C-Sharifi Cluster Engine: The Second Success Story on "Kernel-Level Paradigm" for Distributed Computing Support
Contrary to two school of thoughts in providing system software support for distributed computation that advocate either the development of a whole new distributed operating system (like Mach), or the development of library-based or patch-based middleware on top of existing operating systems (like MPI, Kerrighed and Mosix), Dr. Mohsen Sharifi hypothesized another school of thought as his thesis in 1986 that believes all distributed systems software requirements and supports can be and must be built at the Kernel Level of existing operating systems; requirements like Ease of Programming, Simplicity, Efficiency, Accessibility, etc which may be coined as Usability. Although the latter belief was hard to realize, a sample byproduct called DIPC was built purely based on this thesis and openly announced to the Linux community worldwide in 1993. This was admired for being able to provide necessary supports for distributed communication at the Kernel Level of Linux for the first time in the world, and for providing Ease of Programming as a consequence of being realized at the Kernel Level. However, it was criticized at the same time as being inefficient. This did not force the school to trade Ease of Programming for Efficiency but instead tried hard to achieve efficiency, alongside ease of programming and simplicity, without defecting the school that advocates the provision of all needs at the kernel level. The result of this effort is now manifested in the C-Sharifi Cluster Engine.
C-Sharifi is a cost effective distributed system software engine in support of high performance computing by clusters of off-the-shelf computers. It is wholly implemented in Kernel, and as a consequence of following this school, it has Ease of Programming, Ease of Clustering, Simplicity, and it can be configured to fit as best as possible to the efficiency requirements of applications that need high performance. It supports both distributed shared memory and message passing styles, it is built in Linux, and its cost/performance ratio in some scientific applications (like meteorology and cryptanalysis) has shown to be far better than non-kernel-based solutions and engines (like MPI, Kerrighed and Mosix).
C-Sharifi Development Team