Grant : world wide grid powered by virtual ants


1  What is grant ?

1.1  Introducing grant

Grant is a research project conducted with the RTIC team from Polytech'Tours computing lab. This team main research interest is to study biomimetic alghorithms and their applications to internet.

Grant's goal is to build a world wide computing grid. There's already many CPU sharing systems like BOINC well known from its famous application SETI@home. As those systems, Grant permits computing power sharing to others but without any centralized task manager like some file sharing systems (P2P) avoid central query manager : each host linked to the grant network can handle tasks for others and submit tasks for its own purpose.

1.2  load balancing virtual ants

The main problem is the load balancing : find where each task will run to try to end it as soon as possible without locking volonteers hosts. Building a world wide grid can't be achieved with standard load balancing systems. those systems needs strictely indical computing nodes or a very high knowledge about each node at any time. Most also need a dedicated node supervisor to allocate tasks to available units.

By the way ants search for food, it is possible to break some of these needs. Each task query is handled by a virtual ant from node to node, until one accept the job. Like real ants use pheromons, a virtual ant add marks to its path during its trip. Then powerfull nodes will recieve more marks and become more attractive to other ants.

The grant network evolves from a random to a load balanced configuration without any supervisor or any hierarchical node relationship. One node failure has no effect at the grid scale other than loosing jobs running on the crashed node when failure occurs.

2  Grant status

For now grant is just an insecure task handling kernel. It supports query transport from node to node, query execution, path marking. Grant is ready for wide scale experiments but needs some sandbox to not let tasklet do anything dangerous to the nodes themself before entering a more usefull state. A very few other adds are planned since higher level services will be implements by "tasklets" to be run on the grant network.

3  Latest news

4  Getting started

Download sources or binaries.

Read build instructions when you choose sources distribution.

Read and follow installation and quickstart guide.

Write your own tasklets

And enjoy !

5  Free software

Grant is free software released under GNU Public License version 2.0

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

Special warning : application of the GNU Public License to java code (grant is designed for the java plateform) implies the free code can't run with non free code (i.e. code release under a GPL incompatible License) inside the same JVM instance. Eduvax does not intend to strictly forbid such usage but wish to be aware of it. So you have to request specific licensing when integrating grant with non free software.