By revealing the name the WUR High Performance Computing (HPC) Cluster was opened on Thursday 14th. The name Anunna is used for a cluster of deities in ancient Mesopotamia. It is fitting for the new cluster of computers, overseeing and executing the work to provide computing power for science and education.
A HPC is an indispensable tool for data intensive science. This renewed platform is even faster and offers more opportunities for research and education than the old platform. With this the system is set up for the next five years. The FB-IT team in charge of the HPC gave insight into the process of obtaining the new HPC, all new features and technical set up. The new setup has more CPU cores, memory and GPU’s, increased support on hardware and resilient setup, and a quicker lustre. They listed the, by the audience much appreciated, support available for users. The difference between computing with CPU’s and GPU’s was explained by Gwen Dawes. “It is not small task to setting up GPU computing, but the rewards can be great”.
Research and education
Three WUR scientists and teachers illustrated the use of the HPC in their daily work. Laurens Ganzeveld talked about how the Meteorology and Air Quality group uses the HPC models for climate research and his students for education. All the way from small scale modelling (meters) through to global scale, with the timescale ranging from seconds to years and decades. The university students work on global climate modelling, designing and executing their own experiment on the HPC.
From Bioscience, Sara Diaz gave insight into the data collection and using models to put the puzzle of DNA fragments of plants together to one genome. This all is to contribute to developing resilient plants to feed the world.
Joanne Verweij highlighted the research of the Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter group which makes use of the HPC to study the surface and interfacial phenomena of micro-emulsions, and the polymeric and particle networks, such as dynamics in colloidal gels.
Support and knowledge sharing is available for new and experienced users. A community consisting of user groups and a wiki give users the opportunity to share tips and tricks. The walk-in Helpdesk on Wednesdays at the Forum building, and training is available for beginners, intermediates to advanced users. And of course an email box for questions to the HPC team. The next trainings are planned in April and May. The audience was also invited to in the future share their experiences about Python and R with other users of the HPC.
Big data and its challenges
Willem-Jan Knibbe from the Wageningen Data Competence Center (WDCC) talked about the integral approach WUR is taking to develop new opportunities for data-driven research and education, creating new services based on big data, making sure that smart access of data and information is available, and developing tools and services. The HPC is a prime example in which all above mentioned attributes come together, such as a high potential of cooperation through supporting research, developing tools and a pool of shared expertise, within an efficient infrastructure and connecting to external partners.
Shared Research Facilities and Wageningen Data Competence Center
The HPC is part of the Shared Research Facilities (SRF) of WUR. For this investment, SRF joined forces with other WUR organisations, the Wageningen Data Competence Center (WDCC) and FB-IT, to support (big) data and data science for WUR researchers and beyond.