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Maintenance on May 3: Great Lakes, Armis2, and Lighthouse 

By | Uncategorized

On Tuesday, May 3, from 7-7:30 a.m., ARC will perform a vendor upgrade to Slurm on Great Lakes, Armis2, and Lighthouse HPC Clusters and their storage systems. ARC apologizes for the inconvenience.

Impact

  • This maintenance will cause a Slurm outage from 7-7:30 a.m.

  • Access to the cluster file systems will be available during the update.

  • Jobs not able to complete prior to 7 a.m. May 3 will not be able to start until after maintenance has ended. These jobs will be eligible to start once maintenance has been completed.

Status updates

Check the ITS Service Status page and follow ARC on Twitter for progress updates.

How can we help you?

For assistance or questions, please contact ARC at arc-support@umich.edu, or visit Virtual Drop-in Office Hours (CoderSpaces) for hands-on help, available 9:30-11 a.m. and 2-3:30 p..m. on Tuesdays; 1:30-3 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 2-3:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

For other topics, contact the ITS Service Center:

New Resource Management Portal feature for Armis2 HPC Clusters

By | Armis2, HPC, News

Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of Information and Technology Services (ITS), has been developing a self-service tool called the Resource Management Portal (RMP) to give researchers and their delegates the ability to directly manage the IT research services they consume from ARC. 

Customers who use the Armis2 High-Performance Computing Cluster now have the ability to view their account information via the RMP, including the account name, resource limits (CPUs and GPUs), and the user access list.

“We are proud to be able to offer this tool for customers who use the HIPAA-certified Armis2 cluster,” said Brock Palen, ARC director. 

The RMP is a self-service-only user portal with tools and APIs for research managers, unit support staff, and delegates to manage their ARC IT resources. The RMP team is slowly adding capabilities over time. 

To get started or find help, contact arc-support@umich.edu.

Understanding the strongest electromagnetic fields in the universe

By | Data, Great Lakes, HPC, Research, Uncategorized

Alec Thomas is part of the team from the U-M College of Engineering Gérard Mourou Center for Ultrafast Optical Science that is building the most powerful laser in the U.S.

Dubbed “ZEUS,” the laser will be 3-petawatts of power. That’s a ‘3’ with 15 zeros. All the power generated in the entire world is 10-terawatts, or 1000 times less than the ZEUS laser. 

The team’s goal is to use the laser to explore how matter behaves in the most extreme electric and magnetic fields in the universe, and also to generate new sources of radiation beams, which may lead to developments in medicine, materials science, and national security. 

A simulation of a plasma wake.

This simulation shows a plasma wake behind a laser pulse. The plasma behaves like water waves generated behind a boat. In this image, the “waves” are extremely hot plasma matter, and the “boat” is a short burst of powerful laser light. (Image courtesy of Daniel Seipt.)

“In the strong electric fields of a petawatt laser, matter becomes ripped apart into a `plasma,’ which is what the sun is made of. This work involves very complex and nonlinear physical interactions between matter particles and light. We create six-dimensional models of particles to simulate how they might behave in a plasma in the presence of these laser fields to learn how to harness it for new technologies. This requires a lot of compute power,” Thomas said. 

That compute power comes from the Great Lakes HPC cluster, the university’s fastest high-performance computing cluster. The team created equations to solve a field of motion for each six-dimensional particle. The equations run on Great Lakes and help Thomas and his team to learn how the particle might behave within a cell. Once the field of motion is understood, solutions can be developed. 

“On the computing side, this is a very complex physical interaction. Great Lakes is designed to handle this type of work,” said Brock Palen, director of Advanced Research Computing, a division of Information and Technology Services. 

Thomas has signed up for allocations on the Great Lakes HPC cluster and Data Den storage. “I just signed up for the no-cost allocations offered by the U-M Research Computing Package. I am planning to use those allocations to explore ideas and concepts in preparation for submitting grant proposals.”

Learn more and sign up for the no-cost U-M Research Computing Package (UMRCP).

Prof. Thomas’ work is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Yottabyte (Blue) to retire April 2022  

By | Uncategorized

The Yottabyte Research Cloud (YBRC), powered by Verge.io, provides U-M researchers with high-performance, secure, and flexible computing environments enabling the analysis of data sets, and hosting of databases for research purposes. Yottabyte (Blue) will retire on April 4, 2022. Yottabyte (Maize) for sensitive data will continue to be offered as a service. 

To determine if a virtual server is hosted in YBRC ‘Blue,’ check the hostname for the word ‘blue’ in its name, such as ‘yb-hostname.blue.ybrc.umich.edu.’

Members of the ARC Yottabyte team or Unit IT Support staff members will reach out to customers before the end of 2021 to determine customer needs and develop migration plans. Customers should review their data and projects that are currently utilizing Yottabyte (Blue), and  delete anything not needed.  

