The Flux high-performance computing cluster saw a 43 percent increase in number of jobs between fiscal 2011 and 2012.
About 1.82 million jobs were run on Flux in fiscal 2012, compared to 1.27 million in 2011.
Flux, provided by ARC, also had a 49 percent increase in users (from 482 to 718) and a 31 percent increase in departments with researchers using the service (from 45 to 59).
“The rising numbers we’ve seen in users, jobs, and departments using Flux reflect the increasingly crucial role that high-performance computing plays in research across fields,” said Ken Powell, Interim Associate Vice President for Research – Cyberinfrastructure.
Most users of Flux come from LSA, the Medical School, and the College of Engineering. Those three academic units, along with OVPR and the Provost, were the original funders of the service.
But a growing number of users come from outside those disciplines as well.
For example, David Bieri, an assistant professor of Urban Planning in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and his colleagues had a research question that needed an extraordinary amount of computing power to address: How much do consumers spend on local amenities, as reflected in housing prices and wages? The answer was contained in massive datasets that could not be handled by a standard computer.
“Our work involves huge amounts of microdata from the census and other sources … we had a sample that contained 30 million observations and over 2,000 variables,” Bieri said. “We were quickly outpacing the computational abilities of a laptop or even the most expensive desktop computer.”
Bieri used Flux and the multiprocessor version of Stata, which is included in the cost of an allocation, to analyze the data.
Bieri also relied the support offered by ARC and CoE — from seminars introducing Flux to Web resources to in-person help from CAEN HPC staff member Bennet Fauber. CAEN operates Flux and provides user support.
Bieri’s findings, that spending on local amenities varies greatly across the country, and can be as high as 25 percent of household income in some places, are being reviewed for publication by an applied economics journal.