Compute Systems – Pascal and Family, plus the Penguins

“Pascal.valpo.edu”

In 2017 NVIDIA’s Educator GPU Grant program made specialized hardware available to several groups at the University. Two Titan X Pascals were provided. One was given to CIS in response to a proposal submitted by CIS faculty and Professor Jon Beagley of MST. The other was sent to Electrical and Computer Engineering and was later generously transferred to CIS. These were combined with assets provided by the University’s central IT team and Steve Vittitoe, a local University benefactor. This set of components allowed students and staff to build a new specialized server named pascal.valpo.edu.

It provides MST/CIS faculty and other collaborators with a locally administered asset for complex numerical work. This asset is now complemented by additional systems (below) and the NSF XSEDE program.

Specifications

Computation

  • Two NVIDIA Titan X Pascal GPUs (~7000 CUDA cores)
  • Two Intel – Xeon E5-2620 v4 x86-64 V4 2.1GHz 8-Core Processors (16 physical cores)
  • added: NVIDIA SLI Bridge unit to link the GPU cards [‘4 slot’]
  • Motherboard – Supermicro MBD-X10DAX EATX Dual-CPU LGA2011-3

Storage

  • 1 TB SSD (“/” – OS/application storage) [upgrade from original 120 GB SSD, Jan. 2021]
  • 120 GB SSD (swap partition)
  • 120 GB SSD (/media/storage0)
  • 3 TB 7200 RPM Standard HDD (/media/storage)
  • 3 TB Variable-speed Standard HDD [Western Digital ‘green’] (/media/storage2)
  • 3 TB Variable-speed Standard HDD [Western Digital ‘green’] (/media/storage3)
  • See also: Network & Support Systems

Memory

  • System: 128 GB Registered DDR4-2133 SDRAM (upgrade from 64 GB initial configuration on 7/10/2018)
  • Titan X Pascal:12 GB RAM per card (24 GB total)

Power

  • EVGA SuperNOVA G2 1300W 80+ Gold Fully-Modular ATX PSU, attached to an
  • external UPS unit – a CyberPower Systems LX1500GU (1500VA AVR)

Cooling

  • Corsair – H100i Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Corsair – H80i Liquid CPU Cooler
  • Large case and power supply fans

Current software:

  • OS: GNU/Linux Ubuntu 20.04.1 (upgraded Fall 2019 to 18.04; originally GNU/Linux Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS)
  • Libraries: CUDA suite(s) v9.2, 10.0, 10.1 (/usr/local/CUDA) [Driver Version: 440]
  • Languages: Oracle/Sun Java 11, GNU Fortran, GNU C, GNU C++, Python v2 (python); Python v3 (python3)

Pascal has access to /mnt/sharedFiles and /mnt/diskBox over a standard network connection, see below.

[Particular thanks to Charles Morris, the first principal student sysadmin, who helped build the system.]

“The Mathematicians”

A set of additional machines was brought online in stages beginning in Spring 2019, all running GNU/Linux Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with upgraded power supplies, etc. These are:

  • fermat.valpo.edu (Intel Core i3-6100 2-Core @ 3.70GHz /  20 GB RAM; GEFORCE GTX 1060) ^
  • euler.valpo.edu (AMD Ryzen 5 1600X @ 3.60 GHz / 32 GB RAM; GEFORCE GTX 1060) ^
  • noether.valpo.edu (Intel Celeron G3930 2-Core @ 2.90GHz / 16 GB RAM; GEFORCE GTX 1060)
  • mandelbrot.valpo.edu (Intel Core i5-4570 4-Core @ 3.20GHz / 32 GB RAM; GEFORCE GTX 660) ^
  • germain.valpo.edu (Two Intel Xeons E5-2667 @ 2.9 GHz – 12 cores total / 48 GB ECC RAM; GEFORCE GTX 1060) ^^ *
  • katherine2.valpo.edu (Two Intel Xeons E5-2630 @ 2.30GHzl – 12 cores total / 48 GB ECC RAM; Quadro K2000) ^^

[* thanks to Aaron Adams MS ’19, who donated both “germain” and his time to make it fully operational.]

“The Penguins”

Further donations made additional systems available, which are chiefly used as an application cluster. Each node is named for a species of penguin:

  • Macaroni2 (AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 6 cores @ 3.7 GHz / 16 GB RAM) ^^ **
  • Rockhopper (Intel Pentium G4400 2 cores @ 3.30 GHz / 32 GB RAM) ^^ ***
  • Chinstrap (Intel Pentium G4400 2 cores @ 3.3 / 16 GB RAM) ^^ ***
  • Adelie (pending, -/32 GB RAM; – GB SSD) ^^ ***

[with thanks to Karl Schmitt(**) and Valpo alumnus Ted Henderson(***) for their contributions to these systems – and Alex Kaariainen, Craig Behnke, and Preston Petrie for help on the builds.]

Note (^, ^^): Systems with a ^ have a >1TB or larger mechanical drive available as /mnt/localstorage; systems with either a ^ or ^^ have SSDs as a primary drive, as does pascal.

Network & Support Systems

A private network links the mathematician and penguins and the systems via secondary ethernet cards.  An NFS mount (/mnt/sharedFiles) is provided by noether to the other systems over that private network. Additionally, a Synology DS418 network attached storage (NAS) system with four 4 TB RAID 10 disks providing ~8 TB storage provides locally-control large storage to support both the Windows and Linux systems.

A number of general purposes Linux workstations support development and systems projects. An all purpose utility node ferris.valpo.edu is also available. It runs on an Intel Celeron J1900 Celeron on ASRock IMB-151D Bay Trail / 8 GB RAM) – similar to the LittleFe nodes.

Other Systems

Several other systems can be used as auxiliary compute nodes, assuming they are not supporting courses as front ends to the small form factor parallel nodes:

  • plaid.valpo.edu
  • tweed.valpo.edu

These are not linked to the private network, but do have access to the same NFS shares via standard University connections.

Additional Software

See the Cluster Use page for more info.

[Thanks also to Dane Towner and Erik Kispert for many assists with system build-out and various software help.].