Introducing Singularity Containers To My Schoolfellows At The Northcap University In India

By Staff

Dec 18, 2018 | Blog

This post has been contributed by Sylabs intern Sushma Yellapragada (pictured foreground, left). Sushma is in the final year of her undergraduate program in computer science and engineering at The NorthCap University in Gurugram, India.

Ever since I returned from SC17, I was motivated to learn about all the latest technologies and introduce my schoolfellows to the exciting domain of HPC. In this process, I discovered how popular Singularity containers were amongst the HPC community. When @SingularityApp tweeted about Sylabs, I found just the right opportunity to contribute towards the development of the software. I’m really fortunate that the team found my application appropriate for joining them as an intern! It has been a great learning experience since then.

About a month ago, when I put forth the idea of an ‘Introduction to Singularity’ workshop, the team at Sylabs encouraged me to take it forward. We discussed some exciting ideas and the team was kind enough to ship out some swag for all the participants. Preparation took about two weeks and resulted in a presentation followed by a hands-on session based upon Singularity’s Quick Start tutorial. The workshop was divided into four parts:

  1. What are containers and what led to their development?
  2. Virtualization vs Containerization
  3. Docker vs. Singularity
  4. Installation, pulling, and building containers

The slides for the presentation can be found here.

I was both surprised by and upset with the lack of awareness regarding these concepts – which quite clearly is an outcome of not including HPC or architecture courses at least in the core CS Bachelor’s degree. However, it was rewarding to see the group of inquisitive and insightful people from the technical society for CS students on campus called Bashmug who showed up with such alacrity. The three-hour-long event, where every concept was talked about in detail, was surely an enriching experience. How Singularity revolutionized the implementation of containers, for example, was the topic that caught the most attention. As attendees installed Singularity, they were delighted to see that the first container they built was that of an animated talking cow! Thanks to the developers at Sylabs for this creative idea that entertained everyone!

The participants’ positive feedback and enthusiasm to try different use cases speaks well of Singularity’s usefulness. I can’t wait to see our experimental and warm-spirited community reach its apogee.

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