Flux is primarily a computing resource. Storage, networking, and other cyberinfrastructure requirements will not be addressed by Flux and should be discussed with your Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Note to College of Engineering faculty: Using Flux is the recommended approach for providing HPC resources to you as College of Engineering faculty. The College of Engineering discourages buying equipment to support computing activities that can be reasonably supported by Flux.

Flux Description

Flux is an HPC Linux-based cluster intended to support parallel and other applications that are not suitable for departmental or individual computers. Each Flux compute node comprises multiple CPU cores with at least 4 GB of RAM per core; Flux has more than 8,000 cores. All compute nodes are interconnected with InfiniBand networking.

The larger memory Flux hardware comprises five compute nodes, each configured with forty cores (four ten-core 2.27 GHz Intel Xeon E7-4860 processors) and 1 TB RAM.

Computing jobs on Flux are managed through a combination of the Moab Scheduler, the Terascale Open-Source Resource and QUEue Manager (Torque) and the GOLD Allocation Manager from Adaptive Computing.

Flux Configuration has a detailed description of the Flux cluster.

The system also includes high-speed scratch storage using the Lustre parallel network file system. The storage is connected with InfiniBand. This file system allows researchers to store data on a short-term basis to perform calculations; it is not for long-term data storage or archival purposes.

All Flux nodes are interconnected with quad-data rate InfiniBand, delivering up to 40 Gbps of bandwidth and less than 5μs latency.

Flux is connected to the University of Michigan’s campus backbone to provide access to student and researcher desktops as well as other campus computing and storage systems. The campus backbone provides connectivity to the commodity Internet and the research networks Internet2 and MiLR.

The Flux cluster includes a comprehensive software suite of commercial and open source research software, including major software compilers, and many of the common research-specific applications such as Mathematica, Matlab, R and Stata.

Data Center Facilities
Flux is housed in the Modular Data Center (MDC). The MDC uses ambient air for cooling approximately 75% of the year, thus significantly reducing the amount of energy needed for cooling, and contributing to U-M’s sustainability efforts.

Flux computing services are provided through a collaboration of University of Michigan units: the Office of Research Cyberinfrastructure (in the Office of the VP of Research and the Provost’s Office), the College of Engineering’s central IT group, CAEN, and Information and Technology Services (ITS), as well as the computing groups in schools and colleges at the university.

How to Prepare a Start-Up or Retention Package

The following steps will help you prepare a faculty start-up or retention package for a computationally focused researcher who may be able to use Flux

1. Determine the suitability of Flux for the prospective faculty member by consulting with Dr. Ken Powell, faculty director for research services, to consider whether a large computing resource is required and whether Flux can meet the research needs of the faculty member.

2. Determine the size of the Flux allocation for the start-up package, including the changes or flexibility in the size of the allocation over time. For more information about estimating Flux allocations see Flux Sizing or contact hpc-support@umich.edu.

3. Determine an appropriate budget to include in the offer letter. For more information about estimating a budget for Flux see Flux Rates or contact hpc-support@umich.edu.

4. Copy and paste into the offer letter the appropriate parts of the Flux Description above and the parts of Language for Offer Letters below.

Plan for the end of the start-up/retention period or the exhaustion of the funds. At that time, the allocation on Flux expires and no more jobs associated with that Flux project can run. The user accounts and data are not purged at the end of the Flux project. The same accounts and data may be used for other projects or additional funds may be deposited into the original project to make it usable again.

Language for Offer Letters

This text may be copied and modified for use in offer letters.

For your research computing needs, you will be provided with an allocation of X core-months of computing time on the U-M’s campus-level high-performance computing cluster, called Flux. This allocation may be used during your Y-year start up period.

This allocation is flexible and may be self-managed to accommodate your demands and usage style over the allocation’s lifetime. The number of cores you can use at one time is flexible – for example, you can use as few cores as you need to begin, and add more cores as your computing requirements grow.

The computing costs represent a commitment of $ [ x ].

Flux includes compute hardware that is interconnected with high-speed networking, a high-speed parallel scratch file system, a rich suite of scientific and engineering libraries and applications, high-quality data-center space and professional systems support and administration.

More information about high performance computing, including a description of Flux, is available at arc-ts.umich.edu/flux.