Research Computing Task Force 2011 Report

UD’s Research Computing Task Force (RCTF) submitted its 2011 Summary Report in April, 2011 to the Senior Vice Provost for Research. The RCTF consists of representatives from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business & Economics, Earth, Ocean and Environment, Education & Human Development, and Engineering, and from the Research Office and Information Technologies.

Kryszstof Szalewicz, professor of physics & astronomy, is the Task Force chair.

The 2011 Summary Report drew particular attention to three of the seven key areas identified by last year’s RCTF report.

  • Creation of a community cluster system. The report characterized this as a largely homogeneous cluster composed of many shared-memory, multi-core commodity nodes, with multiple terabytes of local storage and multiple gigabytes of memory per node. The nodes would be interconnected by a moderately high-speed (e.g., 10 GigE) network. The report proposed that UD should provide seed funding, which could be complemented by faculty/departmental research support funds. Researchers making larger financial stakes in the cluster would receive proportionately more access. The report estimated $1M as the seed cluster's desirable target cost, but noted that $250K would permit construction of a reasonable "starter" system.
  • Hiring additional staff. The report recommended the eventual hiring of five new research computing support staff. Two people should be hired by this fall. They should be highly trained technical support staff to manage the campus-wide cluster and to help researchers use clusters effectively.
  • Software funding. The Task Force recommended that UD provide $100K annual funding to purchase licenses for heavily used research software.

The entire report may be viewed online. We encourage you to contact Dick Sacher (within IT) or any of the other task force members with your ideas or concerns.


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