Purchase of High Performance Computing (HPC) Central Compute Resources by Northwestern Researchers

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1 Information Technology Purchase of High Performance Computing (HPC) Central Compute Resources by Northwestern Researchers Effective for FY2016 Purpose This document summarizes High Performance Computing (HPC) compute resources that faculty engaged in research may purchase through Northwestern University Information Technology (NUIT). Summary of HPC Compute Resources for Research Northwestern University Information Technology (NUIT) operates Quest through the acquisition of funds from faculty grants, startup packages, and institutional sources. Housed at the University's central data centers, these resources benefit from a secure, reliable, and stable environment and are designed to meet the compute needs of our researchers. The Applications and Allocations Committee, comprised of Northwestern faculty, with staff support from members of NUIT, allocates access to Quest through a quarterly review process. Full Access Users can obtain full access to Quest as described in this document. Quest has been designed to support three types of InfiniBand-connected cluster servers: 1. Compute-Intensive nodes without local storage, 2. Data-Intensive nodes with local storage, and 3. Visualization nodes with local storage and GPU appliances In addition to the resources listed above, NUIT will create dedicated virtual guest servers for Northwestern faculty researchers to host web and database services that may facilitate the sharing of research results or otherwise fulfill requirements of funding agencies. Virtual servers are provided upon request at no charge. Quest Account Creation and Job Prioritization The Applications and Allocations Committee allocates access to Quest. Procedures for applying to the Committee for a Quest account or for obtaining access to an existing Quest account can be found at: 1. Authorized users are granted access to Quest and given a 50 GB home directory. Full access to Quest is only granted to Full Access Users. With the purchase of guaranteed computing time on Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 1

2 Quest, as detailed in the remainder of this document, the Full Access User is guaranteed launch of jobs on the Quest HPC cluster within 4 hours of scheduling the job. Full Access Users are guaranteed the use of an annual compute-core-hours allocation resulting from their equipment purchases for a period of five years. Full Access Users may divide their compute-core-hours allocation among members of their research group. Joining Quest as a Full Access user has several benefits: Professional System Administration NUIT HPC administrators handle security patches, operating system updates, hardware repairs, account management, and system troubleshooting so faculty and graduate students can focus on their research. Cost Effective Full Access Users are not charged for basic infrastructure resources and technical staff support. These institutional costs include: core InfiniBand and Ethernet network switches, power distribution units; a secure data center that is monitored 24/7; the data center operations staff, and the technical HPC consulting staff supporting researchers. Application and Code Support NUIT HPC Specialists help users with the installation, porting, and optimization of code on the Quest high performance computing system. The installation cycles for new Quest nodes, the specifications for various new Quest nodes and the duration of Full Access Use of hardware are detailed in the remainder of this document. Purchasing Full Access User Allocations on Quest To purchase Full Access User allocations on Quest, the requesting researcher must be a member of the Northwestern faculty. A letter of intent must be completed and signed by the requesting faculty member and approved by NUIT, The Office of the Provost, and The Office for Research. The letter of intent must contain the amount of funds that the researcher will make available to the University for the purchase of the requested compute resources, and a chart string from which the funds will be transferred. If funds are not available when the letter of intent is submitted, the requesting faculty member must provide documentation specifying when funds will be available. (Please see Appendix A for the Letter of Intent form.) If sponsored funds are used for purchase of a Full Access User allocation, the faculty member is responsible for assuring the purchase is required to achieve and is consistent with the purpose and aims of the grant. The faculty member will complete any necessary re-budgeting of the sponsored project, if required, to ensure appropriate management of the funds. Technical Research Computing Staff Support for Researchers To facilitate access to and use of research computing resources, NUIT research computing technical staff work directly with Northwestern University researchers, postdocs, and students. This includes providing workshops and training sessions on using Quest, Vault and other computing resources. Each course is designed to train researchers on how to use high performance computing and research storage Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 2

