Massively Parallel Monte Carlo:Experiences Running Nuclear Simulations on a Large Condor Cluster

James TICKNER, Greg HITCHEN, Joel O'DWYER, Greg ROACH, Josef UHER
2011 Progress in Nuclear Science and Technology  
The trivially-parallel nature of Monte Carlo (MC) simulations make them ideally suited for running on a distributed, heterogeneous computing environment. We report on the setup and operation of a large, cycle-harvesting Condor computer cluster, used to run MC simulations of nuclear instruments ('jobs') on approximately 4,500 desktop PCs. Successful operation must balance the competing goals of maximizing the availability of machines for running jobs whilst minimizing the impact on users' PC
more » ... ormance. This requires classification of jobs according to anticipated run-time and priority and careful optimization of the parameters used to control job allocation to host machines. To maximize use of a large Condor cluster, we have created a powerful suite of tools to handle job submission and analysis, as the manual creation, submission and evaluation of large numbers (hundred to thousands) of jobs would be too arduous. We describe some of the key aspects of this suite, which has been interfaced to the well-known MCNP and EGSnrc nuclear codes and our in-house PHOTON optical MC code. We report on our practical experiences of operating our Condor cluster and present examples of several large-scale instrument design problems that have been solved using this tool.
doi:10.15669/pnst.2.676 fatcat:ilxavg5umrhfvc5op7j6pfeyzi