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High Performance Computing

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Background

The Cambridge High Performance Computing Service (HPC Service) is responsible for hosting, system support, scientific support and service delivery of a large supercomputing resource for the University of Cambridge Research Community.

The University-wide service is to be run as a self-sustaining cost centre and therefore must recover all costs incurred by the capital depreciation and running costs of the computer equipment plus additional scientific support costs incurred to help increase the useful scientific output achieved from the machine. To this end the computational equipment within the Service is to be run as a Major Research Facility under the Full Economic Costing (fEC) funding model. Under this model, units of use are priced and research staff should determine how many units they require for a particular project, explicitly include these costs within a grant application for the project and then pass this funding back to the HPC Service as a direct cost.

As a result of this funding requirement, the HPC Service must have a clearly stated and controlled usage policy which results in well-defined and guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs). This will be achieved by use of the SLURM resource allocation software and the implementation of a detailed resource allocation policy.