The cactus framework and toolkit: Design and applications

Tom Goodale, Gabrielle Allen, Gerd Lanfermann, Joan Massó, Thomas Radke, Edward Seidel, John Shalf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We describe Cactus, a framework for building a variety of computing applications in science and engineering, including astrophysics, relativity and chemical engineering. We first motivate by example the need for such frameworks to support multi-platform, high performance applications across diverse communities. We then describe the design of the latest release of Cactus (Version 4.0) a complete rewrite of earlier versions, which enables highly modular, multi-language, parallel applications to be developed by single researchers and large collaborations alike. Making extensive use of abstractions, we detail how we are able to provide the latest advances in computational science, such as interchangeable parallel data distribution and high performance IO layers, while hiding most details of the underlying computational libraries from the application developer. We survey how Cactus 4.0 is being used by various application communities, and describe how it will also enable these applications to run on the computational Grids of the near future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-227
Number of pages31
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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