High Performance Computing Laboratory

The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences maintains two separate high performance Linux clusters as well as a number of standalone dedicated Linux servers for scientific research.

Our latest acquisition (delivered early 2017) is a 576 core cluster from Aspen Systems consisting of 24 nodes, each with two 12 core processors and 128GB of RAM. The cluster includes 30TB of shared attached storage, all interconnected with an Infiniband switch. The cluster has a full suite of compilers installed, including open source GNU compilers and optimized Intel compilers, as well as MATLAB and other scientific applications. Most recently the cluster has been used to run SPECFEM3D seismic wave simulations, parallel MATLAB analyses of lunar orbiter images, and ambient noise cross-correlation analyses of seismic array data.

The seismology group has a farm of three Dell Linux servers, sharing a total of over 120TB of networked disk space managed by two separate RAID controllers. The Dell servers include one PowerEdge R900 with 24 cores and 128GB of RAM, and two PowerEdge R920 servers, both with 24 cores each (48 hyperthreads.) One R920 has 128GB of RAM and the other has 256GB. These Dell servers all have MATLAB and a suite of geophysical software dedicated for the analysis of seismic data.

In 2019 we acquired a 120TB Synology network attached storage system to better organize and archive our large repository of seismic data. Available to the clusters and the server farm, this archive will allow the attached storage on the computational systems to be more efficiently utilized.

We are still maintaining our older but still operational Beowulf cluster first brought online in 2005. The original cluster had 48 nodes and as of May 2019 there are still 22 nodes plus the master in operation. In comparison, each of those original nodes had a single 2GHz 64 bit AMD core and 1GB of RAM (although now several nodes have been upgraded to 2GB of RAM from the RAM of non-functional nodes.) This cluster was built as a farm of single socket tower servers from Aspen Systems interconnected with a standard 1GB ethernet switch. This cluster was primarily used to run CitCom finite element analysis.

Other groups also have their own dedicated Linux servers, including the Outer Solar System Group, the Planetary Materials Research Group, the Planetary Spectroscopy Lab, and the Bradley Geobiology Lab.
Please contact Hugh Chou for more information on using our facility.

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1169, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis MO 63130-4899