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Life Sciences Researchers Use Supercomputing (HPC) Resources
Life Sciences Researchers Use Supercomputing (HPC) Resources

When Life Sciences Researchers have a large research project to analyze, they turn to University of Arizona High Performance Computing resources. Susan Miller, Manager of Scientific Data Analysis for the Arizona Research Labs Biotechnology Computing Facility group, is just one of the many faculty and staff that have utilized HPC (High Performance Computing) systems for data analysis. Miller is also a member of HPC-TRAC, a committee dedicated to keeping the Data Center up-to-date. The committee has a member group of diverse faculty from around the University, including the colleges of humanities, social behavioral sciences, science, biology, physics and engineering.

The focus of HPC-TRAC is to give each discipline a hand in selecting HPC systems that will benefit the entire University.

Miller explained, “Because we have such diverse research on campus, the life sciences people have different needs than someone in psychology or someone  studying climate change. All those different players came together and we had different needs, so we had to pick a system that would work for everybody.”

The Data Center is a valuable resource for Miller and her colleagues, who utilize the high performance computers to aid in large projects, such as mapping and analyzing the human genome. Projects that require such a large amount of memory can take days to complete on a normal computer. The Data Center sports HPC systems that have triple the amount of memory and speed, which can cut waiting time in half.

Miller recalled an incident where another member of faculty had used her lab computer to run a large project that took two days to complete. “I showed her how to use HPC and the exact same thing finished in eight minutes,” Miller said, and hoped that more people will be using the HPC for data analysis, “We want people to know we have these systems and that they shouldn’t be running something on their laptop for days or weeks when they could run it on these powerful machines and get it done a lot faster.”

Disciplines all over campus are taking advantage of the Data Center and its resources. The services are open to anyone who has a use for HPC systems. A new Data Center to hold the current two HPC systems and an additional three, including an HTC (High Throughput Computing) system, a more affordable buy-in option than the other systems. The new Data Center is currently under construction, but is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

For more information on how to gain acess to these systems visit HPC/HTC, Getting Started.