Faculty collaboration boosts high performance computing

News - 12 December 2017 - Webredactie

A couple of months ago TPM began collaborating with research departments from the faculties of CEG and EEMCS and bundled their High Performance Computing (HPC) capacity in the INSY cluster. TPM wanted to do this for the last eight years, but the timing was not right yet for such a collaboration. Now these faculties can benefit from each other's computer facilities, enabling them to make better computations than was previously possible. This is vital, because today's complex models and overflow in big data, need more capacity, explains Igor Nikolic, associate professor at the Energy & Industry research group at TPM.

Computing power
This collaboration is unique at TU Delft. Up to now, each faculty and sometimes each department within a faculty had its own computing cluster. By collaborating, ten times more computing power is available, compared with the situation that computers are being used at only one single faculty. This represents a huge reduction in processing time. Tasks that would normally take a month to process can now be completed in a day. Computers are free to use by people from other faculties at times when their 'own' faculty researchers don't use them. It also makes sense from a financial perspective to use each other's computers when possible, rather than buying new computers to increase capacity. Another benefit is that operational expertise is now bundled and therefore not lost when a doctoral candidate leaves the faculty or department.

Hospitable Other faculties were already welcome to use the computing power at TPM, where eight years ago the largest HPC from TU Delft was established. Even back then this opportunity was eagerly used. Frans Broos from TPM's ICT department acted as a facilitator. Igor Nikolic was responsible for technical and organisational matters. Fortunately, with the passing of time, the barriers between the faculties concerning the use of each other’s computer capacity have been steadily crumbling. “Regarding the new collaboration around the INSY cluster, Broos is playing an important role as connector”, says Nikolic. Broos and Nikolic are both keen to see this collaboration implemented university-wide. “This would be very relevant for an institute like TU Delft, where there is a great demand for high performance computing”, says Broos.