MTAGS 2008 Workshop

The 1st workshop on Many-Task Computing on Grids and Supercomputers (MTAGS) will provide the scientific community a dedicated forum for presenting new research, development, and deployment efforts of loosely coupled large scale applications on large scale clusters, Grids, and/or Supercomputers. Many-task computing (MTC), the theme of the workshop encompasses loosely coupled applications, which are generally composed of many tasks (both independent and dependent tasks) to achieve some larger application goal.  We welcome paper submissions on all topics related to MTC on large scale systems.  Papers will be peer-reviewed, and accepted papers will be published in the workshop proceedings as part of the IEEE digital library.  The workshop will be co-located with the IEEE/ACM Supercomputing 2008 Conference in Austin Texas on November 17th, 2008; for more information on the location (time and room) of the workshop, please see



November 14th, 2008: Location Information: Room 11AB
November 14th, 2008: Papers are online
October 19th, 2008: Keynote Speaker: Alan Gara, IBM Fellow and Blue Gene chief architect, IBM Research, Watson Research Center (Yorktown)
October 2nd, 2008: Accepted papers: We have concluded our review process. We had a total of 22 abstracts submitted, of which 16 were followed up with papers. Being that the workshop will be only a half-day workshop, we only had 6 slots available for papers, which gave us an acceptance rate of 37%. Please check the workshop program for the list of accepted papers, and the keynote talk (TBA). We are extremely pleased with the number of submissions, and quality of the accepted papers, and look forward to a great workshop on November 17th, in Austin Texas.



This workshop will focus on the ability to manage and execute large scale applications on today's largest clusters, Grids, and Supercomputers. Clusters with 50K+ processor cores are beginning to come online (i.e. TACC Sun Constellation System - Ranger), Grids (i.e. TeraGrid) with a dozen sites and 100K+ processors, and supercomputers with 160K processors (i.e. IBM BlueGene/P). Large clusters and supercomputers have traditionally been high performance computing (HPC) systems, as they are efficient at executing tightly coupled parallel jobs within a particular machine with low-latency interconnects; the applications typically use message passing interface (MPI) to achieve the needed inter-process communication. On the other hand, Grids have been the preferred platform for more loosely coupled applications that tend to be managed and executed through workflow systems. In contrast to HPC (tightly coupled applications), these loosely coupled applications make up a new class of applications as what we call Many-Task Computing (MTC). MTC systems generally involve the execution of independent, sequential jobs that can be individually scheduled on many different computing resources across multiple administrative boundaries. MTC systems typically achieve this using various grid computing technologies and techniques, and often times use files to achieve the inter-process communication as alternative communication mechanisms than MPI. MTC is reminiscent to High Throughput Computing (HTC); however, MTC differs from HTC in the emphasis of using many computing resources over short periods of time to accomplish many computational tasks, where the primary metrics are measured in seconds (e.g. FLOPS, tasks/sec, MB/s I/O rates). HTC on the other hand requires large amounts of computing for longer times (months and years, rather than hours and days, and are generally measured in operations per month).  

Today's existing HPC systems are a viable platform to host MTC applications. However, some challenges arise in large scale applications when run on large scale systems, which can hamper the efficiency and utilization of these large scale systems.  These challenges vary from local resource manager scalability and granularity, efficient utilization of the raw hardware, shared file system contention and scalability, reliability at scale, application scalability, and understanding the limitations of the HPC systems in order to identify good candidate MTC applications.

For an interesting discussion in a recent blog by Ian Foster on the difference between MTC and HTC, please see his blog at  We also published a paper in SC08 that is highly relevant to the workshop (and in part motivated the organization of this workshop), titled "Toward Loosely Coupled Programming on Petascale Systems"; more information about this paper, please see Finally, there is also a relevant Birds-of-Feather (BOF) session at SC08 called "Megajobs: How to Run One Million Jobs"; for more information on this BOF, please see



MTAGS 2008 topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Compute Resource Management  in large scale clusters, large Grids, and Supercomputers

Data Management in large scale Grid and Supercomputer environments:

Large-Scale Workflow Systems

Large-Scale Many-Task Applications


Paper Submission and Publication

Authors are invited to submit papers with unpublished, original work of not more than 10 pages of double column text using single spaced 10 point size on 8.5 x 11 inch pages, as per IEEE 8.5 x 11 manuscript guidelines ( A 250 word abstract (PDF format) must be submitted online at before the deadline of August 15th, 2008 at 11:59PM PST; the final 6/10 page papers in PDF format will be due on September 6th, 2008 at 11:59PM PST.  Papers will be peer-reviewed, and accepted papers will be published in the workshop proceedings as part of the IEEE digital library; IEEE copyright forms will have to be completed and signed. Notifications of the paper decisions will be sent out by October 1st. Selected excellent work may be eligible for additional post-conference publication as journal articles or book chapters. Submission implies the willingness of at least one of the authors to register and present the paper.


Important Dates

Abstract Due:                                        August 15th, 2008

Papers Due:                                          September 14th, 2008

Notification of Acceptance:                   October 1st, 2008

Camera Ready Papers Due:                  November 3rd, 2008

Workshop Date:                                     November 17th, 2008


Committee Members

Workshop Chairs

Ian Foster, University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory

Yong Zhao, Microsoft

Ioan Raicu, University of Chicago

Technical Committee

David Abramson, Monash University, Australia

Dan Ardelean, Google, USA

Pete Beckman, Argonne National Laboratory, USA

Peter Dinda, Northwestern University, USA

Ian Foster, University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory, USA

Alan Gara, IBM, USA

Bob Grossman, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Indranil Gupta, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA

Alexandru Iosup, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands

Kamil Iskra, Argonne National Laboratory, USA 

Tevfik Kosar, Louisiana State University, USA

Chuang Liu,, USA

Shiyong Lu, Wayne State University, USA

Reagan Moore, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

Steven Newhouse, Microsoft, USA

Cristina Nita-Rotaru, Purdue University, USA

Marlon Pierce, Indiana University, USA

Ioan Raicu, University of Chicago, USA

Dan Reed, Microsoft, USA

Matei Ripeanu, University of British Columbia, Canada

Rick Stevens, University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory, USA

Xian-He Sun, Illinois Institute of Technology, USA
Alex Szalay, The Johns Hopkins University, USA

Douglas Thain, University of Notre Dame, USA

Greg Thain, University of Wisconsin, USA

Mike Wilde, University of Chicago & Argonne National Laboratory, USA

Matthew Woitaszek, The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, USA

Lingyun Yang, Yahoo Search, USA

Sherali Zeadally, University of the District of Columbia, USA

Yong Zhao, Microsoft, USA



To return to MTAGS08 main page, click here.