Visit the YBRC webpage on the ARC website for additional information about the retirement

Preserving Michigan’s musical history and culture

By | Feature, News, Research

From Kentucky bluegrass to Louisiana Zydeco to German hurdy-gurdy to East European Klezmer to Indian Manipuri dancing to Native American pow wows, and much more, these musical traditions from around the country and around the world have found their way to Michigan. Beginning in 2014, the Musical Heritage Project has been documenting Michigan’s folk music history.

Lester Monts

Lester Monts Lester Monts specializes in ethnomusicology and has been documenting Michigan’s folk cultural heritage since 2014. (Image courtesy Lester Monts)

The project is led by ethnomusicologist Dr. Lester P. Monts, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Music, who began his musical journey as an orchestral trumpet player. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in trumpet performance and teaching trumpet at the college level before completing the doctoral degree in ethnomusicology and embarking on a research career. In the mid-1970s, Monts began to focus his research on music and culture in Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa. The fourteen-year Liberian civil war thwarted his fieldwork in that region.

Noting that there has been no systematic effort to collect and archive Michigan’s rich folk music heritage, the Michigan Musical Heritage Project was launched. Monts has embraced the study of music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. He notes that “music brings people together; it has the power to create community, and we witnessed this occurring throughout our many journeys around the state.”

Using his charm, passion, likeability, and keen musical knowledge to cultivate trust with his interviewees, Monts captured more than 400 hours of audio and video data over the years, amassing a total of 80 terabytes of data. He believes this to be the most extensive collection of Michigan folk music in the state and that U-M is the right place to house this collection.

The Michigan Musical Heritage Project crew.

The Michigan Musical Heritage Project crew wraps up at the end of recording session. (Image courtesy Lester Monts)

With a videography crew consisting primarily of former U-M students, Monts traveled all around the state to record performances at folk music festivals and cultural gatherings, such as the Celtic Festival (Saline), Irish Folk Music Festival (Muskegon) Hispanic Heritage Festival (Hart), Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival (Marquette), Port Sanilac Blues Festival (Port Sanilac), Africa World Festival (Detroit), Aura Jamboree (Aura), Oldtime Fiddlers Convention and Traditional Music Festival (Hillsdale).

He says, “The creative talents of the state’s outstanding musicians must be preserved, not only for my research but for that of others as well. If properly preserved, I’m confident that in the future, the ethnomusicology program and the American Cultures department will find these data provide important insights into Michigan’s diverse musical heritage.”

How technology supports this project 

Monts’ crew includes a strong partnership with Tom Bray, converging technologies consultant and adjunct assistant professor of Art and Design, Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design. Bray has been instrumental in pairing the right technology for the long-term preservation of this collection, which includes converting older footage to digital media. 

Tom Bray

Tom Bray (image courtesy LSA)

Bray has collaborated with Monts to convert older technologies, such as VHS, 8mm, and high-8 video, to digital files. The files are both compressed and uncompressed and are very large and of high resolution.

All of this wonderful and important audio and video footage needs to be preserved somewhere. But where do you turn when you have 80 terabytes of data? Monts said, “I’ve been desperately searching for a way to archive the video data collected under the auspices of the Michigan Musical Heritage Project.” 

Enter the U-M Research Computing Package (UMRCP) and the team from Advanced Research Computing (ARC), a division of Information and Technology Services. The UMRCP offers researchers across all campuses several resources at no additional cost to researchers, including 100 terabytes of long-term storage.

Bray said, “I had to read the UMRCP email announcement twice because I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was so excited that ITS and the university are supporting researchers in this way. We jumped on this opportunity right away.” 

ARC Director Brock Palen is excited about this work, too. “This is super interesting, and not like the usual types of research ARC normally sees, like climate and genomics. We’re happy to help Dr. Monts and Mr. Bray, and anyone who needs it, anytime. The archive is intentionally built for holding large-volume, raw data such as 4k video, and we are proud to be their go-to for this important cultural preservation project.” 

Old media in Dr. Monts' office

Hours and hours of media is being converted to a digital format. (Photo by Stephanie Dascola)

ARC replicates and encrypts in two secure locations that are miles apart, so those who use ARC services will not have to worry about crashes that they might experience if they are using their own equipment. The UMRCP also includes technical expertise by talented ARC staff to further remove barriers so researchers can do what they do best.

Monts and Bray also leverage the university’s network and WiFi services to transfer the files from their studio in the Duderstadt Center to storage. The network is designed to minimize bottlenecks so that data transfers quickly and efficiently. 

Dr. Monts said, “Although the pandemic temporarily disrupted my plans to complete the video documentary, I take solace in knowing that the many hours of data we collected is in a much safer environment than we had. The UMRCP storage resource is truly a boon!”

Related links

An old reel-to-reel tape player.

