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May 8 – 12, 2023
Norfolk Waterside Marriott
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Modular toolsets for integrating HPC clusters in experiment control systems

May 8, 2023, 11:15 AM
Marriott Ballroom IV (Norfolk Waterside Marriott)

Marriott Ballroom IV

Norfolk Waterside Marriott

235 East Main Street Norfolk, VA 23510
Oral Track 7 - Facilities and Virtualization Track 7 - Facilities and Virtualization


Dr Al-Turany, Mohammad (GSI)


New particle/nuclear physics experiments require a massive amount of computing power that is only achieved by using high performance clusters directly connected to the data acquisition systems and integrated into the online systems of the experiments. However, integrating an HPC cluster into the online system of an experiment means: Managing and synchronizing thousands of processes that handle the huge throughput. In this work, modular components that can be used to build and integrate such a HPC cluster in the experiment control systems (ECS) will be introduced.

The Online Device Control library (ODC) [1] in combination with the Dynamic Deployment System (DDS) [2, 3] and FairMQ [4] message queuing library offers a sustainable solution for integrating HPC cluster controls into an ECS.

DDS as part of the ALFA framework [5] is a toolset that automates and significantly simplifies a dynamic deployment of user-defined processes and their dependencies on any resource management system (RMS) using a given process graph (topology). Where ODC is the tool to control and communicate with a topology of FairMQ processes using DDS. ODC is designed to act as a broker between a high level experiment control system and a low level task management system e.g.: DDS.

In this presentation the architecture of both DDS and ODC will be discussed, as well as the design decisions taken based on the experience gained of using these tools on production by the ALICE experiment at CERN to deploy and control thousands of processes (tasks) on the Event Processing Nodes cluster (EPN) during Run3 as a part of the ALICE O2 software ecosystem [6].

1. FairRootGroup, “ODC git repository”, Last accessed 14th of November 2022:
2. FairRootGroup, “DDS home site”, Last accessed 14th of November 2022:
3. FairRootGroup, “DDS source code repository”, Last accessed 14th of November 2022:
4. FairMQ, “FairMQ git repository”, Last accessed 14th of November 2022:
5. ALICE Technical Design Report (2nd of June 2015), Last accessed 14th of November:

Consider for long presentation No

Primary authors

Manafov, Anar (GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research) Dr Al-Turany, Mohammad (GSI) Mr Klein, Dennis (GSI) Mr Rybalchenko, Alexey (GSI)

Presentation materials

Peer reviewing