F6-ALG1-4 - IMPLEMENTING micro HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING (µHPC) ARTIFACT: AFFORDABLE HPC FACILITIES FOR ACADEMIA2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
1 University of Eastern Finland
2 University of Warwick
This Research to Practice Full Paper presents the experience of implementing micro HPC (µHPC) clusters in the education context. In developing countries, access to and experience of High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities (which are important for the economic development of those countries) has presented challenges to academic institutions due to prohibitive costs of acquisition and maintenance of HPC systems. These challenges affect the delivery of courses, which include HPC and parallel computation in their syllabi. However, due to advancements in integrated circuit technologies, credit-card-sized personal computers (PCs) have emerged with the capabilities of a fully-fledged PC. These credit-card-sized PCs offer an opportunity for system integrators to build micro HPC (µHPC) clusters which, apart from their efficiency, scalability and availability, have a number of attributes which are not shared with conventional data-center based HPC clusters These include their low power consumption, portability, diskless nodes, cost-effectiveness and excellent price to performance ratios. µHPC clusters are, therefore, ideally suited to support curricula in all educational disciplines that demand parallel computation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the implementation of µHPC to find out from students how ease of use of a µHPC system is to acquire skills and knowledge of HPC. We used focus groups and surveys to gather data in the framework of the design science research paradigm. The implementation of µHPC clusters involved a demonstration of the system in the problem context that provided valuable lessons. The results indicate that µHPC is the ease of use HPC artifact for learning about management, integration, deployment, installation, downloading, and running of parallel programs.