Apt is a platform for sharing research; it is open to all researchers, educators, and students. It is built around profiles, which describe experiments; when you instantiate a profile, that specification is realized on one of Apt’s clusters using virtual or physical machines. The creator of a profile may put code, data, and other resources into it, and the profile may consist of a single machine or may describe an entire network.
Basic access to public profiles on Apt is provided
without the need to register for an account—
Setting up the software environment to run research artifacts is often complicated, potentially requiring a specific version of an operating system, dependencies on a large number of packages, and a complicated build and configuration process for the research software.
Setting up the hardware environment can be even more troublesome, especially when one wants to reproduce published results, which may be highly sensitive to the specific hardware they were gathered on. The problem becomes complicated when more than one machine is needed to run the experiment.
Apt’s profiles capture this by describing both the software needed to run an experiment and the hardware (physical or virtual) that the software needs to run. By providing a hardware platform for running these profiles, Apt essentially enables researchers to build their own testbed environments and share them with others, without having to buy, build, or maintain the underlying infrastructure.
Apt is built on Emulab and GENI technologies. It is built and operated by the Flux Research Group, part of the University of Utah’s School of Computing. Apt is supported by the National Science Foundation under award CNS-1338155 and by the University of Utah.