How can the TU Delft support your research computing needs?

News - 19 March 2020

Laptop can’t keep up with your research needs? Try these resources…

Why this blog?

Sometimes you just can’t solve your research computing problems with a laptop alone. Maybe you’re trying to capture data from an experiment that’s running over several days. Maybe your computer simulation needs more computer memory than you can fit into your laptop. Or maybe several members of your group need to use the same software installation. Perhaps you need to host a website for your research project.

Whatever the reason, this blog post lists resources you may find useful, and people that may be able to help you further.

To access some of the links, you may have to log in with your TU Delft NetID.

Human help

 
Do you have the kind of prickly problem we like to sink our teeth into?

Each faculty has its own Faculty IT Manager (FIM). You can find your FIM here:

intranet.tudelft.nl/en/-/faculty-it-manager (log into intranet.tudelft.nl first and then copy/paste this link) If you need to discuss your IT requirements, your FIM is your first point of contact.

Is your problem more data related? Each faculty has a Data Steward. You can find your Data Steward here:
https://www.tudelft.nl/en/library/current-topics/research-data-management/r/support/data-stewardship/contact/

Perhaps one of your fellow researchers has already solved your type of problem. Maybe it’s worth contacting a Data Champion close to home:
https://www.tudelft.nl/en/library/current-topics/research-data-management/r/data-stewardship/data-champions/our-data-champions/

Still no joy? Please feel free to contact me or one of my colleagues at ICT-Innovation. Chances are that you have just the kind of problem we like to sink our teeth into. You can find us here:
https://www.tudelft.nl/ict-innovation/about-innovation/

Computer resources


Is the biggest threat to your research at this moment, the cleaner who needs to plug in the vacuum cleaner?

Nonstandard laptops, desktops and specials

Please discuss this with your FIM first and then order here: https://intranet.tudelft.nl/-/ordering-hardware-laptop-desktop-and-paraphernalia- (log into intranet.tudelft.nl first and then copy/paste this link)

Research group servers and clusters

Some groups and departments at the TU Delft have their own locally maintained computer clusters. Ask your colleagues or your FIM. There are also a number centrally maintained computer clusters. You can find out more about these clusters, and apply for access, here:
https://hpcwiki.tudelft.nl/index.php/Introduction

Virtual Machines (VM) /  Hosted Servers

If you are looking for a maintained, ‘always on’ computer with an operating system, network access, backup and not much else, then a hosted server could be what you are looking for:
https://intranet.tudelft.nl/en/-/hosting-servers (log into intranet.tudelft.nl first and then copy/paste this link)

Personal anecdote: I find this particularly useful. I have a standard Windows laptop and I work on a number of different projects at the same time for which linux is more appropriate. I apply for a hosted server for the duration of the project and within a few days I have what I need, with thanks to my friendly FIM.

DHPC – Delft High Performance Computing

Hopefully coming towards the end of 2020!

SURF National Computer Facilities

If you need more computational power, then you might consider the national computer facilities provided by SURF. See:
https://www.surf.nl/en/which-compute-service-for-which-research-question

·         Cartesius – large scale parallel – https://userinfo.surfsara.nl/systems/cartesius

·         Lisa – ‘friendly’ processing power - https://userinfo.surfsara.nl/systems/lisa

·         HPC cloud – for individual or group - https://userinfo.surfsara.nl/systems/hpc-cloud

·         Grid – extremely large datasets - https://userinfo.surfsara.nl/systems/grid

For ‘large’ requests, applications go through NWO: https://www.nwo.nl/en/funding/our-funding-instruments/enw/computing-time-on-national-computer-facilities/access-to-the-national-computer-facilities-for-regular-projects.html

For ‘small’ requests, applications go through SURF: https://www.surf.nl/en/applying-for-access-to-compute-services

Alternatively, your FIM can arrange access to Cartesius and Lisa on a pay per use basis: https://userinfo.surfsara.nl/systems/shared/rccs

Cloud services

Of course, if you are not working with (privacy) sensitive data, it’s always possible to use commercial providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS Google GCS, etc. Please discuss this with your FIM first.

If you have privacy or security concerns please use the TU Delft Cloud Advice Service:
https://intranet.tudelft.nl/en/-/cloud-advice-service-1 (log into intranet.tudelft.nl first and then copy/paste this link)

Website Hosting

If you need to host a website, you can apply for a LAMP environment here: https://intranet.tudelft.nl/en/-/application-for-lamp-website (log into intranet.tudelft.nl first and then copy/paste this link)
Apparently there’s a new improved LAMP environment coming soon!

You could also consider using Github pages for Github project websites. See:
https://pages.github.com/ and https://help.github.com/en/articles/using-jekyll-as-a-static-site-generator-with-github-pages

If you would like a TU Delft domain name for your website, you can apply for one here:  https://tudelft.topdesk.net/tas/public/ssp/  Log into the self-service portal and then navigate to SOFTWARE & AUTORISATIONS > IT FOR COMMUNICATION > REQUEST DOMAIN NAMES

Do you need to host a Data Portal? Please consider using the 4TU data repository (https://researchdata.4tu.nl/en/), DANS (https://dans.knaw.nl/en), Zenodo (https://zenodo.org/), or a domain specific repository first. If you have to build your own, consider using the CKAN Data Portal Platform: https://ckan.org.

Do you need to host a Research Software Directory? Please consider using the Dutch national directory (https://www.research-software.nl/). If you need to build your own, consider reusing the software used to build the national directory (https://github.com/research-software-directory/research-software-directory/).

Can’t find what you need?


Things can move quickly in the world of scientific computing

By the time you read this blog, a lot of the links may no longer work and the information will probably be outdated. No problem! If you can’t find what you are looking for, or if you have a problem not mentioned here, or if you know of additional useful resources, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You can find me here TU Delft and here LinkedIn and here Twitter and here github.

Acknowledgements

This blog expresses the views of the author, Susan Branchett.

The FIMs, Data Stewards and ICT-Innovation staff are kindly acknowledged for their help in collecting the information provided above.

Binary code, alpaca and train images are used under the Pixabay license.
Server image by Flickr user Phil! Gold / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0).

This article is published under a CC-BY-4.0 international license.