3 resources for their research projects as well as to address individual questions and concerns. They also describe new applications and technologies related to research in high performance computing and research computing. Additional details can be found at: Quest Compute Resources The Quest HPC cluster is designed to run both compute-intensive and data-intensive application codes with the greatest economy. The Quest HPC system stands today at 7,056 compute cores hosting over 500 account holders representing 46 academic departments, over 150 research projects, and five schools. Ten academic units have contributed funds to Quest in order to gain Full Access to the system and dedicated access to large volumes of storage. Approximately 20% of Quest nodes have local storage drives for facilitating data-intensive job runs. The types of InfiniBand-connected server clusters that Quest has been designed to support are summarized below: Equipment Cost and Description 1. Quest Data-Intensive. Compute Node with Local Storage a. Intel Haswell i. Characteristics 1. Processors: 2x Intel Haswell 12-core E v3 (24 cores total), 64-bit, 30MB Cache, 2.5 GHz 2. Memory: 128GB per node, Type: DDR4 3. Interconnect: InfiniBand FDR/14 4. Local Disk: 1TB SATA HDD 5. Quest Parallel Storage: 48 GBs ii. Full Access User Cost per Node: $8,457 iii. Purchase of a Full Access data-intensive node will provide the researcher with a minimum of 201,600 compute-core-hours of Quest HPC computing resource per year, for a duration of five years. 2. Quest Visualization. Intel Haswell Compute Node with Local Storage and GPGPU a. Characteristics i. Processors: 2x Intel Haswell 12-core E v3 (24 cores total), 64-bit, 30MB Cache, 2.5 GHz ii. GPGPU: 2x nvidia Tesla K10 iii. Memory: 128GB per node, Type: DDR4 iv. Interconnect: InfiniBand FDR/14 v. Local Disk: 1TB SATA HDD vi. Quest Parallel Storage: 48 GBs b. Full Access User Cost per Node: Estimated at $15,100 Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 3

4 Visualization/GPGPU nodes are designed to facilitate the analysis and visualization of large data sets. Consisting of GPU appliances, such as the nvidia Tesla, these servers are integrated with Quest through high-speed InfiniBand connections to Quest parallel storage systems. Installation Cycles Satisfying routine orders for Full Access computing and visualization nodes occurs monthly, provided that nodes are in stock or chassis capacity is available. Orders for large numbers of nodes, or when chassis space is insufficient, are combined into an annual incremental purchase and installation cycle. This cycle begins with researcher commitments in October through January. Equipment is purchased in February and installation is completed by May. The per node cost charged to Full Access Users for the purchase of equipment is determined as an integral part of this process at the beginning of each fiscal year. Full Access node pricing in this document is good until August 31, NUIT will periodically review pricing for Quest computing resources. The latest version of this document, along with most current pricing, is available at: Duration of Full Access Use Full Access Users are guaranteed full access to Quest compute cores for a period of five years from the date of the installation of the funded hardware purchase. Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 4

5 Appendix A LETTER OF INTENT: Full Access User of Quest To purchase Full Access User allocations on Quest, the requesting researcher must be a member of the Northwestern faculty. A letter of intent must be completed and signed by the requesting faculty member and reviewed by NUIT. It will then be forwarded with NUIT s approvals to The Office of the Provost and The Office for Research and/or Accounting Services for Research and Sponsored Projects. The letter of intent must contain the amount of funds that the researcher will make available to the University to purchase the requested resources, and a chart string from which the funds will be transferred. If funds are not available when the letter of intent is submitted, the requesting faculty member must provide documentation specifying when funds will be available. If sponsored funds are used for the Full Access User allocations on Quest, the faculty member is responsible for assuring the purchase is required to achieve and is consistent with the purpose and aims of the grant. For planning purposes, a plan describing how the investment should be distributed among research computing resources must be provided. This initial distribution will be considered an estimate only. When final costs are determined the Full Access User may make adjustments to the distribution of the investment. See the following page for a template letter of intent. Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 5

6 Letter of Intent to purchase equipment and become a Full Access User of Quest : Faculty Sponsor: Funding Total: Funds availability date: Services availability date The Faculty Sponsor commits the indicated funding amount(s) and source(s) to NUIT to purchase and install the following equipment in exchange for the described Full Access user privileges: Item Description of equipment and user privileges Funding Amount Chart string Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 6

7 Faculty Sponsor: NU Information Technology Office of the Provost Office for Research Dean s Office Revised: June 19 th 2015 Page 7

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