Edited by University Communication
Southeast Oklahoma State University
DURANT – The era of supercomputing is flourishing at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Supercomputing uses multiple computers in concert to process code or analyze data, giving it “super” powers to solve problems with enormous information processing demands.
Workload distribution along with a fast network and large storage capacity drastically reduces the time required to perform tasks. Furthermore, some tasks are so complex that processing cannot be done on one machine and can only be done if deployed over a network of machines. Programming for supercomputers, High Performance Computing (HPC), requires specialized instruction and access to supercomputers.
Examples of study areas with large data processing demands include weather, physics, DNA processing, and manufacturing.
Thanks to the decades-long efforts of maths professor SE Dr. Karl Frinkle and computer science professor Mike Morris (now retired), the University is now the proud owner of a state-of-the-art supercomputer, which equates to approximately 1,000 desktop computers. .
Students will benefit directly from the new technology.
“First, we will continue to offer high-performance computer science courses for our students, which is an important area of study for CS (computer science) majors and also for applied mathematics majors,” said Frinkle. “These courses teach the most common approach to high-performance computing: compiling code to run on multiple machines, and this approach is available to anyone on campus who wants to use the resources available.”
In addition to computer science and math majors, students in behavioral science, biology, chemistry, physical science, social science, and business can benefit from the system.
A six-year research project in the Department of Mathematics is already using the resources available on the new supercomputer, and at all times at least one set of code is running on the supercomputer related to math-oriented research projects. Due to the increasing prevalence of HPC, resources exist for those unfamiliar with the HPC environment. Programs, such as Open OnDemand (https://openondemand.org/), an NSF-funded open source portal, offer users a web interface to run code. A long-term goal is to facilitate the search for non-coding teachers through as many methods as possible.
Morris said the supercomputer will benefit students from time to time.
“If they go to work for a large organization, the employer is likely to own it, rent one, or at least have access to a supercomputer,” Morris said. “Knowing what it is and what it is capable of does not harm them, regardless of their position. And knowing how to run programs on it is a big plus for many jobs, and our students learn that. And some (students) actually learn how to make programs. The fact that a supercomputer has many processors (computers) in its network necessitates “parallel programming”, which has similarities to normal programming, but requires a higher level of expertise, which our students receive. “
Frinkle agreed, saying, “Once strictly the realm of large computer science departments and government structures, HPC is mainstream. Engineering firms, medical research firms, and a wide variety of other organizations rely on supercomputers. . To remain competitive and relevant in the global market, it is essential that students are familiar with supercomputing environments. In the new Southeastern Center for Supercomputing, (SC2), students will learn not only how to program for supercomputers, but also how to build and maintain them. Supercomputer management is a highly technical and in demand profession and will only increase in the near future. ”
For Southeastern, the journey into the world of supercomputers began more than a decade ago when Frinkle and Morris attended conferences and workshops to learn how to build and use a miniature supercomputer.
The continued involvement and connections of the two professors at the state level resulted in Southeastern receiving various grants and equipment that made the supercomputer a reality at the University this year.