Developers Meeting 12/2/11

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rgore's picture
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Joined: 01/27/2011

At developers meeting on 12/2 we discussed the following:

  • The group discussed several funding opportunities. In particular opportunities in industry and the Dept. of Defense were discussed. It was pointed out that mentioning on a grant application that the work was being considered for corporate funding could be an advantage for more traditional funding sources like NIH and NSF.
  • The state of parallel FIML was discussed. The pieces of SADMVN that OpenMx uses are now thread-safe and FIML is now parallel for the programs used in our test suite. Parallelism is now turned on by default. Joint Ordinal and Continuous FIML still needs to be parallelized. Further optimizations for efficiency are still possible based on splitting models up more intelligently. The current performance numbers for parallelized FIML are available here.
  • Opportunities to improve the degree of parallelism employed in the front end of OpenMx were also discussed. These improvements would be targeted for large models with lots of separate submodels which require a large amount of execution time in the front end. We currently do not have many (any?) of these test cases in our models/nightly directory. Adding such test cases is needed so profile can be done to identify possible optimizations.
  • The group discussed that the web server acted up last week. It appears there is a memory leak in apache that causes the server to begin memory thrashing about every 6 months. When the thrashing occurs the cron is unable to run and send users the emails updates for the site they are subscribed to. The group plans to update apache and drupal over the holidays.
  • The group plans to begin translating the open source R implementation of npsol, Rsolnp, to C. The goal of the translation would be to employ it to allow OpenMx to be listed as a CRAN package for R. Furthermore, such a translation could be parallelized to greatly improve efficiency.
  • The group discussed releasing a OpenMx 1.2 Beta binary very shortly. The Beta release will include the new connect argument for mxPath and the FIML parallelization. In the official release OpenMx 1.2 will also support joint and ordinal FIML and will support connect as well as the ALL= argument for mxPath. For more on connect and ALL=, please see here. Releasing a OpenMx 1.2 binary in short order will enable it to be mentioned in the APS review of OpenMx.
  • Adding an additional mxOption for checkpointing was discussed. Currently the options 'minutes' and 'iterations' are supported but these do ensure that every function evaluation is checkpointed. A new option called 'evaluations' will be added to ensure this functionality.
  • Michael Spiegel reported back on things the group should be aware of from the Super Computing Conference.