IU faculty and researchers have access to several world-class supercomputing and storage resources. These include Big Red II and Big Red II+ which are main systems for high-performance parallel computing. Then there are Karst and Carbonate which support high-performance, data-intensive computing. Which one should someone use? The new Pathfinder service (https://pathfinder.sca.iu.edu), which was developed by the SciAPT and SCA teams in Research Technologies, helps answer this question. Pathfinder guides researchers toward the optimal compute and storage resources for their research based on responses to a short list of yes/no questions. Pathfinder is expected to complement Research Technologies user support efforts dissuading users from sub-optimal use of a resource (for e.g. single CPU serial code on Big Red II).
In response to the question of “How will this help researchers at IU?”, Science Community Tools Director, Robert Henschel said, “It is my hope that this tool will help educate IU users about high performance computing (HPC) systems available to them and at the same time lead to more efficient usage of the systems.” He further explained, “In order to best support a broad range of research, IU provides a diverse set of high performance computing resources to all faculty, students, and staff. Users familiar with HPC and the computational needs of their research are able to select the appropriate resource and use the resources in the most efficient way. However, new users of HPC resources struggle with this selection. This is where Pathfinder comes in and based on the answers to just a few questions, provides initial guidance as to what supercomputer to start working on.”
Founded in 1989, the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) is an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with 86 member institutions representing many of the nation’s most forward thinking universities and computing centers.