Websubmit: A Supercomputing interface

  • Date: 1997-1999
  • Roles played: Web developer (client- and server-side code)
  • Development team: Ryan McCormack, John Koontz, and Judy Devaney
  • Development platform: n/a (Web application)
  • Development language: Tcl/Tk
  • Key technologies used: HTML, JavaScript, Tcl, cgi.tcl, NSAPI, Apache, SSL and related security technologies (e.g., SSLeay, X509.v3 certificates, CAs)

WebSubmit (see image below) is a Web-based tool that provides a secure bridge to non-Web applications. At present WebSubmit provides access to high-performance computing facilities at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It was originally conceived to aid users in dealing with the complex batch submission facilities of the IBM SP2 parallel supercomputer, but it is by no means limited to this application, or, indeed, to supercomputing applications at all. It is possible to use the basic WebSubmit paradigm in any environment where users need access to abstract computing resources.

A simple transaction model governs the way in which resources are accessed and utilized, and a security framework determines whether a client is allowed to perform transactions. The software itself is the combination of a collection of CGI scripts (written with the aid of Don Libes’ cgi.tcl library) and a large body of Tcl code to provide functionality for these scripts. It is modular, flexible and extensible; hooks exist for including existing CGI code and for developing and adding new applications. The code is highly portable and can be modified to suit the needs of a given site quickly and easily.

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