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October 2016

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Research Computing Newsletter - October 2016


Maintenance Update

Both HPC clusters were shut down for scheduled, quarterly maintenance earlier this month. During the downtime, we upgraded the RedCat cluster to RHEL 6.8 and expanded the size of our “standard” research data storage service. Additional storage capacity is made available as needed. 

We will continue to keep the Moab cluster operational for those who have not yet transitioned to RedCat. We currently plan to sunset the cluster by March 31, 2017. If you are still using it and need help transitioning to RedCat, please contact us. We are happy to help!

Sympa to Google Groups

Change is happening! As we transition from ITS to UTech and from Sympa to Google Groups, we are taking the opportunity to better organize our email aliases. Please use the new alias, rather than the old, for email communications with us regarding HPC-related needs and questions. You will still reach the same group (Hadrian, Sanjaya, Em, Dani, Mike and Roger) but the change will help us respond more quickly and effectively to your request. We will keep the old alias active for now, but please expect a reminder of the new alias each time you use the old one to reach us.

Want to Contribute?

As always, If you have suggestions for items that you feel would be useful to include in the newsletter, please send them to, or fill out our Google form


Collaboration + Partnerships

Professor Roger French - The SDLE Center

Established in 2011 by Professor Roger French, The Solar Durability and Lifetime Extension (SDLE) Center at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) is a world-class research center dedicated to lifetime and degradation science. With its focus on the durability and degradation of solar photovoltaic (PV) materials and other environmentally exposed, long-lived technologies, the center relies heavily on tools and protocols necessary to transform Big Data into information which informs scientific knowledge to guide further analysis. Professor French’s recent work with Research Computing Cyber Infrastructure includes currently serving on the Advisory Committee on Research Computing to provide faculty guidance on research computing services at CWRU and serving as a co-investigator on the current NSF CC*DNI award (“Cyberinfrastructure Engineer at CWRU”). For more information, see

Professor Roger French is currently collaborating with four other faculty on an upcoming UTech-led NSF MRI submission.

Professor French spoke to us to answer a few questions about his collaborative relationship with RCCI and the benefits of working together.

Q: What motivated you to work with RCCI?
A: To be completely honest, I was just coming to CWRU, I talked with people at UTech and didn’t think we would work well together. In hindsight, I now realize that the relationship with UTech impacts the SDLE Center's activities in a positive way. I was looking for a modern and forward-thinking scientific computing environment that wasn't present in industry that I came from. We were experimenting with Hadoop and other Big Data platforms internally, but needed more computational capacity. The RCCI team was very receptive in helping me take what I had built in the SDLE Center and extending it to the High Performance Computing (HPC) environment. This allowed us to bridge the gap between real-time analytics that Hadoop provides and the need for simulations and modeling provided by HPC.  

Q: What successes have there been that helped you move your research forward?
A: I needed to scale-up our technology capabilities and Utech provided that. In addition, Hadrian Djohari, Ph.D. HPCC Manager, comes to our weekly, code review meetings to better understand what we want to accomplish. He provides feedback to help us become more effective. Hadrian Djohari sees the bigger picture that the SDLE Center has for research, teaching and learning and is able to help make that vision a reality with technology. This mindset is shared throughout the RCCI team and shows how we can work together to be successful.

Q: Please comment on collaborative activities with RCCI such as research funding proposals. How successful have they been?

A:I have participated in several UTech-organized NSF proposals over the last few years focusing on Cyberinfrastructure. One of the successes we've had is the addition of Cindy Martin to the RCCI team as the Campus Cyberinfrastructure Engineer. This role is new to the university and funded through an NSF award (ACI-1541170). Primarily a network engineer, Cindy has been working with the SDLE Center to understand how we interface the campus network and the PV plants we stream data from across the world. This is a huge opportunity for us to be more efficient and optimize how we work with our data.

In addition, RCCI shares my vision for PV research and collaborates in the development of proposals. The Department of Energy (DOE) is very interested in transitioning to the next era of computing known as “exascale” and their experience in operating systems that can scale to that level is extremely beneficial. It allows the SDLE Center to be forward-thinking and is demonstrated in our proposals. 

Q: What is your favorite thing about Cleveland?
A: I like being in an urban setting where you can walk to work and see nature at the same time. Cleveland is a wonderful combination of the two. 

We had a very successful HPC Bootcamp event—almost 60 people attended in September. Positive feedback included how the training helped new users quickly start using the HPC. ‌In addition to the bootcamp last month, two workshops on Python and R were conducted in October. Presentation materials have been posted to our wiki site. (Click here for materials). 

 Introduction to OpenACC Online Course

OpenACC is a programming standard that simplifies parallel programming when using GPUs, a resource that is available in the RedCat cluster. The course is offered by NVIDIA, and it is free! No previous experience with OpenACC is required, but experience with C/C++ or Fortran is desirable.

IMPORTANT: Notice that this is a 3-session Workshop. Notice also that the time is PST, not EST.


  • October 26, 9:00 AM PSTClass #1 - Analyzing and Parallelizing with OpenACC (1 hour lecture and 30 minutes Q&A)
  • November 2, 9:00 AM PSTClass #2 - OpenACC Optimizations (1 hour lecture and 30 minutes Q&A)
  • November 9, 9:00 AM PSTClass #3 - Advanced OpenACC (1 hour lecture and 30 minutes Q&A)

For more information and registration, follow this XSEDE link,, or NVIDIA. 

HPC Workshop

We will host our last HPC workshop this fall on: "Software installation on the HPC: from binaries to make install"

Hosted By: Research Computing Team.

Time: 10-11:45 AM

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Location: Toepfer Room, Adelbert Hall 

We will cover the process to install software in the HPC. It starts from the simple binaries or jar files installation, and then we proceed to how to install additional packages/modules in R or python, and lastly we close with how to install simple applications with configure/make/make install command. 

We are always looking to promote events going on in the research community. Please let us know if you would like to have your event advertised in the newsletter.