Gabriel's Journals

August 06, 2010

  • This past week I finished putting all of the lessons and the appendix on installing Storytelling Alice into my template. I was able to edit some obvious spelling and grammar errors, but still have some editing to do, particularly with how things are worded.
  • I also began work on the final report, getting a general outline together and beginning to write some of the sections. In particular, I have tried to write down what I did this past semester. From the other members of the project, I requested short summaries also so that I can incorporate their contributions to the report.
  • This next week I will be working on the report. Next week's journal will be the last one for the project.
July 30, 2010

  • The SERVICE web site had a problem with our PHP scripts and so journals were down for a couple of weeks.
  • I have continued working on finalizing the Storytelling Alice curriculum. I have created a template system and the lessons now look more uniform in formatting. I will finish off by editing the lessons for grammar and clarity and by also wrapping up sections which were not finished. I will report which ones have been completed and which remain in the following journal entry.
  • Finally, I will begin writing up some things for the final report due in the middle of next month.
July 16, 2010

  • After discussing with Dr. Gardner about the CUDA to OpenCL compiler, which he was very interested in, I will likely be looking into Clang and LLVM as the compiler technologies to build upon.
  • However, as this topic is not directly related to the SERVICE project, I will focus on finishing the Storytelling Alice curriculum.
  • The lessons currently have differing formats, so I will be making a Word template to fit them all into. This will allow future changes to the lesson styles and layouts to be much easier to do and less tedious.
July 09, 2010

  • In an impromptu meeting with Dr. Feng, we talked about doing a CUDA to OpenCL compiler. I have interests in working with compilers and would like to see more OpenCL programs, therefore, I believe that I will work on this for my master's thesis.
  • I also got the most recent revisions of the lessons from Dr. Feng, so I will go about finalizing the styles, layouts, and fixing any glaring issues. If I have more time, I will go ahead and add in more parts that are not completed yet.
July 04, 2010

  • This last week I was able to successfully merge some simple CUDA kernels by hand. I also read generated the PTX code for them and was also able to merge those by hand, producing code very similar to what the generated PTX code from my merged CUDA kernels was.
  • Unfortunately, I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of the other memebers. I hope to do so soon so that I can begin finalizing the lessons.
  • I met with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner and we discussed my progress. There is a new architecture for NVIDIA cards that allows for multiple kernels to be run at once, so I may start looking into another direction for my master's thesis. Automatically merging kernels in software would be a backwards compatible approach, but should not be necessary for new GPUs.
  • Therefore, this next week I will look into what other aspects of GPU virtualization I can focus on. I will also begin looking through the lessons I have and seeing what needs to be done.
June 28, 2010

  • This past week I updated the SERVICE site with pictures while continuing my research into virtualizing GPUs. I have found an interesting method that might allow more control over what is scheduled on a single GPU. In particular, it could allow multiple GPU kernels to be merged into one and run together. Combined with ideas from GViM (and Ocelot), this could be done at runtime by retrieving PTX code for the kernels and automatically merging them.
  • In addition, I met with Dr, Feng and Dr. Gardner and decided that I should focus on finishing the lessons (as well as determining the research topic for my master's thesis).
  • For this next week, I will try my hand at manually merging kernels and will read the PTX specification to try to merge the kernels at that level. Also, I will get in touch with the other members of the SERVICE project so as to get the most up-to-date lessons.
June 21, 2010

  • I got back from break recently.
  • This past week, I met with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner and we discussed how we will be finishing up the project this summer.
  • For now, I will be updating the web site some, including pictures of the Kids' Tech University events we attended.
  • In addition, I will be helping Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner prepare for the CEED (The Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity) event taking place next Monday.
  • Finally, I am still looking into allowing access to the GPU from within VMs. Specifically, I have been reading up on how one may try to more fully utilize GPUs by doing multiple computations at once.
May 02, 2010

  • This past week I continued testing Storytelling Alice 2.2.
  • Also, the group met to discuss how the rest of the rest of the semester will play out.
  • We plan to use what we learned while at the Beeks and Harding sites at the beginning of the summer. Blacksburg New School will still be in session, so we (Billy and I) will be able to continue teaching and the curriculum there.
  • Once again I was not able to work too much on reading the research papers, but this next week I will have time. I hope to meet with Dr. Feng, before the semester ends, to present what have found.
April 25, 2010

  • This past week was pretty busy, so I did not complete as much work done as I planned to.
  • I briefly read through the VMGL paper and read the GViM paper more thoroughly, but still need to write up a summary for the former.
  • Also, I have downloaded Billy's version of Storytelling Alice 2.2 in the VM I set up and began going through the lessons we have created to test it out. Still need to do more on this.
  • I did not get to go to either Beeks or Harding as I had a group project meeting at the same time.
  • Next week I have several reports and presentations, meaning that I will likely not have much time to work. I will try to test Storytelling Alice more and to meet with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner once more.
April 18, 2010

  • This last week we went to Blacksburg New School, during class hours, to teach Lesson 1. We found several places to improve the lesson.
  • In addition, Sahil and I wrote a draft of the consent form which Dr. Feng edited.
  • Billy sent out instructions on setting up a virtual machine running Ubuntu so that we could test Storytelling Alice 2.2 on Linux. I set up the VM, but have not yet begun testing.
  • Finally, after reading Xenoprof and GViM, I met with Dr. Gardner and Dr. Feng to discuss the papers and what area would be best for me to pursue this summer.
  • We have determined a project I could work on in the area of virtualizing hardware performance counters. We saw a possible area for virtualizing GPUs, but were not certain, so I am to read further into GViM and a related paper about VMGL.
  • In addition, as both areas will likely have me working with Xen, I will look further into it.
April 11, 2010

