Holland Computing Center


Date of this Version

Fall 11-16-2014


Weitzel, D., Frey, J., Mambelli, M., Fraser, D., Ahronovitz, M., & Swanson, D. BoscoR: Extending R from the desktop to the Grid. MTAGS’ 14


In this paper, we describe a framework to execute R functions on remote resources from the desktop using Bosco. The R language is attractive to researchers because of its high level programming constructs which lower the barrier of entry for use. As the use of the R programming language in HPC and High Throughput Computing (HTC) has grown, so too has the need for parallel libraries in order to utilize computing resources.

Bosco is middleware that uses common protocols to manage job submissions to a variety of remote computational platforms and resources. The researcher is able to control and monitor remote submission from their interactive R IDE, such as RStudio. Bosco is capable of managing many concurrent tasks submitted to remote resources while providing feedback to the interactive R environment. We will also show how this framework can be used to access national infrastructure such as the Open Science Grid.

Through interviews with R users, and their feedback after using BoscoR, we learned how R users work and designed BoscoR to fit their needs. We incorporated their feedback to improve BoscoR by adding much needed features, such as remote package management. A key design goal was to have a flat learning curve in using BoscoR for any R user.