Problem-solving in High Performance Computing

Problem-solving in High Performance Computing

A Situational Awareness Approach with Linux

1st Edition - September 1, 2015

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  • Author: Igor Ljubuncic
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128010648
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128010198

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Problem-Solving in High Performance Computing: A Situational Awareness Approach with Linux focuses on understanding giant computing grids as cohesive systems. Unlike other titles on general problem-solving or system administration, this book offers a cohesive approach to complex, layered environments, highlighting the difference between standalone system troubleshooting and complex problem-solving in large, mission critical environments, and addressing the pitfalls of information overload, micro, and macro symptoms, also including methods for managing problems in large computing ecosystems. The authors offer perspective gained from years of developing Intel-based systems that lead the industry in the number of hosts, software tools, and licenses used in chip design. The book offers unique, real-life examples that emphasize the magnitude and operational complexity of high performance computer systems.

Key Features

  • Provides insider perspectives on challenges in high performance environments with thousands of servers, millions of cores, distributed data centers, and petabytes of shared data
  • Covers analysis, troubleshooting, and system optimization, from initial diagnostics to deep dives into kernel crash dumps
  • Presents macro principles that appeal to a wide range of users and various real-life, complex problems
  • Includes examples from 24/7 mission-critical environments with specific HPC operational constraints


Professional system administrators, power users and developers, engineers, and solutions architects.

Table of Contents

    • Dedication
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgments
    • Introduction: data center and high-end computing
    • Chapter 1: Do you have a problem?
      • Abstract
      • Identification of a problem
      • Problem definition
      • Problem reproduction
      • Cause and effect
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 2: The investigation begins
      • Abstract
      • Isolating the problem
      • Comparison to a healthy system and known references
      • Linear versus nonlinear response to changes
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 3: Basic investigation
      • Abstract
      • Profile the system status
      • Process accounting
      • Statistics to your aid
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 4: A deeper look into the system
      • Abstract
      • Working with /proc
      • Examine kernel tunables
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 5: Getting geeky – tracing and debugging applications
      • Abstract
      • Working with strace and ltrace
      • Working with perf
      • Working with Gdb
    • Chapter 6: Getting very geeky – application and kernel cores, kernel debugger
      • Abstract
      • Collecting application cores
      • Collecting kernel cores (Kdump)
      • Crash analysis (crash)
      • Kernel debugger
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 7: Problem solution
      • Abstract
      • What to do with collected data
    • Chapter 8: Monitoring and prevention
      • Abstract
      • Which data to monitor
      • How to monitor and analyze trends
      • How to respond to trends
      • Configuration auditing
      • System data collection utilities
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 9: Make your environment safer, more robust
      • Abstract
      • Version control
      • Configuration management
      • The correct way of introducing changes into the environment
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 10: Fine-tuning the system performance
      • Abstract
      • Log size and log rotation
      • Filesystem tuning
      • The sysfs filesystem
      • Proc and sys together
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 11: Piecing it all together
      • Abstract
      • Top-down approach
      • Methodologies used
      • Tools used
      • From simple to complicated
      • Operational constraints
      • Smart practices
      • Conclusion
    • Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 320
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Morgan Kaufmann 2015
  • Published: September 1, 2015
  • Imprint: Morgan Kaufmann
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128010648
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128010198

About the Author

Igor Ljubuncic

Igor Ljubuncic is a Principal Engineer with Rackspace, a managed cloud company. Previously, Igor has worked as an OS architect within Intel's IT Engineering Computing business group, exploring and developing solutions for a large, global high-performance Linux environment that supports Intel's chip design. Igor has twelve years of experience in the hi-tech industry, first as a physicist and lately in various engineering roles, with a strong focus on data-driven methodologies. To date, Igor has had fifteen patents accepted for filing with the US PTO, emphasizing on data center technologies, scheduling, and Internet of Things. He has authored several open-source projects and technical books, numerous articles accepted for publication in leading technical journals and magazines, and presented at prestigious international conferences. In his free time, Igor writes car reviews, fantasy books and manages his Linux-oriented blog,, which garners close to a million views from loyal readers every month.

Affiliations and Expertise

Igor Ljubuncic is a Principal Engineer with Rackspace, a managed cloud company

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