Advanced Research Computing at Hopkins: An Adventure in Shared Governance

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#High Performance Computing. HPC. Data Center. Condominium Computing. Computational Research.

Dr. Paulette Clancy and Dr. Jaime Combariza describe the architecture, operation, and advantages of "ARCH" - the shared, condominium business model private computing cluster at Johns Hopkins University.

The Rockfish High Performance Computing Cluster went into production in March 2021. Initially funded by an MRI grant from the National Science Foundation (OAC1920103) with cost-sharing provided by the Johns Hopkins Schools of Engineering and Arts and Science, as well as from the provost office, it replaces the Bluecrab compute cluster that went into production in July 2015.

The MRI grant allows three institutions use of these resources, Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University and NSF’s XSEDE. A “condominium business model” was developed so research groups (PIs) can add compute “condos” to the cluster, share resources and increase the computational capability of the instrument.

As of January 2022, the system has over 35,000 cores and 31 faculty-added condos with additional coming soon. A commitment from several JHU Deans has created a sustainability plan to fund multi-million dollar ‘technology refreshes’ on an ongoing basis. A faculty-staff oversight committee ensures that there is a close relationship between the system administrators, vice Deans, and faculty users.

The net result is a successful adventure in shared governance that provides impressive petascale computing resources that are shared in a manner ensuring load-balancing and hence optimal usage with a personal touch that is not possible with larger but more impersonal national supercomputer facilities.

Dr. Paulette Clancy and Dr. Jaime Combariza describe the architecture, operation, and advantages of "ARCH" - the shared, condominium business model private computing cluster at Johns Hopkins University.

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