Established in 2000, the University of Southern California's Center for Advanced Research Computing (CARC) provides advanced computational research support to USC students and faculty.
When the needs of researchers exceed the capabilities of a personal computer, the CARC offers its support. Examples of services offered include high-performance computing, data storage and analysis, cloud computing, secure computing for sensitive data, research computing workshops, and customized research partnerships.
In August 2020, the CARC performed a major upgrade to its high-performance computing systems. The Discovery general-use HPC cluster now consists of two shared login nodes and a total of around 11,000 CPU cores in around 500 compute nodes. The typical compute node has dual 8 to 16 core processors and resides on a 56 gigabit FDR InfiniBand backbone. The Endeavour condo cluster, part of the CARC's Condo Cluster Program, comprises around 15,000 cores in around 800 compute nodes with two shared login nodes.
Besides computing power, Discovery also has the capability of storing and analyzing large datasets. As the amount of data required for computational research continues to grow, adequate storage solutions have become a vital component of cyberinfrastructure. Discovery offers more than 10 petabytes of combined disk storage in four parallel ZFS/BeeGFS file systems, and a low-latency, high-bandwidth InfiniBand network fabric facilitates intense research workloads on large data sets. Each CARC user is allocated storage space in the /home1, /project, /scratch, and /scratch2 file systems.
During its existence, the CARC has continued to support and educate the USC community with computational research work. The use of CARC resources can be invaluable for researchers looking to further their research through grants and publications. In addition to standard user support, the CARC team also offers customized, collaborative research partnerships for researchers who traditionally have not benefited from the power of high-performance computing, but who recognize that their research requires access to more computing power.
The CARC represents a collaborative, interdisciplinary partnership supported by numerous schools and departments across USC. It bridges USC’s unique strengths in scientific computing, computer science, and communications by supporting more than 100 research groups in a variety of disciplines, including epigenetics, geophysics, materials science, engineering, natural language translation, and health sciences.
During its twenty-year history, the Center for Advanced Research Computing has established itself as an invaluable resource for research work at USC. Today, after a major upgrade to its system and numerous other projects planned for the near future, the CARC is poised to become an even more accessible and far-reaching part of the greater USC research community.