As part of a broader organisational restructure, data networking
research at Swinburne University of Technology has moved from
the Centre for Advanced Internet Architecture (CAIA)
to the Internet For Things (I4T) Research Lab.
Although CAIA no longer exists, this website reflects CAIA's activities and
outputs between March 2002 and February 2017,
and is being maintained as a service to the broader data networking research community.
LCMON 1.1 (L3DGEWorld Cluster-node Monitoring) demonstrates the use of L3DGEWorld 2.2 to provide near real-time visualisation of the Swinburne supercomputer cluster. Cluster nodes are represented within an
interactive 3D environment by unique entities floating in space. Each
entity is animated to represent activity in the associated cluster node (such as current CPU load or memory usage). In a
typical scenario an LCMON 1.1 server provides a virtual world into which LCMON clients connect and view activity in the Swinburne supercomputer cluster.
Multiple LCMON clients may simultaneously connect to a LCMON server and independently move around the virtual world.
LCMON 1.1's core, L3DGEWorld, is being developed
as a network monitoring and control application based on Open Arena
(a game built on the GPL'd Quake III Arena engine). LCMON
demonstrates how L3DGEWorld may be more broadly utilised to create
interactive 3D virtual worlds within which arbitrary real-time state
information is represented.
Building on Open
Arena means that LCMON (and L3DGEWorld) are easy to install
(and rebuild if desired) under Windows, Mac OSX, FreeBSD and Linux.
Run by the Centre for Astrophysics and
Supercomputing, the Swinburne
Supercomputer (as of July 2007) consists of over 1160 processors
across 145 cluster nodes and has a theoretical peak processing capacity
of 10 Teraflops. Each cluster node contains 2 quad-core Clovertown
processors running at 2.33 GHz. The nodes are controlled by a
head node which distributes jobs to the cluster via a queue system
(itself controlled by Moab cluster management software). The head
node is named 'green', and cluster statistics are currently provided
through a web interface known as ganglia. Cluster nodes
are named 'shrek001.ssi.swin.edu.au', 'shrek002.ssi.swin.edu.au', and
so-on. (Internal users may access more details about the cluster here.)
The following screenshots capture the view
seen by a single user after logging into an LCMON 1.1 server and flying
around the virtual environment. When a user first logs into the
LCMON server they are placed floating above the amphitheatre of stars representing cluster
nodes in the Swinburne supercomputer. Figure 1 shows a screenshot of LCMON before prior to being
populated with real time metrics from the supercomputer. Figure 2 shows a screenshot of LCMON after the nodes have
been populated with metrics.
Different types of activity in the Swinburne supercomputer causes the entities in
the 3D world to change their physical behaviour. The entities will spin and change colour as
a function of the CPU load. Changes in packet rate causes the entities to bounce on the spot
and memory consumption of the nodes is reflected by entities changing in size.
Rotation rate & colour
CPU Load (%)
Memory Usage (%)
Traffic in (PPS)
Figure 1: Supercomputer
cluster node overview with no state information
Figure 2: Snapshot of
cluster nodes populated with metrics from the Swinburne supercomputer
The following video (hosted on YouTube) illustrates LCMON's dynamic representation of cluster state.
We begin with a single user's view of the cluster
changing from idle to
quite busy as more and more nodes become active. At about 1min20sec we
show how the user can learn detailed information about particular
cluster nodes either by flying up close to the node's star, or by
'shooting' a node's star from a distance. At 1min54sec we show how a
second user (who are themselves inspecting cluster nodes) would appear
within the virtual environment. (Note that the cluster
behaviour shown here has been synthesised for demonstration purposes.)
Note the video created shows LCMON 1.0 in operation, however there are no major visual differences between LCMON 1.0 and LCMON 1.1
As illustrated in Figure 3, the major components of an LCMON 1.1 system
An instance of L3DGEWorld 2.2 server
running a specific 'map' to represent the LCMON 1.1 virtual world.
Gpoll (ganglia poll) daemon 0.2 - A utility which
parses the data obtained from the supercomputer and
transmits the relevant metrics to the L3DGEWorld server.
An instance of L3DGEWorld 2.2 client,
allow users to interact with the LCMON virtual world.
There is a publicly accessible LCMON server at l3dgeworld.caia.swin.edu.au:27960.
This server actively polls the Swinburne supercomputer cluster every 2 minutes.
The gpoll.sh script is executed by a cron job every 2 minutes in order to fetch and
update the cluster nodes in the LCMON virtual world (step 1). The state of all cluster nodes is handed back in
XML-encoded form (step 2), which Gpoll then parses (step 3) to extract
relevant data (such as CPU load, memory usage, and network traffic in/out). Gpoll 0.2 uses a
generalised interface to the L3DGEWorld 2.2 engine to update the entities, or stars (step 4).
Multiple LCMON clients running on different platforms may connect to the LCMON
server to view activity in the supercomputer cluster (step 5).
Figure 3: Information flow
and client-server relationship in LCMON 1.1
(For people familiar with Quake III Arena, LCMON is essentially a
custom map running on a modified Quake III Arena game engine. The
client and dedicated server executables have both been modified to
enable L3DGEWorld 2.2 to communicate with external daemons. As with a
normal Quake III Arena game, one or more clients may be connected to a
single server, each one
rendering a separately controlled view of the virtual environment.
Clients may connect and disconnect from the server at any time
without disrupting the server's virtual environment, and may do so from
where ever there is UDP/IP connectivity to the LCMON Server.)
LCMON 1.1 may be used to monitor other supercomputer clusters (or even
entirely different systems) by modifying Gpoll (and optionally
redesigning the Quake III Arena 'map'  used
to represent the virtual environment shown in Figures 1 and 2).
LCMON 1.1's underlying L3DGEWorld 2.2 core (both client and server
sides) has been
verified to run on FreeBSD 6.2, Mac OS X 10.4.9, Linux (Ubuntu 7.04)
and Windows XP Platforms (with the addition of cygwin for server-side scripts). Gpoll 0.2 has only
been verified to run on FreeBSD 6.2 (although we believe it
should be portable to other platforms).
[Update 5 July 2010: LCMON 1.1 will run
as-is under Mac OS X 10.6.4 Snow Leopard, and the win32 binaries will run
under FreeBSD 8.x using Wine 1.2-rc4.
However the native FreeBSD binaries
will not run under FreeBSD 8.x (they look for older versions of libm.so and
libc.so, and unfortunately a bug (in OpenArena pre version 0.7) prevents the
underlying L3DGEWorld 2.2 source
code from recompiling under FreeBSD 8.x. Nevertheless, it is possible to copy the LCMON 1.1 maps
and config files into L3DGEWorld 2.3, which will recompile under FreeBSD 8.x. Gpoll will
compile and run under FreeBSD 8.x]
LCMON Client Requirements:
Video card supporting OpenGL acceleration.
libSDL and libOpenAL are required on FreeBSD and Linux.
Dedicated LCMON Server Requirements:
BASH (Bourne Again SHell)
libSDL and libOpenAL are only required if you run a dedicated server using
the ioquake3 binaries. This is because they contain both the client and server
components of L3DGEWorld, the ioq3ded binaries contain only the server
component which does not require SDL or OpenAL.