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HPC@UC provides researchers with rapid access to supercomputing

Comet and Gordon, two supercomputing clusters at the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC)

If you’re a Berkeley researcher in need of significant computing power, the HPC@UC program can provide rapid access to high performance computing (HPC) resources at the San Diego Supercomputing Center (SDSC).

HPC@UC offers computational resources on two clusters at SDSC: Comet and Gordon. Comet provides nearly 2,000 compute nodes, including Graphics Processor Unit (GPU) nodes, and large memory nodes with 1.5 terabytes of memory each. Gordon balances fast, flash-based storage and large memory nodes to offer an ideal platform for data-intensive research computation. Both clusters also have access to over 7 petabytes of fast parallel storage, usable as short-term performance storage, as well as to storage that persists for the life of the research project. SDSC clusters are supported by staff who are available to assist researchers in right-sizing their compute jobs to the most appropriate compute resource. 

Awards decisions for the use of these SDSC clusters are made within 10 working days of application. Trial accounts, to assess suitability for your research applications and workflow, can be set up in a single business day.

For UC Berkeley researchers, the HPC@UC program complements the campus’s own Savio high-performance computing cluster. Compared with Savio, Comet and Gordon offer both additional computing resources and different types of HPC features. Campus researchers who have successfully used Savio and/or the SDSC clusters can cite this usage to demonstrate readiness in applying for access to a large and growing set of supercomputing resources at other national computational centers, via the NSF-funded XSEDE program.

Oliver Mullerklein, a PhD student in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley uses Comet to analyze the relationships between foraging behavior and evolutionary fitness in a variety of mammalian study species. He has found that, “Comet is an extremely well supported and documented High Performance Computing system, including a tutorial walk-through of connecting and implementing jobs as well as guides to writing a successful allocation request. I would highly recommend Comet for researchers wanting to be introduced to HPC systems.”

Importantly, access to Comet is possible through both the XSEDE program and HPC@UC, but the access paths are mutually exclusive -- you can’t gain access to Comet through both programs. Researchers are encouraged to consult with Berkeley Research Computing Consulting to determine the preferred path to access SDSC resources.

Contributors to this article: Aron Roberts and Jason Christopher