Research Infrastructure

RI Update, 2014 March 29

End of University Financial Year Funds?

If you have, or expect to receive funds, which must be spent this University financial year (i.e. by July 31st) on computational hardware please contact us as soon as possible at

Best wishes


Dr Simon Hood, IT Services Research Infrastructure Coordinator.

CSF Update

The CSF continues to grow! We now have almost 5500 cores including 36 new nodes with the latest (server-based) Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs. If

  • you would like to evaluate the CSF to determine if it is suitable for your computational research;
  • you have an old computational cluster of your own which you would like to replace via the Revolving Green Fund as a contribution to the CSF

please contact us at the address above.

Big Data CSF — aka Hydra

A new branch of the CSF will soon be in production; it is designed specifically for processing Big Data. All nodes in the cluster have 512 GB RAM; all nodes will be connected via high-bandwidth Infiniband to local high-performance Lustre scratch storage. And, of course, all nodes will have access to Research Data Storage (Isilon) over a dedicated, fast and secure network link so that CSF home-directories and shared areas may be used.

The initial procurement for Hydra was primarily funded by a NERC grant awarded to Dr Chris Knight from the Faculty of Life Sciences; the Faculty also contributed. Phase II will be procured soon with further funds from the Faculty and a contribution from Prof. Bernard Keavney from the Faculty of MHS.

If you would like to know more about Hydra, please email us at the above address.

Confidential and Sensitive Data

Facilities within the University Computationally-Intensive Research Ecosystem are suitable for storing and processing all but the most sensitive data. A combination of encrypted files and exclusive use of compute nodes can satisfy most data security requirements.

If you need to process commercially-sensitive or pseudo-anonymised data and wish to use the University’s CIR facilities, please email us at the above address.

Incline — the Interactive CSF (iCSF)

The INteractive Computational LINux Environment is getting bigger! Incline is ideal for interactive computationally-intensive work including GUI-based, and development and testing job runs.

We now have in production nodes with up to 256 GB of RAM and we have just taken delivery of a node with 2 TB (about 2000 GB) of RAM. Priority use of this node will be given to the contributing research group, but others will be able to use “spare” CPU cycles — and RAM!

The iCSF operates on the same contribution model as the CSF. If you are interested in using the iCSF for a three-month evaluation period, or contributing funds to the facility, please email us at the address above, or to learn more please visit

zCSF — The Emerging Technology Cluster (aka Zrek)

The zCSF — aka Zrek — the emerging technology branch of the CSF is growing. This facility brings together servers procured by University research groups which host new and novel hardware such as Intel’s Xeon Phi cards, FPGAs and the latest computational GPUs, including a K40 from Nvidia.

To learn more about Zrek, please visit

or email us at the above address.

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