14 Jul 2011 San Jose - Drexel University is using Bright Cluster Manager to manage its newly-installed HPC cluster from Advanced HPC. This system, funded by an NSF grant, is being used to perform research at two extremes of science: simulations of star-forming regions in space, including galactic nuclei, and molecular dynamics. As far apart as these studies appear, they are both based on similar techniques employing particle methods. In addition to research, the cluster is also used for teaching courses in high-performance computing and GPU programming.
Astrophysicist Dr. Steve McMillan is the Principal Investigator using the cluster. There are three co-investigators from multiple departments at Drexel: Dr. Cameron Abrams, Chemical and Biological Engineering; Dr. Jeremy Johnson, Computer Science; and Dr. Nagarajan Kandasamy, Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The team's cluster is currently the most powerful compute resource at Drexel University, capable of delivering 176,514 GFLOPS of GPU performance. The system comprises 68,352 NVIDIA GPU cores and 48 TB RAID disk storage.
"I am impressed with the capabilities of the Advanced HPC team", stated Dr. McMillan. "They took the time to truly understand our requirements, and designed a system that was even better than our original specifications. We have an incredibly efficient cluster that exceeds our expectations, and has given us more bang for the buck."
Bright Cluster Manager is used for remote provisioning, monitoring and managing the system. Dr. McMillan and his team were amongst the first to use Bright Cluster Manager revision 5.2, with its full support of NVIDIA's CUDA 4.0 and associated metrics.
"Bright Cluster Manager was a good choice for us", stated Dr. McMillan. "I'm a scientist, not a system manager. The Bright GUI is intuitive and extremely easy to use. I can do everything I need to do on the system remotely - I almost never visit our cluster. I get alerts when attention is required, and am able to hand off much of the overall system management with confidence to an enthusiastic undergraduate."
"From a support perspective, Advanced HPC and Bright are a great team", added Dr. McMillan. "Initially we experienced a problem with some of our jobs, and they responded immediately. As it turned out, the issue was a driver problem. The Bright people worked directly with NVIDIA to solve it - sparing us the pain and getting us productive again in a timely fashion."