Previously, USC had several independent High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters funded by separate grants, faculty startup packages, and institutional funds. The independent cluster environments often resulted in duplication of technical support staff, software and infrastructure costs.
Even in cases when resources were shared between researchers or between research groups, competing for resources internally was still an issue. The best solution was to provide computational services to the general community with a common infrastructure that can also support researchers needing their own dedicated resources.
To increase efficiency and reduce duplication, the partner program provides dedicated resources for researchers who want to purchase their own nodes while taking advantage of a common infrastructure to reduce costs. Partners obtain results more quickly with their own compute nodes compared to faculty who share nodes with the campus HPC community.
Besides Partners having the advantage of highest priority on their hardware, their contribution will increase the total computational capacity of the cluster when they are not using their nodes. Another benefit is Partners also have access to all community “shared” resources including compute, GPU and Big Data nodes.
In summary, a combined and unified HPC environment affords:
- Peace of Mind
Research Computing system administrators take care of security patches, attempted hacks, operating system upgrades, and hardware repair so faculty and graduate students can concentrate on research.
- Low Overhead and Infrastructure
Research Computing data centers provide infrastructure such as networking, racks, floor space, cooling, and power. The datacenter maintains 24/7 physical security, direct connections to 10 Gb and 100 Gb networks, Internet2 connectivity, and UPS battery backup and failover emergency power for all nodes and infrastructure equipment.
- Cost Effectiveness
Research Computing works with vendors to obtain the best price for computing resources by pooling funds from different disciplines to leverage greater group purchasing power.
Partners have already invested significantly in campus HPC capabilitie, which has resulted in increased computational resources, and success in both research accomplished and funds saved on equipment purchases.
For more information on how to become a Partner by purchasing dedicated nodes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.