The Computational Shared Facility (CSF) has now officially come of age – it has reached an amazing 10,000 CPU cores – with around 4000 cores of Haswell / Broadwell and a Skylake procurement coming up in January.
The CSF began 7 years ago through a small University-funded core (£90k) around which it was hoped academic-funded contributions might coalesce.
The core was ordered in November 2010 with the first contributions coming from Prof Chris Taylor, Prof Mike Sutcliffe and Prof Ian Hillier. The new 244-core facility was in production by February 2011 with further contributions following rapidly from Dr Richard Bryce and the School of MACE. Seven years later the CSF has topped 10,000 cores, 450 compute nodes and four million pounds of academic-funded contributions!
The CSF is not a traditional HPC platform, alongside the iCSF (aka Incline), it offers a very different service:
- designed around University researcher requirements and workflows and is easier to use;
- comes with detailed, frequently updated, user documentation;
- has over 180 applications ready-installed with usage examples for each;
- professionally managed by a dedicated team that also provides face-to-face user training and friendly, responsive, and in-depth support.
The CSF is tightly-integrated with the Research Data Storage and Research VM services making it part of a complete, computational research ecosystem which is continually developing and adapting in order to address the needs of the University research community.
Dr Simon Hood, Head of Research Infrastructure said “On a personal note, I would like to thank those who, at the start, believed in the project enough to contribute early funds which helped us achieve critical mass.”
“I would also like to thank my team — especially those who have been with me on this (rather bumpy!) road since the early days: without their dedication this project would certainly not have been the great success that it has.”