Research computing coffee consultations can benefit would-be, new and experienced users

  • August 18, 2014
  • Science Highlights

Dave Jacoby, a developer for Purdue’s Genomics Core Facility, has been a regular at the weekly meetups hosted by ITaP Research Computing (RCAC) staff, in part because ITaP is now filling a portion of the lab’s server and data storage needs.

The one-hour informal gatherings give Jacoby an opportunity to discuss those resources, gain insight into how to use them and troubleshoot issues with the professionals who operate the systems. But that’s not all he gets out of attending.

“It expands my networking circle where I can ask others questions about Linux, computing and research computing, and help answer other people's questions,” Jacoby says.

The “Coffee Break Consultations” take place from 2 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays with two or three ITaP Research Computing (RCAC) staff members deployed at multiple meeting places around campus, such as Starbucks in the Purdue Memorial Union and the Venture Cafe at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

The meeting places are listed in advance at:

Those interested also can keep abreast of the gatherings, and other ITaP Research Computing activities, through Purdue’s high-performance computing email list, To subscribe to the list, send a message to from the email address you want subscribed.

In addition, information on research computing at Purdue also is available through the ITaP Research Computing (RCAC) Twitter feed, which users can follow by visiting (the account to follow is @PurdueRCAC); and Facebook page (also named PurdueRCAC), at

For more information, email

Research computing staff started the coffees as another way to communicate with and assist users of Purdue’s Community Cluster Program research supercomputers, the Research Data Depot storage solution for active research data use and sharing, and other services. Faculty, staff and students who have an interest in Purdue’s research computing resources, even if they’re not yet using them in their research, are welcome, says Preston Smith, manager of research support for ITaP Research Computing (RCAC).

“It is nice to interact with the people who help our research group,” says Jim Fonseca, a research scientist at the Purdue-based Network for Computational Nanotechnology. “It's also helpful to get an idea of RCAC's plans and things they are working on. Sometimes I'll ask for advice on things that wouldn't necessarily fit in a support ticket.”

Originally posted: August 18, 2014 4:57pm EDT