New research computing package supports data-intensive research


Information and Technology Services has launched a new package of supercomputing resources for researchers and Ph.D. students on all U-M campuses: the U-M Research Computing Package.

The U-M Research Computing Package will reduce the current rates for high performance computing and research storage services provided by ITS by an estimated 35-40 percent, effective July 1.

In addition, beginning Sept. 1, university researchers will have access to a base allocation for high-performance computing and research storage services — including high-speed and archival storage — at no cost, thanks to an additional investment from ITS. These base allocations will meet the needs of approximately 75 percent of current high-performance computing users and 90 percent of current research storage users.

“This initiative will enhance and transform our research computing environment, where data, computation, and machine learning are at the center of research and a cornerstone of learning,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “It is our privilege to serve our community by providing user-centric, innovative and agile computing resources that support their groundbreaking work.”

The U-M Research Computing Package was developed by ITS to meet needs across a diversity of disciplines and to provide options for long-term data management, sharing and protecting sensitive data, and more competitive cost structures that give faculty and research teams more flexibility to procure resources on short notice.

“Researchers across our three campuses consistently rely on high-performance computing to find solutions to many of today’s critical challenges, ranging in scope from genomics and driverless vehicle technology to precision health and climate adaptation,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine.

“Thanks to the tremendous support and expertise from ITS and Vice President Pendse, our research community will soon be able to utilize these important resources at reduced rates, which will undoubtedly lead to even more scholarly advancements that positively impact the world around us.”

The package also includes allocations for Ph.D. students, who are eligible with department sign-off, as well as for faculty to use in their instruction with undergraduate and masters students.

“I have been hoping for this kind of centralized computational offering for many years, and I am delighted to see it finally come to fruition. Congratulations to VP Pendse and the ITS team on this milestone achievement,” said Eric Michielssen, associate dean for research in the College of Engineering and Louise Ganiard Johnson professor of electrical and computer engineering. “By providing vastly expanded access to high-performance computing and storage resources, this investment is a game changer for faculty and students who leverage mathematical models and big data for the good of society and science.”

“We are excited to be able to provide a risk-free environment for those new to computation and big data in pursuit of innovation in their disciplines, as the UMRCP will reduce the need to invest grant funds toward computation services,” added Brock Palen, Advanced Research Computing director.

Chris Poulsen, the Henry Pollack Collegiate Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences and associate dean for Natural Sciences, is excited about the opportunities that the UMRCP will provide for research computing across campus.

“High-performance computing is so critical to research done in LSA, whether it’s the simulation of chemical reactions or ocean circulation, mining big data to understand crime statistics, or using machine learning to gain insights into economic trends,” Poulsen said. “The UMRCP will make high-performance computing more widely available to our faculty and students, allowing them to tackle the most important and most challenging problems that we face.”

The reduction in rates for high-performance computing and research storage will be automatically available for all researchers on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint and Michigan Medicine campuses beginning July 1.

Additional information about the U-M Research Computing Package, including how to request allocations when the service is available Sept. 1, is available on the Advanced Research Computing website.


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