melissa’s scientific and technical development directions, and still manage to code once in a while (not as much as what I would like though).

Federico: I am the main developer of COUNTDOWN.

Did REGALE help you to develop the software further? How?

Bruno: Yes, with Regale we pushed the development of Melissa in particular for deep surrogate training with two top level publications at SC23 and ICML’23, thanks to an amazing team.

Federico: Our work in REGALE helped definitely a lot with the further development of COUNTDOWN. We moved from a one tool perspective to a collaborative one. We had to deal with other tools and make them interact in the same environment. Moreover, with the development of the REGALE library, me moved a step forward, managing collaboration among different developers from different tools and research centers, to build something in common, which has the goal to substitute tool to tool integrations, and let the tools “speak” among each other, using a new standard and a new communication layer.

Is there any Free Software project you appreciate a lot and want to mention here?

Bruno: The Guix transactional packager manager (https://guix.gnu.org/) for packaging, compiling and deploying complex applications. We recently wrote a package for Melissa, now in the guix-hpc channel (https://hpc.guix.info/). We are still learning how to fully master Guix, but it should eventually make application portability much less painful and time consuming.

Federico: Likwid (https://hpc.fau.de/research/tools/likwid/) is a performance monitoring and benchmarking suite that we use to compare COUNTDOWN output for the performance monitoring part which is very helpful for us.