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University of Melbourne releases Spartan HPC service

University of Melbourne releases Spartan HPC service

It combines traditional HPC with a cloud computing component

The University of Melbourne has launched a new high performance computing (HPC) service called Spartan.

It combines traditional HPC with a cloud computing component and the university claims that no other university has put a system like this into production.

University of Melbourne head of research computer services, Bernard Meade, said the application of HPC and cloud techniques would increase research productivity across a wide range of disciplines.

“Many research projects demand high speed interconnect. Spartan can quickly scale into cloud based virtual machines as needed, and expand the HPC system as user needs evolve,” Meade said.

“Traditional HPC systems are typically tailored for a few specific use cases, but in practice are used for a much wider variety of applications, resulting in less than optimal usage.”

Spartan can grow and evolve according to the demands of researchers, expanding physically or virtually as required. The design features a nucleus of high performance, tightly coupled machines, augmented by thousands of compute cores in the Melbourne Node of the Research Cloud.

Researchers will be able to run jobs on bare metal with high-speed interconnections, use a cluster of virtual machines or use a combination of the two. It also caters for the diverse workloads of modern research, rather than forcing them all together in a sub-optimal environment.

Spartan uses the open-source Linux operating system and SLURM as a workload manager. Physical hardware includes Intel systems sourced from Dell and switches from Mellanox and Cisco.

The combination of the architecture, hardware, and software choices has already generated impressive results with the fastest latency tests down to 1.15 µsec.

“Spartan is a hybrid HPC service, designed to suit a wide range of problem domains. We believe this is the future of HPC,” Meade said.

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