AnyScale Applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Computing Science

Abstract

The ecosystem of compute devices is highly connected, and likely to
become even more so as the internet-of-things concept is realized. There is
a single underlying global protocol for communication which enables all
connected devices to interact, i.e. internet protocol (IP). In this
project, we will create a corresponding single underlying global protocol
for computation. This will enable wireless sensors, smartphones,
laptops, servers and cloud data centres
to co-operate on what is conceptually a single task,
i.e. an AnyScale app.

A user might run an AnyScale app on her smartphone, then when the battery is running
low, or wireless connectivity becomes available, the app may shift its
computation to a cloud server automatically. This kind of runtime decision
making and taking is made possible by the AnyScale framework, which uses a
cost/benefit model and machine learning techniques to drive its
behaviour.
When the app is running on the phone, it cannot do very complex
calculations or use too much memory. However in a powerful server, the
computations can be much larger and complicated. The AnyScale app will
behave in an appropriate way based on where it is running.

In this project, we will create the tools, techniques and technology to
enable software developers to create and deploy AnyScale apps. Our first
case study will be to design a movement controller app, that allows a biped
robot with realistic humanoid limbs to 'walk' over various kinds of terrain. This
is a complex computational task - generally beyond the power of embedded
chips inside robotic limbs. Our AnyScale controller will offload
computation to computers on-board the robot, or wirelessly to nearby
servers or cloud-based systems. This is an ideal scenario for robotic
exploration, e.g. of nuclear disaster sites.

Planned Impact

The ambitious nature and large scope of the AnyScale Apps project
means that it has the potential for major impact in areas of
academia, industry, UK economy and society.


Academic beneficiaries include the programming languages, software
engineering, computer systems, machine learning and robotics
communities. These are traditional research strengths in the UK,
with world-leading individuals and groups.


Many UK companies (and international companies with UK research
outposts) may benefit from this research project.
This range includes companies specializing in
app-development (e.g. Red Hat)
compilers (e.g. Codeplay)
middleware (e.g.Oracle Research Labs Cambridge)
operating systems (e.g. Microsoft Research Cambridge) and
processor architecture (e.g. ARM).


The UK ICT market is worth £140 billion, which is worth 12% of GDP.
AnyScale Apps could cause a profound impact on software development by pioneering a fundamentally
new way of developing and deploying software for heterogeneous scale
computing environments.
This would also allow developers to
harness advantages of cloud computing without tying down
to specific service provider, in effect, help in maintaining
computational independence.
The UK Cloud Computing annual market value is predicted to grow from £2.4 billion
to £6.1 billion by 2014.
Thus it is of immense value to UK economy to have skilled, trained software engineers
working on AnyScale apps and systems - those directly trained during
the project (RAs and associated PhDs).



AnyScale apps could help promote Green ICT by building notions of energy
efficiency into cost models. Just as electric appliances have EU energy
efficiency ratings A to G, software can also be made to have analogous ratings.
This in turn would allow society to adopt responsible (ethical) computation.
Longer term, the case study using robotics will be valuable
for autonomous exploration (e.g. nuclear disaster recovery)
and prosthetic limbs (e.g. rehabilitation aftercident).
In these scenarios, bipedal robotic systems could be ideal - but
require large amounts of computation for adaptive movement.
Current systems are limited and would benefit from more intelligence due
to anyscale computation.
 
Description Building, deploying and maintaining robust distributed systems is difficult! Use of virtual machines makes things somewhat more straightforward - the AnyScale Apps project involves allowing resource constrained devices to adapt their computation to meet available resource constraints. We have demonstrated this concept on a range of applications, including robotic motion planning, smart environmental sensors and programming language runtime systems.
Exploitation Route Our resource-aware task scheduling algorithms might be useful in a variety of different contexts. Our smart sensor hardware with appropriate anyscale runtime support might be deployed in smart buildings.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

URL http://anyscale.org
 
Description Raspberry Pi based sensor boxes have been deployed as part of the University of Glasgow's smart campus infrastructure, to perform indoor environmental sensing tasks. So far a handful of devices have been deployed, with a small-scale room occupancy prediction service enabled. We intend to scale up to 250 devices, with more app-based student-focused services.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Amazon Web Services University Research Scheme
Amount $1,000 (USD)
Organisation Amazon.com 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start 01/2016 
End 12/2016
 
