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Improving Usability in a Grid-Enabled Environment

Ogungboye, Agah Ejura (2010) Improving Usability in a Grid-Enabled Environment. MPhil thesis, University of York.

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Several scientific application developers, especially intermediate users (typified by not wanting to learn any special program to use the Grid but have some average knowledge of computers) would want to exploit the possibilities offered by Grid computing. These developers have their scientific agendas to pursue and lack the time or skills to explore the vast wealth of Grid technologies. Presumably, they would rather be presented with a simple system that resembles the scientific programming paradigm that they are familiar with. This project is aimed at designing and developing a more user friendly interface to enable scientific application developers to use networked computer systems (Grids) simply. However, the author investigated how other source codes would compile remotely and how to deal with compilers of different versions of Operating system. This project aimed to show that it is possible to reduce the steps taken by a user to grid-enable an application by designing a Grid user interface that can abstract the complexity that is involved with achieving this process. It also aimed at showing that submitting jobs on a grid can be done efficiently and extended to a wider range of users. Building this user interface necessitates investigating the use of new and pre-existing software modules set up as Web services - a current challenge in this research area. The system that was developed investigated current user applications (and their designs); especially how a new user interface would allow such an application to run on a Grid via two approaches. These include the transfer of compiled code and executing it on the target computer; and transfer of uncompiled code, its compilation and executing it on the target computer. Both approaches meant abstracting the problems associated with moving the software and running it on one of the machines in a Grid. The author encountered software library challenges during the course of the project; it became apparent that posed a problem for uncompiled and compiled code. The challenges include the type of compiler, the version of compiler, the type of machine compiled and external dependencies needed by the uncompiled/compiled code to run successfully. However task for executing the uncompiled code proved simpler than the compiled code. A simple C++ program was used to test this. Issues arising from this test were also explored. A detailed analysis has been made on how to verify dependent libraries on a code, transferring the code to the Grid node and then running the code successfully. Different group of users consisting of six (6) domain expert users and a usability expert evaluated the graphical interface built. The domain experts helped in determining the effectiveness of the system and the usability experts’ helped in the usefulness of the interface. The methodology used was heuristic evaluation. Their interaction with the interface, results and how it can be improved is documented in chapter 5 of the thesis.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Academic Units: The University of York > Computer Science (York)
Depositing User: Mrs Agah Ejura Ogungboye
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2013 10:59
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3676

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