ARCCA: Enabling Research Throughout the University
ARCCA users come from a range of research backgrounds and academic disciplines. A core element to the work of the ARCCA Division has been to illustrate the benefits of High Performance Computing to users from Academic Schools that do not traditionally embrace this technology.
There are now 360 unique users of ARCCA's services from 18 of the University's Academic Schools, undertaking over 100 different research projects. The majority of these users are registered on the Merlin supercomputer system, which has a computing power equivalent to over 2,000 desktop PCs.
48 users are registered on Condor – the workload management system for compute-intensive jobs. Condor enables users to harness the power of unused desktop PCs across campus to run large numbers of jobs.
Approximately 60% of the 329 registered users on the Merlin supercomputer are from the traditional HPC disciplines (Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy, Computer Science and Informatics, Engineering, and Earth and Ocean Sciences).
Summary of the Merlin user base by academic school.
Analysing the breakdown of the current user base on Merlin suggests that 50% of the community are research staff, with postgraduate and undergraduate students accounting for a further 43% of the system's users.
The Condor service provides on average 350,000 CPU hours per month. During 2010, the majority of Condor users were from Cardiff Business School, followed by users from the School of Computer Science and Informatics.
A key element of ARCCA's work is in outreach to ensure staff, researchers, and students in all of the University's Academic Schools understand how ARCCA's High Performance Computing facilities could help them in their research. During 2010, the ARCCA team received 250 queries from users, 171 associated with the Merlin service, 79 with Condor.
As part of the outreach programme, the ARCCA team undertakes regular training courses for students and researchers in using the Merlin and Condor services, as well as presenting in Academic Schools about the potential applications of ARCCA's services for their students and researchers.