ITaP still taking faculty orders for new research supercomputing cluster

August 19, 2011

Faculty orders for the new Hansen Community Cluster research supercomputer are still being taken by ITaP, which plans to have the new system operating in September.

The Hansen cluster features Dell compute nodes with four 12-core AMD Opteron 6176 processors (48 cores per node). The nodes are available with either 96 or 192 gigabytes of memory. A large-memory option with 512 gigabytes of memory also is available.

In addition, the new cluster will include a high-performance Lustre scratch storage system and 10 gigabit Ethernet interconnects.

To see available hardware and to order visit: http://www.rcac.purdue.edu/order/. Prices will remain the same until Nov. 15.

“The Community Cluster Program allows faculty to pull resources together into a more significant computational system,” says John Campbell, associate vice president for academic technologies. “Faculty benefit from not having to worry about system administration and from being able to use nodes from other faculty partners when they are not busy.”

Through community clustering, ITaP pools internal and external funds to make more computing power available for Purdue research projects than faculty and campus units could afford individually.

ITaP’s Rosen Center for Advanced Computing installs, administers and maintains the community cluster systems, including security and user support with software installation and consulting. The upshot: researchers get to concentrate on doing research rather than on running a high-performance computing system.

Community clustering also maximizes the use of resources by sharing computing power researchers use only part of the time with their peers, who can make use of it during what might otherwise be idle time. Faculty partners always have ready access to the capacity they purchase, and potentially more if needed.

The program also provides an opportunity for departments or individuals purchasing computing equipment for use outside the new cluster to take advantage of price breaks available in a group purchase, says Campbell, who heads the Rosen Center, ITaP’s research computing unit.

Vendors provide significant price breaks on large orders. Purdue saved nearly $2 million versus standard university pricing on the Steele, Coates and Rossmann clusters built in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Many faculty partners took the opportunity to add to their orders, ending up with more computing power for the dollars they had planned to spend.

The three clusters have delivered 300 million research computing hours to faculty and their students since the Community Cluster Program began in 2008.

Like the other machines, the new cluster is named for a prominent figure in Purdue research computing history. The Hansen cluster recognizes the late Arthur G. Hansen, Purdue’s eighth president, who was a strong supporter of high-performance computing at the University.

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: August 19, 2011