Chirp at Notre Dame

Chirp is a file system for grid computing. Chirp allows ordinary users to discover, share, and access storage, whether within a single machine room or over a wide area network. It is developed and maintained by Professor Douglas Thain and the University of Notre Dame Cooperative Computing Lab.


Chirp requires no special privileges. Unlike most standard filesystems or storage services, Chirp does not require root access, kernel changes, special modules, or anything like that. It can be run by ordinary users to export ordinary filesystems on any machine or port that you like.

Chirp is transparent. When used with Parrot, Chirp servers can be transparently attached to existing ordinary applications -- like tcsh, vi, and perl -- without any sort of kernel changes or special privileges. Chirp is designed to give maximum compatibility with standard Unix semantics.

Chirp is easy to deploy. Chirp is designed to be deployed with a minimum of fuss. One simple command starts a Chirp server or a Chirp client. There is no complex configuration, installation, or setup to mess up. It just works. This makes Chirp ideal for on-the-fly storage management in batch computing and grid computing environments.

Using Chirp

Chirp and its components can be accessed in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most straightforward, universal way is through the CCL's Chirp Tools, which can be installed alongside the rest of the cctools packages. To install, please see the Cooperative Computing Tools Installation page.

Basic management of Chirp clusters can be done using the Chirp Catalog, which can be accessed through any web browser.

In addition, users can view the capacity, load, and network activity of Chirp clusters via the Chirp Visual Status Page (requires Java).

For Linux users, the easiest option may be Parrot, a tool that grants ordinary shell commands access to Chirp file systems.

And finally, for the programming-savvy, Chirp can be accessed directly in code using the Chirp API, which works on any operating system and offers the best performance of the options presented here.

More Information

You can find out more about Chirp at the CCL website.