Skip to main content

High Performance Computing

Overview

CIERA has exclusive access to three high-performance computer clusters (CIERA, Grail, and Trident). These clusters are used not only for running simulations and performing data analysis, but also serve as a training ground for students in high performance computing and computational research. In total, the three clusters provide access to 4972 compute cores.

CIERA Cluster

The CIERA cluster is available for any CIERA researcher for astronomy-related research. The cluster includes two types of standard compute nodes: 

  • 9 CPU nodes with dual 14-core CPUs (Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6132 (Skylake) CPU at 2.60 GHz), for a total of 28 cores per node.
  • 23 CPU nodes with dual 26-core CPUs (Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6230 CPU at 2.10GHz), for a total of 52 cores per node. 

All compute nodes contain 192 GB of error correcting DDR4 RAM.

The CIERA Cluster also includes four specialty nodes:

  • A graphics processing unit (GPU) node containing a NVIDIA 40 GB Tesla A100 GPU. This node contains two 26-core Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6230 CPUs at 2.10 GHz.
  • 2 GPU nodes containing two NVIDIA Tesla V100 with cards each for a total of four NVIDIA V100 GPUs. Each V100 contains 16 GB of VRAM.
  • A high-memory node with 1 TB of error correcting DDR4 RAM. This node contains two 26-core Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6230 CPUs at 2.10 GHz.

The nodes are interconnected with InfiniBand FDR. The CIERA Cluster contains 85 TB of high-speed disk storage directly connected to the cluster in a RAID configuration.

All CIERA members can apply for 5 TB of individual scratch space on Northwestern’s Quest cluster.

Grail Cluster

The NSF-funded Grail cluster is available for use by CIERA researchers working on gravitational wave related research (NSF PHY-1726951). Grail provides 37 nodes for general-purpose high-performance computation. Each node contains dual 14-core CPUs (Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6132 (Skylake) CPU at 2.60 GHz), for a total of 28 cores per node. All nodes contain 192 GB of error correcting DDR4 RAM.

The nodes are interconnected with InfiniBand FDR. Grail includes 70 TB of high-speed disk storage directly connected to the cluster in a RAID configuration.

Trident Cluster

The Trident cluster is supported by the Gordon and Betty More Foundation (GBMF8477). The cluster is available for CIERA researchers working on stellar population synthesis. Trident provides 54 nodes for general-purpose high-performance computation. The cluster provides two types of standard compute nodes:

  • 40 CPU nodes with dual 14-core CPUs (Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6132 (Skylake) CPU at 2.60 GHz), for a total of 28 cores per node.
  • 14 CPU nodes with dual 20-core CPUs (Intel(R) Xeon(R) Gold 6230 CPU at 2.10GHz), for a total of 40 cores per node. 

All compute nodes contain 192 GB of error correcting DDR4 RAM.

The nodes are interconnected with InfiniBand FDR. Trident includes 100 TB of high-speed disk storage directly connected to the cluster in a RAID configuration.

3GPU Nodes

124Standard Nodes

4972CPU Cores

Quest

Northwestern’s Research Computing Services (RCS) group houses and maintains the CIERA, Grail and Trident clusters alongside its Quest High-Performance computer. Quest currently compromises 1009 compute nodes with 49,680 computing cores. Quest also has 55 GPU nodes and 28 high-memory nodes. All nodes currently run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.9. Quest is supported by UPS for emergency power. Additional HPC resources, including high-memory nodes, are available through Quest.

A number of research groups have private allocations on Quest.

Learn more about Quest

Support

  • A dedicated Computational Specialist is on staff to assist CIERA researchers. The Computational Specialist offers trainings and tutorials, walk-in consultations, and expert guidance for HPC code development and optimization, and more.
  • The Computational Specialist holds workshops roughly twice a month during the academic year to support students and researchers. These workshops can be attended both in person and through Zoom, and are recorded.
  • CIERA researchers looking for details on how to access and use the Grail and CIERA clusters should refer to the CIERA internal Guide page (Northwestern NetID required).
  • Video tutorials from Northwestern IT Research Computing Services are available on YouTube (visit playlist).

 

Funding for the Grail computer cluster was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, grant PHY-1726951. 

Additional Resources

Additional resources are available to certain research groups in CIERA. These include computing resources supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. National Laboratories.