Tactical HPC: Scheduling high performance computers in a geographical region
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Mobile devices are often expected to perform computational tasks that may be beyond their processing or battery capability. Cloud computing techniques have been proposed as a means to offload a mobile device's computation to more powerful resources. In this thesis, we consider the case where powerful computing resources are made available by utilizing vehicles. These vehicles can be repositioned in real time to receive computational tasks from user-carried devices. They can be either equipped with rugged high-performance computers to provide both computation and communication service, or they can be simple message ferries that facilitate communication with a more powerful computing resource. These scenarios find application in challenged environments and may be used in a military or disaster relief settings. It is further enabled by increasing feasibility of (i) constructing a Mobile High Performance Computer (MHPC) using rugged computer hardware with form factors that can be deployed in vehicles and (ii) Message Ferries (MF) that provide communication service in disruption tolerant networks. By analogy to prior work on message ferries and data mules, one can refer to the use of our first schema, MHPCs, as computational ferrying. After illustrating and motivating the computational ferrying concept, we turn our attention into the challenges facing such a deployment. These include the well known challenges of operating an opportunistic and intermittently connected network using message ferries -- such as devising an efficient mobility plan for MHPCs and developing techniques for proximity awareness. In this thesis, first we propose an architecture for the system components to be deployed on the mobile devices and the MHPCs. We then focus on defining and solving the MHPC movement scheduling problem with sufficient generality to describe a number of plausible deployment scenarios. After thorough examination of the MHPC concepts, we propose a scheme in which MHPCs are downgraded to be simple MFs that instead provide communication to a stationary HPC with powerful computing resources. Similar to the MPHCs, we provide a framework for this problem and then describe heuristics to solve it. We conduct a number of experiments that provide an understanding of how the performance of the system using MHPCs or MFs is affected by various parameters. We also provide a thorough comparison of the system in the dimensions of Computation on the Move and Controlling the Mobility.