  • Last week I read and briefly summarized papers for Xenoprof, PAPI (an API for accessing CPU performance counters), and GViM.
  • Also, I worked with Billy to get MySQL databases made for the SERVICE and MyVICE sites. We will be using these for our journal entries and for feedback from parents and students that use Storytelling Alice.
  • On Friday we were to go to Beeks and Harding. I was not able to attend, unfortunately, as I had to be at the physics department awards ceremony.
  • Finally, yesterday we went to KTU once again from 12 to 4pm.
  • This next week I will continue to read and summarize papers. I would like to try to meet with Dr. Feng separately from the normal meetings to discuss these.
  • Also, I am to work with Sahil to create a consent form to pass out at Blacksburg New School before we go next Friday.
April 04, 2010

  • This past week ended up being my busiest, in terms of classwork, and as such I was not able to begin working on the summaries.
  • Instead I continued finding papers and began reading a select few.
  • After our meeting, Dr. Feng suggested that I look into a paper about GViM, where the authors attempt to virtualize GPUs. So next week I will add it to my list and begin reading and writing summaries.
  • As a reminder, this past week was Spring Break for the local elementary schools, so we will be begin teaching the curriculum next Friday.
March 28, 2010

  • It turned out that last Friday was the day before the local schools' Spring Break and therefore we chose to begin teaching the curriculum after their break.
  • As such, this past week I have focused on my literature search. I have found only a handful of papers that use CPU performance counters in VMs, and most deal with a tool called Xenoprof.
  • Also, I have been reading up on the performance counters so as to learn how they function. This has led me to read about PAPI, a programming interface enabling access to the counters.
  • For the next week I shall continue my work in the area and begin writing summaries of the more important papers to give to and discuss with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner.
March 19, 2010

  • Over Spring Break I met with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner. We spoke about virutalizing performance counters, which I began looking into this past week. I was to start with a literature search of past work in the area.
  • This past week, also, I went to Kinko's with Sahil to once again put in the order for CDs with Storytelling Alice. We made sure they could properly burn a copy and we hope to have the batch ready for April 10th's KTU.
  • Finally, next week we will likely begin teaching the curriculum at a few elementary schools in the Blacksburg area.
March 05, 2010

  • This past week we participated in Kids' Tech University, letting the kids and their parents play with Storytelling Alice. We also got to distribute our first batch of CDs, with the first lesson, and we are hoping to get feedback from this.
  • Billy and I worked on the new SERVICE web site and made it live.
  • Next week is Spring Break, but I will be trying to meet with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner to discuss virtualizing performance counters.
  • In addition, I will be making a few small changes to the SERVICE site on Dr. Feng's recommendation.
February 26, 2010

  • This past week I finalized the Storytelling Alice CD image and we ordered them for Kids' Tech University tomorrow.
  • Together with Billy I continued working on the SERVICE site redesign. We have more or less gotten the layout to what we want it to be, we just need to transfer the content.
  • This next week, then, we will go to Kids' Tech University and "field test" Storytelling Alice and the start of our curriculum.
  • Also, Billy and I will hopefully be putting up the new site.
February 19, 2010

  • We met on Wednesday, and also today, to discuss progress and coordinate the final work needed to be done before Kids' Tech University (on February 27).
  • I finished the Arch Linux LiveCD I was working on, but in that meeting we decided that, for now, it may be better to distribute just Storytelling Alice on a CD. My job, then, was to put the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on a CD with Storytelling Alice and make it autorun on insertion. I will have this CD completed tonight.
  • I worked on the SERVICE web site redesign some, but did not focus on it as much.
  • For the next week, I am to get all the needed materials -- CD cover art, ISO image, and the first lesson we developed -- so that we may submit it to create many CDs for distribution.
  • I will also continue working on the SERVICE site redesign.
February 12, 2010

  • This past week I finalized a beta version of my LiveCD running our original Storytelling Alice port to Linux. I have given this to Dr. Gardner to try out, who will then let me know of any issues he ran into or suggestions he may have.
  • For this upcoming week I will be revamping the SERVICE site, so that it better conforms to CS@VT site.
  • In addition, I will be taking care of a few small issues Dr. Gardner already saw from my quick demo of the LiveCD, such as adding a splash screen to the boot sequence.
February 05, 2010

  • As at the end of the last semester the workstation machine that we used for testing had a hard drive failure, this past week I began by replacing the drive and setting up the machine to once again be used as a testing environment for the Storytelling Alice port.
  • I met with Billy so as to go over the status of the port and to help him with what I could. Therefore, I helped him in learning how git works so that we could update the remote repository correctly.
  • This next week I will continue aiding Billy however I can, but I will also be discussing the topic of virtual machine monitoring with Dr. Feng and Dr. Gardner.
January 29, 2010

  • Today we had our first meeting of the semester. We will be meeting on Friday mornings at 10 am from now on.
  • For the following week, Billy and I will work together to resolve the last few remaining issues of the Storytelling Alice to Alice 2.2 port.
  • Upon finishing the port, I shall include and test it within the LiveCD environment I created last semester.