Information Technology News
The Wedge Uses Recovered PCs for Scientific Investigation
Last updated: September 17, 2009
Note: This story may not be current. It is part of the IT News Archive, and exists as a historical document.
The High Performance Computing (HPC) group is operating and administering a cluster of 40 to 80 "recovered" personal computers (PCs) HPC staff call the "Wedge". The PCs run Microsoft Windows XP. The systems are deployed using grid computing software known as Condor which will allow them to run both Condor and BOINC applications used on campus.
HPC personnel are working with the UH Computer Science Department to provide a platform for developing BOINC applications for campus users pursuing research. BOINC software can be utilized to exploit the unused central processing unit and graphics processing unit cycles on a computer for scientific computing. This means citizens can participate in scientific research by donating unused cycles on their home computers. BOINC is currently utilized to support UH campus research projects such as the Virtual Prairie Project (ViP) and VOLPEX (A Framework for Parallel Execution on Volatile Nodes).
Interested citizens from off-campus are donating unused computer cycles to support the ViP project. Recovered computers that comprise the Wedge were donated by the College of Technology and by the Technology Commons at the request of the HPC team, which proposed to develop the Wedge. Eventually the Wedge will include 92 PCs. HPC team members are Keith Crabb, interim manager; Mike Dehart, systems administrator 2; Chaitanya Kandala, graduate assistant; Alan Pfeiffer-Traum, systems administrator 3; and Jeff Sarlo, systems administrator 3.
BOINC software and instructions on how to use it may be obtained here. Once the software is installed on a computer, the user can connect to a variety of research projects, including those at UH IT HPC.