Guix-HPC at FOSDEM

Ludovic Courtès — January 29, 2018

GNU Guix will be present at FOSDEM, the main yearly free software developer conference in Europe, and in particular in the HPC track.

Last year, Pjotr Prins and I gave a general overview of Guix in HPC and how it differs from other solutions. This year’s talk, entitled Tying software deployment to scientific workflows—Using Guix to make software deployment a first-class citizen, will cover topics beyond mere “package management”:

Package management, container provisioning, and workflow execution are often viewed as related but separate activities. This talk is about using Guix to integrate reproducible software deployment in scientific workflows.

In HPC, tools usually focus exclusively on one of these aspects: Spack or EasyBuild manage packages, Singularity or Shifter deal with containers, and SLURM, CWL, or Galaxy mostly leave it up to users to deploy their software.

While the initial tooling of GNU Guix is about package management, we have grown it into a toolkit that, broadly speaking, allows developers to integrate reproducible software deployment into their applications—as opposed to leaving it up to the user.

In this talk I will illustrate the benefits of this approach with examples from recent work from the Guix-HPC effort. This ranges from the guix pack container provisioning tool, to the Guix Workflow Language (GWL), which incorporates deployment as a key aspect of workflow management. I will discuss how we could make these tools key components of broader reproducible scientific workflows as demonstrated by projects such as ActivePapers, ReScience, or NextJournal.

The HPC track is full of exciting talks about software deployment, in particular by developers of EasyBuild, Spack, and Modules, and experience reports notably around Nix. The track opens with a talk by Kenneth Hoste of EasyBuild, who will bravely attempt to summarize the key differences between all these tools.

Additionally, Kenneth kindly invited us to the 3rd EasyBuild User Meeting, which takes place before FOSDEM. Ricardo Wurmus and Pjotr Prins will share their experience using Guix in HPC with users and developers of EasyBuild and related tools.

An exciting week for software deployment in HPC!

  • MDC
  • Inria
  • UBC