Computational Researchers in the OUI

A high-performance computing system has been established and is operated by the Open University to provide solutions for the needs of computational research. This system is intended for the use of the researchers in the university whose fields of research necessitate powerful computational solutions using multiple processers.

The HPC Laboratory was built on the basis of designated funding allocated by the university together with equipment grants from the Israel Science Foundation. The system was planned as a cross-institutional solution, with the aim of providing a solution for all research groups in the Open University with high-performance computing needs. The system was established by the Department of Computing Infrastructures and Technologies in the Computing Administration, which is responsible for the system’s ongoing operation and maintenance and also provides training and support for the system’s users.

Guidelines in planning the system included: modular and scalable design, based on solutions that are in extensive use in similar systems, preference for open-source software solutions and lack of dependance on specific hardware manufacturers, in order to support a wide variety of scientific disciplines and research uses.

The system’s infrastructure includes computing servers based on traditional processors – Intel Xeon multi-core CPU processors, alongside servers with graphic processors – NVIDIA GPU cards. The system uses fast FDR 56 Gb/s InfiniBand communication channels and also supports the needs of research that is rich in data and storage space such as big data processing.
Managing the HPC system and timing the activities is carried out by means of the Slurm open-source system. The solution includes queue management and prioritization for carrying out running processes.

The HPC system in the Open University operates at a very high level of efficiency, and today is used by researchers from a variety of areas of research: astrophysics, cosmology, meteorology, biological computation, bioinformation, molecular evolution, comparative genomics, molecular chemistry, computational and algorithmic game theory, computer mediated communication, social media, and others.