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Hardware and Software Architecture of The Machine

Project: The Machine

Innovations in optical interconnect and storage technologies have
prompted HP to undertake a large-scale development effort called "The
Machine". This radical departure from traditional computer
architectures which we call 'Memory-Driven Computing', where large
scales of heterogenous computation can be brought to bear on a data
set which is accessed not over a traditional network or storage
system, but rather directly from the computational elements using
memory load/store instructions.

This presentation will describe the first implementation of this
architecture, both hardware and software. On the hardware side, this
will include:

• Heterogenous computation node hardware
• Memory interconnection fabric
• Hundreds of terabytes of memory
• Network interconnect
• Top of Rack Management Server

The system software for The Machine is based on Debian GNU/Linux. The
presentation will focus on new and updated software elements while
mentioning some of the existing code that has been particularly useful:

• Two-level storage allocation system
• DAX changes needed to support large storage systems
• Concurrent file system designed for large shared memories
• Provisioning services
• The Machine Environment Simulator (TMES)

As with any research project, The Machine asks more questions than it
answers.

• How should we build data structures for storage where the
addressable persistent unit is a single byte?

• What changes are needed in the design of large-data software
systems to best take advantage of this shift from network-driven
computing to memory-driven computing?

• The Linux operating system model drives a huge range of hardware
these days. Is The Machine different enough to encourage a
different model?

Keith Packard

Keith Packard has been developing free software since 1986, working on
the X Window System, the Linux kernel and rocketry electronics. He is
currently a Distinguished Linux Technologist at HP working as the
Chief Architect for Linux on The Machine. Keith received a Usenix
Lifetime Achievement award in 1999, an O'Reilly Open Source award in
2011, sits on the X.org foundation board and is a member of the Debian
Technical Committee. He has spoken at numerous free software events
around the world, including Linux Con, the Plumber's Conference, Linux
Conf Australia, FOSDEM, FISL, Guadec, Akademy, OSCON among others.


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