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Berkeley Lab’s Open-Source Spinoff Serves Science

Containerization was developed for enterprise environments, where it has become very popular, especially with the rise of Docker’s container technology. “Docker’s container solution is for the enterprise. But the scientific use case is quite different,” Kurtzer said. “Our goal isn’t to run as many containers as we can on a single host, with each having the illusion of sole occupancy and isolation, but to run maybe one, and enable it to utilize all the resources on that host. It’s kind of the opposite of isolation!”

So Kurtzer started working on his own solution, and four months later, the first version was released last spring. “When I started working on it, I asked, what do scientists really need from containers? They need reproducibility, mobility, and also freedom¾the ability to install their own applications and run in their own environment, and store it just like any other data file,” Kurtzer said. “That’s what Singularity solves for scientific computing.”

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