UMBC High Performance Computing Facility
Please note that this page is under construction. We are documenting the
240-node cluster maya that will be available in Spring 2014. Currently,
the cluster tara is still available. Please see the 2013 Resources Pages
under the Resources tab.
The maya cluster is a heterogeneous cluster with equipment acquired between
2009 and 2013. It contains a total of 240 nodes, 38 GPUs and 38 Intel Phi
coprocessors, and over 8 TB of main memory.
The name maya
is from a concept in Hinduism that means "illusion", and that the human
experience comprehends only a tiny fragment of the fundamental
nature of the universe. Previous cluster names
also originate from Hinduism.
For more information about using your account on the system, see
Dell 4220 cabinets with 34 PowerEdge R620 CPU-only compute nodes, 19
PowerEdge R720 CPU/GPU compute nodes, and 19 PowerEdge R720 CPU/Phi compute
nodes. Dell nodes will be referred to collectively as HPCF2013.
All nodes have two Intel Ivy Bridge 2650v2 (2.6 GHz, 20 MB cache),
processors with eight cores apiece,
for a total of 16 cores per node. CPU/GPU nodes have two NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPUs,
while CPU/Phi have two Phi 5110P coprocessors. All nodes have 64 GB of main
memory, except those designated as user nodes which have 128 GB.
Two IBM Server x iDataPlex cabinets with 84 compute nodes originally
purchased in 2010 and later merged into HPCF. These nodes will be referred to
Each node features two (2) quad core Intel Nehalem X5560 processors
(2.8 GHz, 8 MB cache), 24 GB of memory, and a 230 GB local hard
Two IBM Server x iDataPlex cabinets with 86 compute nodes originally
purchased in 2009 by HPCF and deployed in November 2009 as the cluster tara.
These nodes will be referred to as HPCF2009.
Each node features two (2) quad core Intel Nehalem X5550 processors
(2.66 GHz, 8 MB cache), 24 GB of memory, and a 120 GB local hard drive.
Of this equipment, one node is a dedicated user node with 48 GB of memory.
All nodes are running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4.
The Ivy Bridge and Nehalem CPUs in maya have some features
which should benefit large-scale scientific computations.
Each processor has its own memory channels to its dedicated local memory,
which should offer efficient memory access when multiple cores are in use.
The CPUs have also been designed for optimized cache access and loop
performance. For more information about the CPUs, see:
NVIDIA Tesla K20
is a powerful general purpose graphics processing unit
(GPGPU) with 2688 computational cores which is designed for efficient
double-precision calculation. GPU accelerated computing has become popular in
recent years due to the GPU's ability to achieve high performance in
computationally intensive portions of code beyond a general purpose CPU.
The Tesla K20 has 6 GB of onboard memory.
Intel Phi 5110P
is a recent offering from Intel, which packages 60 cores into a single
coprocessor. Each core is x86 compatible and is capable of running its own
instruction stream. The x86 compatibility allows the programmer to use
familiar frameworks such as MPI and OpenMP when developing code for the Phi.
The Phi 5110P has 8 GB of onboard memory.
The following schematics show the architecture of the CPUs, GPUs, and Phis
for the HPCF2013.
HPCF2010 equipment alongside HPCF2009
Some HPCF technical reports contain
performance studies that show how to use the cluster in a profitable
way (i.e. good performance using the least equipment):
CPUs, GPUs, and Phis for HPCF2013 equipment
HPCF-2010-2 demonstrates that on
the HPCF2009 racks and a CPU intensive workload (using conjugate-gradient
method to solve a large scale PDE), all cores on a node can be used
simultaneously while still giving a good speedup.
HPCF-2012-11 studies the
performance of the HPCF2009 racks on a large data problem - traversal of
massive distributed graphs. This is done in the context of the
Graph500 benchmark. In this work,
it is seen that using all eight cores on each node leads to a degraded
The maya cluster contains several types of nodes that fall into four main
categories for usage.
Management node -
There is one management node, which is reserved for administration of the
cluster. It is not available to users.
User nodes -
Users work on these nodes directly. This is where users log in,
access files, write and compile code, and submit jobs to
the scheduler from to be run on the compute nodes. Furthermore, these are the
only nodes that may be accessed via SSH/SCP from outside of the cluster.
Because maya is a heterogeneous cluster, several user nodes are available;
both reside in the HPCF2013 portion of the cluster:
The maya cluster features several different computing environments.
We ask that, when there is no specific need to use the Dell equipment,
users should use the HPCF2010 nodes first. Then the HPCF2009 nodes.
The HPCF2013 CPU-only nodes should be used when HPCF2009 is filled, and the
GPU and Phi-enabled nodes should only be used when all other nodes are
unavailable. The scheduler will be set up to help enforce this automatically.
