The August 2013 Interview

The XLcloud platform requires special efforts to build an homogeneous solution and an everyday technology watch to spur innovation and collaboration in the HPC marketplace.

XLcloud Interview: Jean ParpaillonCloud Computing projects manager at Silkan, builder of high performance simulation solutions supporting the whole life cycle of complex systems.


How would you present the XLcloud project?

High Performance Computing (HPC) is about leveraging computing infrastructures for the best possible performance. Cloud Computing, on the other hand, provides the user with automated generic infrastructures on a pay-per-use base for optimizing costs. The XLCloud project challenge is to get best of both models by providing on-demand optimized infrastructure for computing intensive applications. 

What is your role in the project?

Silkan is responsible for coordination of high frequency remote rendering related tasks. This tasks requires really different competencies from distributed system architecture to video encoding or adaptation to network quality. My role is to identify these different competencies in Silkan and in the consortium to be able to design and implement a solution. I also participate in the general architecture of the project.

What key innovation do you bring to the table or help to develop?

Technologies for remote rendering of 3D scenes are widely used today for so-called cloud gaming: the game run in a datacenter and the display and inputs are located to the player's home. HPC applications can benefit from the cloud gaming, but we have to face additional challenges: the size of the scenes can be huge, the time between user interaction and display of the modified scene (so-called latency) must be controlled finely, and usually as low as possible. So, what we intend to develop is a solution integrating all these aspects for complex 3D scenes rendering from distant servers.

Where do you face the main difficulties and how do you intend to solve them ?

Every people in the project are expert in their respective domain: system deployment, software architecture, virtualization, video encoding, network virtualization, and so on. This is a real strength of the project but special efforts must be done to be able to build an homogeneous solution. The solution is to ensure a good communication between partners, for instance with face to face meeting. A large part of the project is dedicated to specifications: this is also a good way of ensuring everybody speaks about the same thing. As an innovative project, the other challenge is to ensure we are always inline with market expectations and with the state of the art. For a 3 years long project as XLCloud, that concretely means technology watch is an everyday duty.

Can you tell us about yourself and your organization?

Silkan develops and integrates simulation-based solutions to support design, optimization, test, operation and maintenance of complex systems. I have recently joined Silkan to lead projects related to the use of cloud based systems for our solutions. I have been working for 8 years on HPC and distributed systems. During the last years, I have been particularly concerned with the problem of interoperability and openness in cloud computing, through OW2 CompatibleOne project and the standard underneath, OCCI.

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