RCSS Fall Update 2016

Research Computing Support Services (RCSS) continues to evolve to meet the needs of researchers on campus. Here are some of our latest activities:

HPC Environment Upgrade

This summer, we advanced the campus research computing, storage, and networking infrastructure by upgrading and expanding two existing clusters, building four new specialized clusters, and decommissioning old equipment and infrastructure. This involved:

  • Decommissioning aging compute, storage, and support infrastructure to improve security, power usage, maintenance costs, space, and cooling.
  • Implementing the next generation provisioning and configuration system to facilitate growth and investment.
  • Investing in additional HPC capacity to serve the entire research community across campus and UM System.
  • Increasing the amount of investor-purchased (colleges, labs, cores, and researchers) computing capacity.  This included a sizeable purchase for the NSF-sponsored experimental cluster MRI grant.
  • Utilizing the campus Cyberinfrastructure Plan update process to identify and formalize the need for a specialized and dedicated cluster for sequence analysis. This process was a partnership with researchers, the campus Cyberinfrastructure Council, vendors, Research Computing Support Services, IRCF, Mizzou Advantage and the Office of Research to define, test, and fund the environment. The environment was purchased at the end of FY16 along with the other capacity investments at considerable savings, thanks to incentive funding by Dell.
  • Building a teaching cluster from donated equipment to facilitate the training of students in scientific computing and utilization of High Performance Computing environments.
  • Developing a secure (DCL4) research computing environment.  This cluster will support researchers doing work with sensitive data such as patient records in a highly secure, standardized, and cost-effective manner.
  • Increasing the number of researchers utilizing centralized research computing, storage and networking resources, the amount of computing core hours conducted, and the number of individuals trained in utilizing the environment.
  • Negotiating a long-term sustainable 100Gbps connection to the next generation Internet2 Advanced Layer 2 System (AL2S) research network.

Enhanced Presence of Mizzou Research Computing

This past year, RCSS staff engaged with regional and national communities of support to continue to bring knowledge, experience, and expertise to MU. Activities included:

  • Creating a state wide Cyberinfrastructure group (http://ShowMeCI.org/) to promote “Sharing Cyberinfrastructure information, education, and resources across the Show Me State.”
  • Taking part in the NSF grant (Award #1620695) titled, Advancing Research and Education through a National Network of Campus Research Computing Infrastructures – The CaRC Consortium. This grant supports researchers utilizing advanced Cyberinfrastructure and helps fund a new “Cyberinfrastructure Engineer” position.
  • Joining the national XSEDE Campus Champion Program https://www.xsede.org/web/campus-champions that provides national scale computing resources and support for scientific computing.
  • Hosting MU’s Cyberinfrastructure Day to promote the development and use of CI across campus where we presented a major campus Cyberinfrastructure Plan.
  • Exhibiting at SuperCompute15, the preeminent High Performance Computing conference for scientific computing.

Improved Support for Researchers.

We are always striving to better support MU researchers with their computational needs. Current activities include:

  • Keeping Research Computing Support Services web presence fresh with regular blog posts and service catalog updates.
  • Offering weekly Lewis training sessions.
  • Expanding High Performance Computing training opportunities for researchers on campus.
  • Hiring additional personnel to directly support researchers in their computational needs.

Sept. 21, 2016