Sometimes you have to give up something in order to move forward. This is what University of Aberdeen has recently done with a new cluster supercomputer called Maxwell. The idea is simple – literally. By simplifying and consolidating the university’s high performance computing (HPC) resources, this will free up top researchers at Aberdeen to focus on research, and not be bogged down with system management that can be common in the world of supercomputing.

We’ve long heard one of the top challenges in HPC is that our best scientists and researchers are spending their valuable time administering supercomputing systems. Of course, every minute and hour a scientist spends on cluster system management, is lost time forever that would be better spent on science and leading to new discoveries!

For years, we’ve seen the solution be presented as providing these researchers easier to use system management tools. This is a great approach, given that the scientist often doesn’t have a choice; if they don’t manage the system, no one will. However you have to hand it to Aberdeen University for taking a system-wide approach to easing this burden.

I can imagine how difficult it must have been for the smart folks at Aberdeen to make some touch decisions and decommission some disparate cluster systems in the name of greater good. Luckily it seems most of these systems were nearly end of life status anyway.

I also can imagine how solving these issues for a complex institutional level like a university would be hard. You have to hand it to them for taking on cultural and operational changes, to provide a better, and more efficient solution to University itself. The researchers at Aberdeen have had some of the system management burden lifted.

Do you think we will see more consolidation of HPC resources moving forward? Or do you think the cultural and operational systems are too engrained?

 

See below for more information on this announcement from Aberdeen University:

Official Dell News Announcement: University Of Aberdeen Speeds Up Future Research with Dell

http://www.dell.com/learn/uk/en/ukcorp1/press-releases/2013-07-08-dell-hpc-university-of-aberdeen

HPCWire: University Of Aberdeen Speeds Up Future Research With Dell

http://www.hpcwire.com/hpcwire/2013-07-08/university_of_aberdeen_speeds_up_future_research_with_dell.html

ComputerWorld UK: Aberdeen deploys HPC server cluster to boost research power

http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/infrastructure/3456529/aberdeen-deploys-hpc-server-cluster-boost-research-power/

Scientific Computing World: Dell system installed at Aberdeen University

http://www.scientific-computing.com/news/news_story.php?news_id=2174