Chameleon Changelog for October 2018

Great news in Chameleon-land!


We went a trick-or-treating yesterday and were successful -- as a result we have a lot of goodies to share with you.


New Chameleon Associate Site at Northwestern. A couple of months ago we announced the release of an alpha version of CHI-in-a-Box -- a packaging of the CHameleon Infrastructure (CHI), i.e., our core testbed services, that allows interested parties to join Chameleon as a site or create their own Chameleon-like testbeds. We are now happy to announce that our partners at Northwestern immediately took advantage of this opportunity and created a Chameleon Associate Site at Northwestern. For now, the site offers only one node -- but it is equipped with Mellanox ConnectX-5 100GE network interface, not available anywhere else on Chameleon! These network cards allow you to experiment with large flows and will perform best using Chameleon’s Large Data Flow Appliance, re-tuned for 100Gbps as described in our blog a couple weeks ago. Since CHI-in-a-Box is still in an experimental phase, the new site is available to Early Users only: if you are interested please open a ticket via the helpdesk to request access and  include “CHI@NU” in the subject of the ticket to help us expedite your request. Once your account on the new site has been activated, you will be able to reach the site at


Experiment Précis Service (alpha). Did you ever find yourself using the Linux history command to figure out what exactly you did to solve a problem? We feel that testbeds -- where all of us are trying hard to make our experiments reproducible -- should help this effort by providing a similar functionality. The Chameleon Experiment Précis (CEP) service (précis means “summary”) helps you track your experiments by recording events of your experiment setup performed on the testbed (e.g., creating leases, hardware used, creating instances and setting up networks, or monitoring information collected by  Gnocchi). You can then request a summary of this information and -- for now -- you will be given simply a record of events that occured during your experiment. Since this is new experimental functionality, at this time the experiment precis is only available at CHI@UC site. For more information about CEP client installation and usage, please consult our documentation -- and please do let us know what you think about this new feature and how you’d like to improve it.


Better Chameleon Jupyter Notebooks. Last month, we announced a new way to use Chameleon -- within your very own hosted Jupyter notebook. This month we’re happy to announce a new feature to make it easier to collaborate on experiments with others. You can now save your notebook files in a Swift container shared within your project. This means that anybody in your project can open your Notebook, see your process, and build upon it. We also put together a screencast to illustrate how the Jupyter Notebook can help you set up more reproducible experiments - take a few minutes and check it out! And of course, to learn more, visit our documentation.


Upgrade of FPGA Compiler. In our August changelog we announced a hardware contribution of the new Terasic DE5a-Net FPGA made by one of our users to the University of Chicago site. We now support building applications for this board (in addition to the already supported Nallatech boards) on our FPGA build node. As always, consult our documentation on how to use it.


Usability improvements. We made it easier to see the physical host name of the host running an instance; users can see it in the Instances section of the dashboard. The name links out to a page listing the hardware details for that node.


Last but not least: the Call for Presentations and Demonstrations for our User Meeting is out -- it was posted yesterday on the users mailing list. As you know the User Meeting will take place in February 6-7, 2019 in Austin, Texas -- we hope to see you all there!


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