Computational research often requires resources that exceed those of a personal laptop or desktop computer. High-performance computing aggregates the resources from individual computers (known as nodes) into a cluster that works together to perform advanced, specialized computing jobs.
The Center for Advanced Research Computing launched its new high-performance computing cluster, Discovery, in August 2020. The new cluster marks a significant upgrade to the CARC's cyberinfrastructure, and the first step in a major, user-focused overhaul of the program. The Discovery cluster consists of 2 shared head nodes and a total of 10,000 CPU cores in 600 compute nodes. The typical compute node has dual 8 to 16 core processors and resides on a 56 gigabit FDR InfiniBand backbone.
Nearly 100 GB of storage space is provided for each user to store important code and configuration files in their home directories, and the BeeGFS/ZFS parallel project file system has a capacity of 8.4 PB of usable space, with a default storage quota of 10 TB per Principal Investigator across their projects. A rapidly growing fleet of state-of-the art multicore compute nodes is available for data-intensive research jobs, backed by two 800 TB, high-throughput scratch file systems. A low-latency, high-bandwidth InfiniBand network fabric facilitates intense research workloads on large data sets.
Discovery includes an array of scientific software packages, both licensed and open source, for engineering, molecular simulation, and computational chemistry. Researchers can also install software packages or develop their own code within their project’s allotted storage.
Discovery is free to use for all USC faculty, research staff, and graduate students (with the approval of their faculty advisor). For information on how to set up your account and start using the cluster, see the Accounts page. If you anticipate working with legally restricted or sensitive data, see the Secure Computing page.
Researchers also have the option of participating in the Condo Cluster Program (CCP). The CCP allows researchers to reserve computing resources for dedicated use by their projects, giving them the flexibility of having their own cluster without the responsibility of purchasing hardware or performing maintenance. For more information on the CCP, see the Condo Cluster Program page.