Description Interface Standard Innovation Voucher
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Government of Scotland 
Department Scottish Funding Council
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 03/2018
 
Title Glasgow Computing Science Environmental Sensors 
Description An integrated internet-of-things framework with a user-friendly web front-end to show current environmental status (temperature, light, sound) and room occupancy within public spaces in the university campus. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Multiple paper submissions (in progress). Glasgow smart campus redevelopment potential. Interface UK innovation bid with networks4learning (ongoing) 
URL http://sensors.anyscale.org/
 
Title MR4J Optimiser 
Description A Java-based utility to support domain-specific parallel programming abstractions (the map-reduce project in beehive-lab). This utility adapts the underlying code at runtime to improve its efficiency. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Publications arising from this work: Towards co-designed optimizations in parallel frameworks: A MapReduce case study. Colin Barrett, Christos Kotselidis, Mikel Luján. ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers 2016 (preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.09679). 
URL https://github.com/beehive-lab/map-reduce-optimiser
 
Title MapReduce for Java (MR4J) 
Description MR4J is a MapReduce software component framework class building on standard Java parallel libraries to manage the scheduling of tasks in the different phases of execution on manycore processors. An optimiser is available to reduce the overhead associated with the intermediate data without extending the API. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Publications arising from this work: Towards co-designed optimizations in parallel frameworks: A MapReduce case study. Colin Barrett, Christos Kotselidis, Mikel Luján. ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers 2016 (preprint available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.09679). 
URL https://github.com/beehive-lab/map-reduce
 
Title Tornado Virtual Machine 
Description The Tornado VM is a practical heterogeneous programming framework for automatically accelerating Java programs on heterogeneous (OpenCL-compatible) hardware. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The system is in use for data analytics research projects at various UK universities. 
URL https://github.com/beehive-lab/TornadoVM
 
Title incPy 
Description development/port of a compute-cache version of the Python 2.7 interpreter, based on earlier work from Stanford 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2014 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact ongoing academic investigation / paper submissions 
URL https://bitbucket.org/davidrobertwhite/incpy
 
Description ARM Research summit presentation 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Three researchers from the AnyScale project (Lujan, Singer, Nagarajan) gave presentations about the research project, to an audience of ARM employees and other interested parties. This raised lots of questions and potential avenues for future research e.g. in robotics.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://developer.arm.com/research/summit/previous-summits/2016/speakers
 
Description EdLambda user group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 50 programming enthusiasts attended evening workshops about programming techniques, with presentations from AnyScale research team.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://www.edlambda.co.uk/
 
Description Raspberry Pi Cloud 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Many individuals and organisations across the world (USA, India, EU) are reproducing our innovative testbed for cloud computing

Invitations to speak at Industrial and Academic events, national and international
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL http://raspberrypicloud.wordpress.com
 
Description Research presentation (Glasgow) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Clarkson presented the Tornado framework for GPU acceleration of Java code.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/research/gpg/abstracts/2016/18-05-16.txt
 
Description Researcher Lightning Talk (Glasgow) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Short presentation by project research assistant (Michala) about AnyScale research topic, providing information about an environmental sensing case study. The outcome was dissemination of information across various research groups, which led to new collaborations in further case studies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk at the MoreVMs workshop 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A presentation about Virtual Machine engineering, to a mixed academic/industrial audience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://2017.programming-conference.org/event/morevms-2017-papers-horizontal-profiling-for-virtual-m...
 
Description User Group talks 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact technical discussion, possible suggestions of industrial collaboration

Ongoing interest in our open source codebase from industry
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL http://ukjugs.org
 
Description Virtual Machine Users Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact invited talk on cloud computing to Scottish branch of VMUG

established relationship with VMUG, invited to speak at future events, made contact with local companies regarding possible future collaboration (internships etc)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.vmug.org.uk
 
Description Workshop talk (VM Meetup) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Clarkson presented the Tornado framework for OpenCL acceleration of Java programs, to an audience of industry and academics. Several people expressed an interest in integrating with this open source framework.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://vmmeetup.github.io/2016/