Termination of the High Performance Computer Service

by Joe Lee

The Computing Services Centre (CSC) launched its first in-house high performance computer service (through the node named Thomas) to facilitate academic research in 2001 in order to provide supporting services to many research needs when computing resources were expensive and uncommon. This computer is a SUN Enterprise 10000 Server equipped with 64 UltraSPARC II CPUs, 26 GB memory and 216 GB disk space, providing 27 Gflops of computation power. (See Network Computing Issue 28 - June 2001 and Issue 30 - December 2001 for details.) The service was well-received by researchers and generated around 120 applications in 7 years. Over 80% of the applicants were from the FSE, including departments like AP, BC, CS, EE, IT, MA, and MEEM. Research projects featured significant requirements for computing resources, such as CPUs, storage space and long processing time.

However, in recent years, the usage of the high performance computer has dropped significantly and the demand for this service is extremely low. In the meantime, we found that most departments have developed specific research support resources for their own needs, and the demand dropped progressively and the high performance computer is becoming obsolete after the many years of service. In view of this, it will not be justified to pay a high maintenance cost or find an upgrade replacement which may be a duplicate resource. Thus, the CSC is planning to phase out this service and shut down the machine on 31 December 2008.

Colleagues are reminded not to submit any new request for using this service and should look for alternative solutions. Existing users should also plan to wrap up their current projects as soon as possible since provision of the service after the phased out date will not be guaranteed.

If colleagues anticipate any problems due to the termination of this service, please do not hesitate to contact us at 2788 7658 (Help Desk) and we will do our best to assist.