Frontier® Architecture
How It All Fits Together

The Frontier Grid Platform is the collection of software used to manage our online Parabon Computation Grid utility HPC service. Packaged as Frontier Enterprise, it is the same solution we deploy for organizations wanting an in-house private grid. It's secure, OS-agnostic, unobtrusive and comes with a rich set of development tools to facilitate the rapid development of high-performance grid applications.

Frontier Introduction

The Components

Regardless of whether you're accessing the Parabon Computation Grid online or your own Frontier Enterprise private grid, the Frontier grid software provides a consistent, easy-to-use utility computing service.

A brief summary of each component is listed below:

  • Frontier Grid Server: The Frontier Grid Server, which provides Frontier Grid Services to users and developers, is at the center of any Frontier grid. It's a highly configurable component that listens for jobs from Frontier-powered applications, monitors the availability of Frontier Compute Engines, and schedules tasks across the grid, transparently handling the inevitable failure of any network or computing resource.

  • Frontier Compute Engine: Finally, the Frontier Compute Engine is the provider-side application that runs on each grid node (computer) to actually perform the work. The Compute Engine is designed to be unobtrusive — only executing tasks when the computer is otherwise idle.

  • Frontier Dashboard: The Frontier Dashboard is a browser-based web interface that provides an intuitive front-end to the Frontier Grid Platform, including access to our App Store — a collection of Software as a Service applications which run on Frontier.

  • Frontier Applications: We offer a number of ready-to-use grid applications — across a wide variety of domains from data mining to modeling & simulation — as well as a rich suite of developer tools (below) to easily adapt legacy apps to run on Frontier.

  • Frontier Development Tools: Frontier developer tools — including the Frontier Software Development Kit (SDK) and Frontier IDE Plug-In for Eclipse — enable software engineers to create their own custom Frontier-enabled applications.

    We offer Frontier Rapids, our Integration and Execution Environment, which allows users to rapidly integrate existing applications with Frontier, and frameworks such as the Origin Evolutionary SDK libraries for providing evolutionary optimization using genetic algorithms and evolutionary strategies.

    The JumpStart Grid Software as a Service Application Generator enables developers to very quickly stand up web-based, grid-powered applications and run them from within the Frontier Dashboard — in less than 10 minutes!

What follows is a more detailed discussion of how these components fit together.

An In-Depth Look

We start with the "heart and soul" of the Frontier Grid Platform - the Frontier Grid Server. It schedules tasks, coordinates compute and data resources, and guarantees task execution, even in the presence of unreliable nodes.

  • The public Parabon Computation Grid connects systems around the world, and provides the most scalable Computation on Demand® solution available.
    • By contracting with businesses and universities around the world, Parabon provides an "always on" compute grid, capable of running massively parallel HPC jobs any time, day or night.
    • In addition, by keeping excess capacity on reserve at all times, the Parabon Computation Grid provides tremendous scalability, allowing researchers to boost performance in order to speed discovery and dramatically reduce the time it takes to perform mission-critical calculations and simulations.
  • Organizations and agencies unwilling (or unable) to utilize public resources can still harness the power of their own computers — on their own secure networks — by installing the Frontier Enterprise software in-house.
    • Frontier makes it easy to capture the computational capacity of your existing IT infrastructure, and leverage those resources to run your own HPC applications internally.
    • Also, a Frontier Enterprise solution allows for unlimited usage of an organization's compute engines, making it well suited for very long-running applications — for example, those lasting for months at a time.
    • The Frontier Enterprise software ships as a VMware or Xen-compatible Virtual Appliance, allowing organizations to deploy Frontier in as little as 15 minutes! Watch the video.
    • In addition, the Frontier server is, itself, scalable. A single instance can easily handle more than 1000 nodes, but as the size of your grid increases, the load can easily be divided among multiple grid servers.

The Frontier Dashboard is an easy-to-use web interface for launching and monitoring Frontier applications.

  • Select from a variety of Grid Software as a Service applications available from our online App Store.
  • Launch jobs across hundreds — or thousands — of computers with the click of a button.
  • Monitor your job's status, view and download results, all through an intuitive browser-based interface.

The Frontier Development Tools enable developers to create their own custom grid applications:

  • The Frontier IDE Plug-In for Eclipse makes it easy to develop, debug, and deploy your own Frontier applications.
    • Software engineers who are comfortable with the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE) will feel right at home creating custom applications using our full-featured Frontier plugin.
    • Not only do we provide comprehensive API documentation, but we provide tools which enable developers to launch their jobs, and monitor/debug them in real time, both on a Frontier Grid or within a locally executable Frontier grid simulator.
  • The Frontier Software Development Kit (SDK) enables software engineers to create their own grid-based standalone applications.
    • Developers wishing to integrate the Frontier Grid Platform into their own products directly can download the SDK for free.
    • The SDK includes sample grid programs, tutorials, and full API documentation, as well as the libraries and Java ".jar" files which implement those APIs.
  • Frontier Rapids is an integration and execution environment (IEE) for rapidly deploying existing applications across Frontier.
    • Users simply drop their binary or jar file into a Rapids Runtime directory, customize a Rapids Configuration File and experience the power of Frontier faster than they imagined possible. Many existing applications can run on Rapids with no code changes!
    • Also, its job management commands provide applications with the range of control over Frontier that users expect from a fully integrated Frontier application.
  • In addition, there are more tools available for your use.

By integrating these various pieces, Parabon has developed a comprehensive grid platform, capable of supporting non-technical end-users, as well as seasoned application developers. The Frontier Grid Platform is a revolutionary grid solution that is transforming the very nature of high performance computing.

Frontier 5!
The Nexus of
Grid & Cloud Computing

Frontier JumpStart Demo

Frontier JumpStart Video

About to buy hardware?

Better think twice. Instead of a Linux cluster or some other high-performance solution, get more computation for less money with Frontier. Our utility grid supports individual computers and scheduling across multiple clusters.

What Frontier Is Used For

What It's Used For

Modeling & Simulation

Communication and Network Simulations

Frontier's power leads to significant scientific finding and fosters commercialization.

Protein Folding

Frontier accelerates discovery in the field of protein folding.

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Evolutionary Optimization

Satellite Antenna Design

NASA scientists partner with Parabon.

Optimizing Sensor Placement

Frontier powers an automated sensor placement optimization system.

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Distributed Network Attack® with Frontier

Leading computer forensics company partners with Parabon to expand product line.

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Large Scale Genomic Sequence Comparison

Read how the raw power of Frontier enables large genomic dataset comparisons.

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Data Mining

West Nile Virus Analysis

USGS evaluates ~8.6 billion linear combinations in less than 24 hours of computing time.

Mining Clinical Trial Data

Learn how a biopharmaceutical company used Frontier to mine clinical data.

Biostatistics in Oncology Research

Significant findings in the field of oncology research.


Hidden correlations could lead to customized chemotherapy treatments.

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Financial Forecasting

Risk Analysis in the Financial Sector

Financial firms use Frontier to analyze risk and meet DRCOP requirements.

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DNA Structure Design Optimization

Parabon creates DNA optimization application to aid leading researchers with DNA sequence design optimization.

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See for yourself how Frontier has been used in a wide variety of domains. Check out our Case Studies.