Video: Cowboy Cluster helps HPC Center serve OSU researchers

Posted on May 11, 2016

The Cowboy cluster at Oklahoma State is helping faculty, students and staff complete their research projects using HPC resources. Watch the video.

Advanced Clustering Technologies worked with Dr. Dana Brunson, the university’s Assistant Vice President for Research Infrastructure and Director of the OSU High Performance Computing Center, to design and build “Cowboy,” which at its deployment was a 3,048-core cluster using servers based on the Intel Xeon processor E5 family. “Cowboy” gave the center nine times the capacity of its previous cluster in only two times the physical space.

“High performance computing involves supercomputers for computational and data-intensive research,” said Brunson in the video. “A supercomputer is actually hundreds to thousands of computers working together to solve problems bigger than any individual desktop could accomplish. This helps researchers save time, save money and often their sanity.”

Cowboy was funded by a 2011 National Science Foundation grant and has been serving the OSU community well.

“High performance computing is often used for simulations that may be too big, too small, too fast, too slow, too dangerous, or too costly,” Brunson said. “Another thing it’s used for involves data. So, if you may remember the human genome project that took nearly a decade and cost a billion dollars. These things can now be done over a weekend for under a thousand dollars.”

Part of the university’s High Performance Computer Center’s mission is to make sure people can use our resources.

“… we offer training sessions, one-on-one help, online tutorials and pretty much anything we’re asked of,” Brunson said. “We want to make sure that they can get their research done and focus on their research and not focus on computer issues. So this spring we were proud to offer our first undergraduate HPC class. We had over 20 students learned how to use Cowboy, learn how to use a few programming languages, and they were so enthusiastic they even formed their own new student organization. We’re proud to say we’re offering the class again this fall and hope to expand it even further.”

Community outreach is also part of the center’s mission.

“We also believe providing outreach to the community is very important,” Brunson said. “It helps the community and students around the state realize how much great research is done on supercomputing and what they might like to do in the future.”

Learn more about Oklahoma State’s High Performance Computing Center.

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