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UMBC High Performance Computing Facility
HPCF News Archive
Update on Cluster Extension
December 13, 2013

The new cluster equipment has begun to arrive from Dell. HPCF personnel will be working with DoIT to update the documentation on this web page while the equipment is set up and tested. During this time, much of the web site will be "under construction" (especially under Resources for Tara Users), so please bear with us during the transition.

Cluster Extension Ordered
October 30, 2013

HPCF has selected Dell as the vendor for its next-generation computing equipment, which will used to be extend the cluster tara. The new equipment includes 19 CPU/GPU compute nodes, 19 CPU/Phi nodes, and 34 CPU-only nodes, as well as high performance networking equipment. Each compute node carries two Intel Ivy Bridge processors with eight cores apiece, for a total of 16 cores per node. The GPU and Phi coprocessors present exciting new opportunities for high performance computing. Each CPU/GPU node carries two NVIDIA K20 GPUs, while each CPU/Phi node carries two Intel Phi 5110P accelerators. The web page will be updated in the coming months as the equipment makes its way to UMBC and becomes operational.

pbdR Tutorial
June 16, 2013

HPCF RA Andrew Raim presented a workshop to the department of Math and Statistics on an R package called pbdR for high performance computing. The handout and examples codes are available as Technical Report HPCF-2013-2.

Abstract for Workshop
pbdR ("Programming with Big Data in R", is a recent package for high performance computing in R offered by the Remote Data Analysis and Visualization Center (RDAV) at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). pbdR, like its predecessor Rmpi, presents the appealing possibility of high level Message Passing Interface (MPI) programming in the open source math/statistics environment R. pdbR also supports higher level functionality for distributed dense matrix operations and scalable linear algebra. We have recently installed pbdR to the cluster tara at the High Performance Computing Facility ( In this informal tutorial, we will demonstrate running pbdR programs through the scheduler on tara and some of the basic capabilities of the software.

HPCF Cluster tara #15 on Green Graph 500 List
April 02, 2013

The cluster tara has placed #15 on the (unofficial) Green Graph 500 List. This list ranks systems on the Graph 500 list by the efficiency of their energy consumption. In Summer 2012, a team of undergraduate students in the REU Site placed tara on the Graph 500 list, from which the ranking in the Green Graph 500 list is derived.

tara Places 98th in November 2012 Graph 500 List
November 13, 2012

A team of undergraduate students participating in the Summer 2012 HPC REU Site took on the research project to implement and run the Graph 500 benchmark to assess the performance of the cluster tara. This benchmark measures performance in accessing memory, as opposed to CPU performance which is emphasized in more traditional benchmarks for HPC. The submission was accepted, and tara ranked 98th on the November 2012 list. For details, see the technical report HPCF-2012-11 in our publications.

The ranking was announced at the Supercomputing 2012 conference in Salt Lake City. Pictured are (left to right) the client David Mountain, mentor Dr. Matthias Gobbert, and students Jordan Angel, Nathan Wardrip, and Amy Flores, holding the official certificate for the ranking. Not able to join them at the conference were client Richard Murphy and student Justine Heritage. We acknowledge funding support for the student travel from the National Security Agency and the National Science Foundation.

MRI Grant Awarded by NSF
September 04, 2012

The MRI proposal submitted in January with 30 researchers from 10 departments and research centers across the campus was successful! The National Science Foundation awarded the grant on September 04, 2012 with $300,000 from the foundation. With mandatory institutional cost-sharing of $128,571 from UMBC, this contributes a total of $428,571 towards sustaining HPCF as core facility into the future.

Andrew Raim presents at JSM 2012
July 31, 2012

HPCF RA Andrew Raim gave a talk at the 2012 Joint Statistical Meetings in San Diego, CA. The talk An Approximate Fisher Scoring Algorithm for Finite Mixtures of Multinomials was based on Technical Report HPCF-2012-14.

REU Site on High Performance Computing Awarded
June 20, 2012

We received the formal award of the three-year renewal of the REU Site: Interdisciplinary Program in High Performance Computing on June 20, 2012. This Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program is closely associated with HPCF and uses its cluster as integral part of the program. The grant for summer programs in 2012, 2013, and 2014 extends the program to 12 funded participants and is jointly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Sai Popuri presents at UseR! 2012
June 14, 2012

Sai Popuri gave a talk at the UseR! 2012 conference in Nashville, TN. The talk Implementation of the binomial method of option pricing using parallel computing in R was based on a project at HPCF with Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal.

REU Site on High Performance Computing Rebudgeted
February 06, 2012

The REU Site: Interdisciplinary Program in High Performance Computing that is closely associated with HPCF and uses its cluster received a request from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a rebudget at the level of supporting 12 participants each year in 2012, 2013, and 2014. This includes additional support from the National Security Agency (NSA) that permits 50% more participants to be supported than in 2010 and 2011.

MRI 2012 Proposal with 30 Investigators
January 26, 2012

The HPCF user community, with cost-sharing support from the Vice Presidents for IT and for Research, submitted a new proposal to the National Science Foundation's MRI program. The proposal requests support for one iDataPlex rack with 42 state-of-the-art hybrid compute nodes, each with two eight-core Intel Nehalem CPUs and two NVIDIA GPUs, an extension of the InfiniBand interconnect, and additional central storage. This proposal is supported by 30 researchers from 10 departments and research centers across the campus.

Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal Appointed Entrepreneurship Fellow
September 01, 2011

Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting (CIRC), was selected Entrepreneurship Fellow for 2012 by the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship, along with Dr. Amy Froide (History) and Dr. George Karabatis (IS). Entrepreneurship Fellows raise the profile of entrepreneurship on campus, for which Dr. Neerchal is a clear prototype with his engagement in CIRC.

HPCF RA for 2011-12
August 07, 2011

Andrew Raim, Ph.D. student in Statistics, continues as HPCF RAs for 2011-12. The HPCF user support is accessed by e-mail to, for convenience the same e-mail used to report system problems. You need to be in the UMBC domain to send a mail to this address.

User meeting on scheduling policy
June 15, 2011

The user meeting on the new scheduling policy on June 15 was attended by 16 members of the user community. First, Dr. Gobbert explained the philosophical ideas behind the new design: Any user can submit as many jobs as desired; when another users submits a job, it should have a higher priority than the already queued jobs, assuming equal priority in other respects. This and other principals are contained in SLURM's fair-use feature that we are using now. Then, HPCF RA Andrew Raim detailed the synta of the SLURM submission script to access the features of its fair-use feature.

Changes to scheduling and usage policy
June 14, 2011

Major updates to the scheduling policy on tara were implemented on Tuesday, June 14. These include adoption of fair-share priority, QOS's, and a change to the available partitions. All users should check the following pages:

Information for the previous "2010" policies is located here:
ProbStatDay 2011 Conference
April 22-23, 2011

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics hosted the 5th Annual Probability and Statistics Day at UMBC. One of the conference attractions was the student poster presentation, where HPCF RA Andrew Raim collected third prize for his poster The approximate fisher information matrix for multinomial mixture models. This work with advisor Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal featured simulations that were run in parallel using the SNOW package for R.

MRI 2011 Proposal Submitted
January 27, 2011

A new MRI proposal was submitted to extend the 2009 MRI proposal. The new proposal features a strong participation of faculty, featuring a total of 41 researchers from 15 departments and research centers across the campus. These totals include departments new to the effort such as Information Systems and the Institute of Fluorescence.

COMSOL Conference 2010 Boston
October 6-9, 2010

HPCF RA David Trott and Dr. Matthias Gobbert attended the Boston area COMSOL conference where they presented their conference paper Conducting finite element convergence studies using COMSOL 4.0. This is an example of the cross collaboration between CIRC and HPCF.

HPCF User Meeting and Training
November 19, 2010

HPCF users met for a presentation by Dr. Gobbert on the features of tara and its performance. Complete details of the performance results presented can be found in the tech. reports HPCF-2010-2 and HPCF-2010-4 on the Publications page. ENGR 104 was filled to capacity with 21 attendees. The photos show users with tara during the tour of the computer room and during the hands-on training session with HPCF RAs Andrew Raim and David Trott.

Two HPCF RAs for 2010-11
August 19, 2010

Andrew Raim and David Trott, graduate students in the Statistics and Applied Mathematics programs, respectively, have been appointed as HPCF RAs for 2010-11. The HPCF RAs are available to provide user support and help with research on tara. Please send e-mail to to make initial contact with them.

New cluster tara released
April 25, 2010

The new cluster tara was released for public use. Students in Math 627 have already been using it for the semester. With the transfer and final synchronization of all data to the new central storage completed during the scheduled downtime on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, the cluster was ready to release. The first user meeting is scheduled for Friday, April 30, 2010. We thank the tireless work of DoIT staff in the setup of the cluster and its storage and cooling.

Dr. Matthias Gobbert Wins University System Award for Mentoring
April 16, 2010

Dr. Matthias Gobbert is the recipient of the 2010 University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring, in recognition of his success in using the Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Consulting, the UMBC High Performance Computing Facility, and other initiatives in leading many graduate students to their first publications. Dr. Gobbert was honored at the UMBC Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony on April 07, and the award was formally given as part of the Board of Regents meeting on April 16. The photo shows (from left to right) Board of Regents Chair Clifford M. Kendall, UMBC Provost Elliot Hirshman, Dr. Gobbert, and University System Chancellor William Brit Kirwan at the Regents meeting.

Research Highlight by the Sparling Group
January 05, 2010

Research on hurricane modeling by Lynn Sparling (Physics) and her group is summarized in this research highlight.

HPCF posts job ad
November 12, 2009

HPCF is starting the search for a post-doctoral research associate to extend the facility's user support significantly through collaborative research in a consulting approach. Please help identify suitable candidates! The complete job ad is posted.

HPCF releases new webpage
November 11, 2009

HPCF releases its new webpage design at The new, more flexible design features was developed in collaboration with our partners in CIRC ( and features more attractive visuals and a current look tied in with UMBC's colors. This webpage is designed to document the new cluster tara, which is in testing now and will be released to the public soon. Information about the existing system hpc can be found at the hpc webpage.