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The Frugal System

The Frugal System is a metacomputing package that distributes jobs intelligently on a Jini network.
  • Why "Frugal?"

    The Frugal System spends the network's resources carefully. At all times, it thinks about the future cost of each decision -- about making sure that conditions of high processor load or memory exhaustion never happen.
  • Stable Performance / Near-Optimality:

    The Frugal System's maximum usage of the system resources -- the memory and CPU of the machines on the network -- is guaranteed to approximate that of the best possible job scheduler within a logarithmic factor. This holds even if that optimal scheduler knows the future and Frugal does not!
  • Proven Efficiency:

    In tests, the Frugal System's decision strategy outperforms naive strategies by about 39%. It beats carefully optimized strategies by a factor of about 13%. That's how much faster users can expect the average job to complete.
  • Easy to Use:

    With the Frugal System, it is easy to build Java and Jini programs that run, not on the machine where the user launches them, but on the best machine for that job.
  • What This Means For You:

    Using the Frugal System on your Jini network will improve the expected performance of each job and provide good system performance in the worst case. Machines on the network will maintain relatively low loads and a low incidence of thrashing throughout the network's lifetime. The "frugal" strategy spends system resources carefully, and is almost never caught short!
R. Sean Borgstrom created the Frugal System as one part of the doctoral dissertation research, titled "A Cost-Benefit Apprach to Resource Allocation in Scalable Metacomputers", which was carried out under the supervision of Dr. Yair Amir. Formal release of source and binaries is expected in early August 2000. The Frugal System is currently developed at the Center for Networking and Distributed Systems at The Johns Hopkins University. For more information about the Frugal System and active research on competitive metacomputing systems, take a look at the CNDS web site.

The Frugal System consists of 2 parts:

  • A compute engine that allows a machine to run jobs created on other machines, and
  • A "Manager" that decides on which compute engine a given job should run.
To use the Frugal System, a program simply looks up the manager on the Jini lookup service, asks the manager for the reference for an appropriate compute engine, and sends its work to that engine. The engine performs the computation and returns the results.

Documentation for the Frugal System can be found at Frugal Packages off the CNDS metacomputing webpage. Step-by-step instructions and general information appear in the edu.jhu.cnds.Frugal package documentation.

You can download the Frugal System here.

The Frugal System development was partially funded by a grant from the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. Government retains certain rights in this software.

Questions or comments to:
TEL: (410) 516-5562
FAX: (410) 516-6134
Center for Networking and Distributed Systems
Computer Science Department
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21218-2686