The table below gives the hostnames of all nodes in the cluster, and
to which hardware group and cabinet they belong.
maya-usr1 - user node which includes two GPUs for GPU code development.
maya-usr2 - user node which includes two Phi coprocessors for Phi code development.
Compute nodes -
These nodes are where the majority of computing on the cluster will take place.
Users normally do not interact with these nodes directly. Instead jobs are
created and submitted from the user nodes and a program called the scheduler
decides which compute resources are available to run the job.
In principle a user could connect to compute nodes directly from a user
node by SSH (e.g. "ssh n84"). However, SSH access to the compute nodes is
disabled to help maintain stability of the cluster. Compute nodes should
allocated by the scheduler. Advanced users should be very careful when doing
things such as spawning child processes or threads - you must ensure that you
are only using the resources allocated to you by the scheduler. It is best to
contact HPCF user support if there are
questions about how to set up a non-standard job on maya.
Development nodes -
These are special compute nodes which are dedicated to running code that is
under development. This allows users to test their programs and not interfere
with programs running in production. Programs are also limited to a short
maximum run time on these nodes to make sure users don't need to wait too long
before a program will run. Development jobs are expected to be small in
scale, but rerun frequently as you work on your code.
The availability of two development nodes allows you to try several
useful configurations: single core, several cores on one processor,
several cores on multiple processors of one machine, all cores on multiple
Currently, there are two
(2) HPCF2009, two (2) HPCF2010, and one (1) HPCF2013 CPU-only node which are
reserved for development.
||Management node, for admin use only
||n1, n2, ..., n33
||CPU-only compute nodes.
n1 and n2 are currently designated as development nodes
||User node with Phis
||n34, n35, ..., n51
||Compute nodes with Phis
||User node with GPUs
||n52, n53, ..., n69
||Compute nodes witth GPUs
||n70, n71, ..., n111
n70 is currently designated as a development node
||n112, n113, ..., n153
n112 is currently designated as a development node
||n154, n155, ..., n195
||n196, 198, ..., n237
Two networks connect all components of the system:
For communications among the processes of a parallel job, a high
performance InfiniBand interconnect with low latency and wide bandwidth
connects all nodes as well as connects to the central
storage. This amounts to having a parallel file system available during
A quad data rate (QDR) Infiniband switch connects the HPCF2009 and
HPCF2013 cabinets. Ideally the system can achieve a latency of 1.2usec to
transfer a message between two nodes, and can support a bandwidth of up to
3.5 gigabytes per second. We refer to this switch as IB-QDR.
A double data rate (DDR) Infiniband switch connects the HPCF2010
cabinets. We refer to this switch as IB-DDR.
Nodes on IB-QDR can communicate with those on IB-DDR through an
Infiniband connection. But
note that this comes at the price of decreased performance, therefore users
are advised to design jobs that avoid high bandwidth communications between
A conventional Ethernet network connects all nodes and is used for
operating system and other connections from the front end node to the compute
nodes that do not require high performance. It also connects the long-term
storage (see below) to the cluster.
For more information about the network components, see:
A schematic of the layout of maya is given below. As mentioned earlier,
the system is composed of two major networks, labeled IB-QDR and IB-DDR.
There are a few special storage systems attached to the clusters, in
addition to the standard Unix filesystem. Here we descibe the areas
which are relevant to users. See
Using Your Account
for more information about how to access the space.
Home directory -
Each user has a home directory on the /home partition. This partition is
200 GB and its data is backed up by DoIT. Since the partition is fairly
small, users can only store 100 MB of data in their home directory.
Scratch Space -
All compute nodes have a local /scratch directory and it is generally about
100 GB in size. Files in /scratch exist only for the duration of the job that
created them. This space is shared between all users, but your data is accessible
only to you. This space is safer to use for jobs than the usual /tmp directory,
since critical system processes also require use of /tmp
Tmp Space -
All nodes (including the front end node) have a local /tmp directory and
it is generally 40 GB in size. Any files in a machines /tmp
directory are only visible on that machine and the system deletes them
once in a while. Furthermore, the space is shared between all users. It is
preferred that users make use of Scratch Space over /tmp whenever possible.
Central Storage -
Users are also given space on this storage area which can be accessed from
anywhere on the cluster. Spaces in central storage area are available for
personal workspace as well as group workspace. Full backups are maintained for
some of these spaces, while others have nightly snapshots taken which are kept
for 10 days.
UMBC AFS Storage on maya -
Your AFS partition is the directory where your personal files are stored
when you use the DoIT computer labs or the gl.umbc.edu login nodes. The
UMBC-wide /afs can be accessed from maya.