ITaP surveying faculty and staff about research computing needs and new supercomputer

February 10, 2011

ITaP is planning a new community cluster supercomputer to be built in 2011 and gathering information about what Purdue faculty and staff may need either as a part of the new system or in computers for departmental or individual use. The combined purchase allows ITaP to negotiate a better price with vendors in both cases and offers participants more for their money.

An online survey is being used to gather information about campus research computing users and uses, needs and possible configuration options. The deadline for completing the survey is Feb. 25.

After ITaP receives input from potential users and information from vendors, ITaP staff will make a list of configurations to send to vendors for bidding.

Information about the Community Cluster Program also is available by rcac-cluster-purchase@lists.purdue.edu ITaP's Rosen Center For Advanced Computing. ITaP sends updates about new clusters to members of the community cluster mailing list.

ITaP built community clusters each of the last three years, which increased the supercomputing power available to Purdue researchers by more than 10 times and ranks Purdue near the top nationally in availability of campus research computing resources. The clusters are being used in diverse ways, from modeling climate change and designing new medicines to studying Wikipedia’s social structure and simulating next-generation nanoscale electronics.

Through community clustering, Purdue’s Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, ITaP’s research and discovery arm, pools funds to make more computing power available than faculty and campus units could afford individually. ITaP installs, administers and maintains those systems, including security, so researchers can concentrate on doing research rather than running a high-performance computing system.

A community cluster also maximizes the use of resources by sharing computing power researchers need only part of the time with their peers, who may use it during what would otherwise be idle time. Participants always have access to the computing power they purchase, and potentially more when they need it.

Writer: Greg Kline, science and technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP), 765-494-8167 (office), 765-426-8545 (mobile), gkline@purdue.edu

Originally posted: February 10, 2011