KAUST Opens Doors for First Open-Source Software

KAUST’s first officially licensed open-source software package, KUBE (KAUST Unified Benchmarking Environment), developed by Craig Kapfer and his team in KAUST IT, has recently been released. KUBE is a flexible benchmarking framework, which may be used for analyzing performance of software applications and high performance computing (HPC) systems.

The software framework is designed to reliably benchmark systems over time using user-defined metrics. This allows the user to test a given application or system for performance, accuracy, and scalability.

Having joined KAUST in 2010 as a Computational Scientist, Kapfer developed KUBE while in the IT department along with former KAUST employee, Jorge Naranjo. “I’ve developed and managed many other types of software in the past, but this is the first project that has gone from initial concept to an official licensed open-source release,” said Kapfer.

KUBE has historical time reporting and visualization capabilities and integrates with batch scheduling tools used for large HPC systems. “This allows users to see if an application or system performance has been changing over time. In addition, the software allows the user to define tolerances and set up alerts,” Kapfer said. “For example, using KUBE can help detect performance problems after software or operating system updates.”

Kapfer recently joined the Computational Bioscience Research Center where he plans to continue using KUBE on HPC computing systems focused on the life sciences. “KUBE is ideal for any computational lab or computing center that is interested in optimizing applications and systems. It may also be used to eliminate faults in the software stack. The historical time reporting features in KUBE have not been done in other benchmarking suites as far as I know,” said Kapfer.

“When the software was ready to be released, I wasn’t sure how to go about distributing it officially. KUBE is a niche product with a small market, but it’s highly useful and fills a unique need. I first met with KAUST’s legal department and they advised regarding types of open-source licenses and then referred me to the Tech Transfer department to discuss the process and options for licensing,” said Kapfer.

The Technology Transfer & Innovation team conducted a market evaluation, a prior art search, and assisted Kapfer through the copyright licensing process.

KUBE was developed and is used internally and is now freely available for developers and HPC researchers around the world. “We created KUBE to address a real need—It is filling a gap in application and system benchmarking and we look forward to further enhancing the software,” Kapfer said.

You can read more about open-source software here.