Peer-to-peer. These words are unleashing in France a fight between the legislators and the developers. And this old – I say old because it was written in 2001, and 7 years is old for a book on this topic – book presented me the issues debated in journals, blogs, … in a new way.
In my lab, we frequently process huge amounts of data, each process can take hours or days. The problem is that we don’t have a usable tool to do this.
Our legacy software is in C and we plan on moving to Python in the next weeks. We could use some commercial software, but it is not optimal.
This is where P2P comes into the game. We have a lot of unused computers or dual cores that are not used even at 50% because we are not trained in parallel computing (and we won’t in the near future). By “we”, I mainly mean PhD students. Our background is signal or image processing, not Computer Science and even less parallel computing. Those unused computers could be used for our computations, but this implies that the computer is only used if nobody works on it, that we only use what is available at a precise moment, and that some computers may get used during the computations. That’s why P2P seems an elegant idea, as a grid computing tool.
P2P computation is not new in the lab (we developed P2P-MPI in Java for instance), but for our team, it is. For the time being, I did not find much about the tools that we could use, but the JXTA protocol seems a good start. I hope I will be able to talk more about this subject in the near future.