Late last week Campus Technology announced that Purdue’s Community Cluster Program is the winner of one of its 2010 Innovation Awards. Purdue’s program allows researchers at the university to pool their money to buy computing resources at a reduced cost that are then added to the set of clusters maintained by the university. The idea is that researchers are able to buy more computing for less money without having to worry about deployment and maintenance.
According to the university
“The Community Cluster program is now a proven method for providing faculty with more computing power for the dollar and allowing researchers in a diversity of fields to concentrate on research rather than running a high-performance computing system,” said John Campbell, associate vice president in charge of research computing for ITaP.
…Faculty partners, who pool internal funding and external grants to fund a cluster, always have access to their portion of the machine and potentially to a lot more computing power. When parts of a community cluster are idle, they can be shared by other campus and external researchers. This keeps Purdue’s clusters busy more than 95 percent of the time, maximizing return on University technology expenses.
Purdue staff members developed technologies enabling new clusters to be put in service rapidly, in less than a day in some cases. ITaP then administers and maintains the supercomputers, including, security, data storage and backups.