HPC @ Uni.lu

High Performance Computing in Luxembourg

Merry Christmas & Happy NY 2018

2017 is gently coming to its end. On behalf of the full UL HPC Team, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018.

You will find below facility utilization reminders, an overview of the last year activities, together with a couple of announcement that will impact your computing exercise starting 2018.


  • With the Lustre maintenance on gaia (see #843), many data was transferred to GPFS (Home, Work, Project directories) which is now reaching its capacity limits. Kindly benefit from these holidays to perform some cleaning of old and unused files.
  • As per the Acceptable Use Policy, the platform is meant for advancing research and innovation. Kindly DO NOT use the computing resources for other purposes (like cryptocurrency mining, etc.).

2017 Activity Report

Since this year has been quite productive and fruitful, it is worth to come back quickly to the main achievements.

  • The new iris cluster has been installed, totalling 108 computing nodes (3024 cores, 116.12 TFlops) and a raw storage capacity of 1440 TB over the SpectrumsScale/GPFS filesystem.
    • 60 additional nodes are also about to be added, together with an additional disk enclosure, bringing iris to over 255TFlops and 2200 TB of main storage;
    • a new RFP has just been attributed to attach a Lustre $SCRATCH storage to iris for high speed temporary I/O needs.
  • Beyond the iris setup, this was the occasion to review many of our internal workflows to prepare larger-scale deployments, while introducing several new elements:
    • Migration to the SLURM batch scheduler (instead of OAR)
    • Migration to CentOS 7 for the computing nodes
    • Consolidation of the High Availability (HA) setup
    • Improved system automation (Puppet 4.x / hiera), backup and monitoring
    • Improved software set Management through RESIF v2
    • Many new applications enabling science in the current and next 4Y UL focus areas
  • The gaia and chaos clusters have been upgraded at different levels:
    • the Lustre-based storage $SCRATCH, has been upgraded to the new LTS version 2.10.1. This required a full formatting for the system;
    • the Spectrumscale/GPFS based storage was upgraded to 4.2.2-3. Yet 94% of its current capacity is used – kindly benefit from these holidays to make some cleaning.

Outside the consolidation of the facility, this year has seen several significant events:

  • the expert UL HPC team (S. Varrette, V. Plugaru, S. Peter (formelly Diehl ;)) and H.Cartiaux) has kept growing with the arrival of Clément Parisot in February.
  • 2 new successful editions of the UL HPC School were organized in June 12-13th, 2017 and Nov. 9th, 2017. Also the UL HPC Team participated to the SC-Camp on Oct. 22-25th, 2017
  • despite the UL “crisis”, and in line with the gouvernemental priority on High Performance Computing, the HPC priority within the UL has been maintained and is kept within the next 4Y plan of the University thanks to the continuous efforts of the “Chargé de Mission auprès du Recteur” in charge of the University High Performance Computing strategy, Prof. Pascal Bouvry;
  • in Oct. 2017, Luxembourg became the 25th country to join PRACE with official representatives for Luxembourg from UL (Delegate: Prof. Pascal Bouvry, Advisor: Dr. Sebastien Varrette)

Next actions

  • Over the week of Jan 8th, 2018, the iris cluster will be moved from its temporary hosting datacenter CDC S-01 to the HPC dedicated CDC S-02 in Belval. This will take the full week and during that time, iris will be unavailable (note that the other clusters are unaffected and will remain fully operational).
  • We are working hard with the Ministry of Economy to concretise the creation of a National HPC-Big Data Competence center, coupled with the deployment of a Peta-scale class facility. We will keep you informed over 2018 of the advances of this exciting and challenging project.
  • The next edition of the UL HPC School is scheduled for 2 days in June, 2018 – precise dates to be given in due time.
  • The Biocore team within the LCSB has invested into a significative expansion of the Isilon storage system. More details will be given next year upon release.
  • We were working for 2y to define a new official structure enabling Research computing @ UL & abroad. Hopefully this effort will succeed in 2018.

Thanks for your patience in reading this email. We wish you again a Merry Christmas and a Happy Computing within the new year 2018.

The UL HPC Team i.e.

  • Prof. Pascal Bouvry
  • Dr. Sebastien Varrette
  • Valentin Plugaru,
  • Sarah Peter,
  • Hyacinthe Cartiaux and
  • Clément Parisot