Harvard/Yale meetup at MGHPCC

by Maggie McFee - Nov. 13, 2019


While attending the PEARC conference, Maggie and Austin ran into some of our Yale Research Computing counterparts: Kaylea, Robert, and Ben. While there's an intense sports rivalry between the two schools, this wasn't the case with our RC departments. We really hit it off well and we talked about our similarities, differences, and hurdles, over dinner (thanks to Dell and Intel for that). Maggie and Ben also bonded over a love of Buckaroo Banzai, but that's a different story. We also talked quite a lot about the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) where the majority of our cluster is housed. To that end, we vowed to get together and both tour MGHPCC and have a meetup where we could share ideas and experiences.

Austin put together a trip at the end of October and lined up some talks and roundtable sessions to fill out the day. After we all arrived and had some coffee and breakfast, we toured the facility led by MGHPCC's John Goodhue. This gave us all a chance to not just see how MGHPCC worked, but also gawk at our new water-cooled cluster 'Cannon', which many of us hadn't seen up close.

After the tour we broke for lunch at Holyoke Hummus where, thankfully, we didn't overwhelm the staff there who were very accommodating. After lunch, there were several talks/presentations from each group on topics ranging from our respective Open OnDemand implementations, to monitoring and visualization. We still want to steal some code, guys. :)

The roundtable talks allowed us to find out more about how we each tackle various basic things: scheduling, storage, partitions, accounts, security, research facilitation, and on-prem cloud. It all sounds rather stuffy, but it was actually fun and everyone enjoyed the camaraderie of talking to peers about the things we do each day. And with that it was off to Northhampton for dinner and drinks and just hanging out.

All in all, this was an enjoyable trip and we confirmed that the other Yalies were just as fun and interesting as the small contingent we'd run up on at PEARC. We hope to do this again and maybe even expand on the meetup. And we wouldn't mind seeing some more blue around our green data center, should Yale RC want to join us there. Thanks to everyone, and especially Austin, for a great meetup, great food, and a lot of food for thought.

  • Photo of MGHPCC