Shared Computer Hardware Policy

Faculty have the option of providing funds for computer hardware to the Center for Simulation & Modeling (SaM) in exchange for access to significant computing resources, hardware support, and software support.

Faculty who plan to purchase computer clusters from equipment funds from grants, start-up funds, or other sources should consider the option of committing funds to SaM to purchase computer hardware. This approach has the following advantages over purchasing and administering a cluster on one’s own:

  1. The cluster would be housed in a secure facility with redundant power and redundant cooling that has a systems engineer present 24/365.
  2. Systems administration and data backup will be provided by SaM personnel.
  3. Software applications, libraries, parallel development environments, and compilers for which SaM has site licenses, or for which the user provides licenses, will be installed, optimized, and maintained at no cost to the user.
  4. Hardware troubleshooting will be provided free of charge.
  5. A functional queue system will be maintained for efficient usage of the computing resources. The queue system will be modified where possible and within reason to accommodate the needs of the users, including dedicated use of hardware by a single group when required.
  6. The faculty member will have access to the entire cluster, not just the actual hardware purchased with the faculty member’s funds. This will provide access to a significantly larger number of cores for running parallel jobs than the total number of cores purchased with the faculty member’s funds.
  7. The faculty member will be guaranteed access to 80% of the equivalent in service units of the total CPU hours of the hardware purchased with the faculty member’s funds on an annual basis for no less than three years, and as long as the hardware remains operational and cost-effective.

In return for these benefits, the user agrees to allow SaM to purchase hardware that fits within the architecture of the existing computers, and to place the nodes under the control of the SaM systems administrators. The hardware would become part of the general SaM computing cluster. The user would agree to submit jobs through the SaM queue rather than have constant exclusive access to a given set of computers.

This is not a legal and/or binding document.