Purpose To provide information on the various aspects of support provided to researchers by Information Services and Technology (IST). This information is suitable for inclusion in funding proposals.
Writers of proposals can download editable versions of this page, and select the material they wish to use. Editable versions of this document are at :
IST Support for Researchers
IST provides support for researchers via several modes ;
- High Performance Computing (HPC)
- Big Data Resources : Hadoop Cluster
- Faculty-managed Servers
- Data Storage
- GIT Server
- Consultation and Guidance
The hardware computational infrastructure at NJIT is comprised of clusters and shared memory machines, some of which are public-access and others of which are restricted to users authorized by the departments that purchased the machines. Researchers can purchase dedicated nodes on the open-access cluster, kong.njit.edu.
Summary of HPC resources as of July 2015:
|Hardware type||Aggregate cores||Aggregate RAM, GBytes|
|Public-access Hadoop cluster||32||256|
HTCondor is open source software that uses idle cycles on networked computers to run serial or parallel compute-intensive jobs. HTCondor is designed so that it will not interfere with other jobs running on a computer, or with the user experience for someone at the console of a computer on which HTCondor is enabled.</p>
- 66 Linux computers in GITC 2315C and 2400
- 2 test Windows computers in GITC 2305 - expand to ~60 computers in GITC 2305 + GITC 2302 by end of September 2015
All researchers can have access to the HTCondor resources.
Hadoop is an open source software framework from the Apache Foundation for distributed storage and distributed processing of very large datasets - big data - designed to be run on computer clusters.
- 2 x IBM iDataPlex DX360 M4 nodes, each with :
- 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2680 processors, 8 Cores each
- 128GB RAM
- Project Serengeti - opensource project to automate the deployment and management 9 of Apache Hadoop and HBase on virtual environments such as vSphere
- vSphere Big Data Extensions at NJIT runs on top of Project Serengeti - commercial/supported version of Project Serengeti
All researchers can have access to the Hadoop cluster.
In general, IST staff manage the servers located in the IST datacenters. This staff is is equipped with the professional skills needed to competently and securely manage these computers.
There are cases in which faculty researchers have legitimate reasons for partial or complete management - i.e., granted root privileges - of servers located in IST datacenters. These servers may be physical machines, or virtual machines (VMs) that are part of the IST infrastructure.
Root privileges are enabled by use of the "sudo" program. The extent of sudo privileges is determined on a case-by-case basis, and is based on the faculty member's experience and expertise, and the need for these privileges such that the faculty member can efficiently use the server.
Researchers' needs must be balanced against the need for network and system security, the availability of VMs with the requested configuration, and the level of IST support needed for the server.
Big data and many HPC applications require very large amounts of disk storage. The need for storage is growing at an increasingly rapid rate, especially in the areas of genomics, bioinfomatics, and big data.
Disk storage is comprised of three modes :
- Local scratch disk on compute nodes, used for transient intermediate calculations
- Shared scratch network disk, used for transient intermediate calculations
Both NFS- and AFS-mounted space, which are used for applications, and input and output files, are housed in the enterprise storage system managed by IST. Researchers are provided a base allocation of disk storage. Researchers whose needs exceed the base allocation can purchase disk space in the enterprise storage system.
Both NFS and AFS space is backed up by the enterprise backup system.
Capacities of the NFS, AFS, and scratch space, as of June 2015.
A wide spectrum of scientific and engineering software, compilers, parallel programming libraries, and utilities are available for the HPC hardware infrastructure.
IST Academic and Research Computing Systems (ARCS) provides software support in the following areas
- Installation of compilers, applications, libraries, and utilities requested by users
- Customized scripts to aid users in their use of HPC resources
- Assistance in debugging and optimizing code
- Assistance in getting applications to run
- Assistance in running parallel code
- Assistance in working with and managing big data
NJIT provides a robust wired and wireless high speed data networking environment. The typical wired building network is supported by one or more 10Gb uplinks providing 1Gb or 100Mb connectivity to the desktop. The wireless network has 1,500 wireless access points. Off-NJIT network access to to faculty workstations is available through VPN services.
The network is secured with internal and external firewalls providing multiple internal security zones to the IST datacenters, residence halls, administrative areas, classrooms, academic/research areas, wireless as well as other secure applications. The typical intranet servers and workstations are provided first level incoming firewall security and are provided full outgoing connectivity. Secure remote access is supplemented with software and appliance-based VPN support.
Internet Access to NJIT Servers
NJIT recognizes that academic and research applications may require flexibility, and access to the Internet beyond normal needs. Servers and applications requiring incoming Internet connectivity are provided that connectivity - consistent with the need to maintain network security - after passing a security scan.
IST ARCS manages a GIT server using Gitlab - open to all researchers - for source code development.
There may be instances in which the computational and storage resources that NJIT can provide are not adequate for researchers' needs. In such cases, researchers may need to arrange to have those resources provided by off-campus sources, such as the XSEDE science gateway, or computational and storage cloud resources provided by various vendors. For advice in this area, please contact IST ARCS at email@example.com.
Two staff members of IST ARCS devote almost all of their time to HPC and big data support, and a third member devotes some time to this. Support includes :
- Installing specialized hardware for individual researchers
- Configuring and/or arranging the implementation of specialized networking
- Assistance in selection and purchase of hardware
- Consultation on software problems
- Providing access to MySQL, Oracle, GIT, and other services in the NJIT cloud
- Assistance in using cloud HPC resources
HPC and big data are fields in which both the software and hardware landscape changes rapidly. Academic and Research Computing Systems staff strives to keep current in these technologies, and to provide means of educating users in these areas.
In order to aid researchers in using HPC and big data resources, and apprising users of current technologies and practices, these services are offered :
- 2 to 3 workshops on use of HPC and big data resources
- HPC and big data wiki
- Annual meeting between researchers using HPC and big data resources and Academic and Research Computing Systems staff