A reel-to-reel tape player. (Photo by Stephanie Dascola)

Lester Monts plays footage from a special women's only dance in Iberia.

Dr. Monts shows footage from a special women-only dance in Iberia. He earned permission to record this rarely-documented group of women. (Photo by Stephanie Dascola)

ITS Holiday Hours – Thanksgiving Break

By | General Interest

ITS offices, including the Service Center (4HELP) and ARC, will close for the Thanksgiving holiday at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 24, and will resume normal business hours on Monday, November 29.

Information about winter break hours will be available soon. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Leveraging technology to improve education outcomes

By | Uncategorized

Nicole Wagner LamResearchers from U-M campuses and all across the country are using education data provided by the State of Michigan to study a wide variety of topics ranging from the effects of COVID-19 on public school enrollment to the role of neighborhood instability on student educational outcomes to exploring the ways that financial assets can change youth’s lives.

An arm of the Education Policy Initiative (EPI), the Michigan Education Data Center (MEDC) is a secure data clearinghouse that helps researchers use the State of Michigan’s education data to answer critical questions that improve outcomes for students. 

“Improving public education is one of the most pressing challenges facing our country today,” stated Kyle Kwaiser, EPI data architect and manager. “We’re using tools meant for research support, but using them as the foundation of a data clearinghouse serving researchers nationwide, and they’re working well.”

“Our researchers cover a breadth of topics for which Michigan education data are being used across all campuses. We think that the findings of these projects are powerful or will be very useful to policymakers,” said Nicole Wagner Lam, associate director for the Education Policy Initiative, the MEDC sponsor. 

Lam goes on to say that there are currently about 60 active research projects, about half of which are being conducted by U-M researchers. Researchers affiliated with U-M or Michigan State University leverage this restricted data stored on Turbo Research Storage that is provided by ARC.

Researchers also need a secure way to transfer, store, and analyze restricted data. MEDC affiliates also use Globus File Transfer and Yottabyte Research Cloud (YBRC) along with Turbo. Together, these three services enable productive and impactful research. 

Steve Wolodkin, ARC research cloud designer, says that, as a private cloud environment, YBRC gives researchers both good data protection and a familiar desktop environment. It also provides an easy mechanism to give multiple users access to the same desktop. Further, it is easy to add and remove users, which benefits this group particularly, as many of the people using it are students and change regularly. 

Jeremy Hallum, ARC research computing manager, explains how it all works together. YBRC provides a Windows virtual machine pool with various statistical software, configured in a way that supports this group’s research. User profiles and shared storage are integrated with Turbo storage, which allows researchers to access their data on any machine that they use. Globus is designed to move many large files, ranging from tens of gigabytes to tens of terabytes.

Lam said, “We are lucky to be at U-M and to work with researchers from all over the country. There are a lot of low- or no-cost resources at U-M to leverage, and many units that provide support.”

Kwaiser says that they worked closely with ARC two years ago when they were getting started. ARC helped create the structure, ensure security, and train MEDC how to use the services. It was a lot of work to get started. Now, everything is running smoothly. When needed, staff will attend one of four weekly office hours or attend an Office of Research training session. 

Several other ITS services have also been valuable for database hosting, access control, security, and VPN network connections. MiDatabase, a hosting service that provides campus with a centrally managed, on-premise cloud environment that reduces the cost, risk, and overhead involved in running services independently. MCommunity APIs are used to monitor and control access, know who’s logging on when, revoke access, control access to ARC resources. ARC is core but the MEDC team is also using ITS services. ITS Information Assurance was instrumental during the startup up, particularly when gaining data access approvals from the State of Michigan. ITS worked with MEDC and the State of Michigan to set up a standing Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection.

“I knew we could make solid progress with these ITS experts on board. I appreciate being able to work directly with them. It took months to gain trust from all parties when we were setting up, and now the resulting research is amazing,” Kwaiser said. “We’ve been able to get really far with resources at U-M.”

No-cost research computing allocations now available

By | HPC, News, Research, Systems and Services, Uncategorized

U-M Research Computing PackageResearchers on all university campuses can now sign up for the U-M Research Computing Package, a new package of no-cost supercomputing resources provided by Information and Technology Services.

As of Sept. 1, university researchers have access to a base allocation for 80,000 CPU hours of high-performance computing and research storage services at no cost. This includes 10 terabytes of high-speed and 100 terabytes of archival storage.

These base allocations will meet the needs of approximately 75 percent of current high-performance-computing users and 90 percent of current research storage users. Researchers must sign up on ITS’s Advanced Research Computing website to receive the allocation.

“With support from President (Mark) Schlissel and executive leadership, this initiative provides a unified set of resources, both on campus and in the cloud, that meet the needs of the rich diversity of disciplines. Our goal is to encourage the use, support and availability of high-performance computing resources for the entire research community,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer.

The computing package was developed to meet needs across a diversity of disciplines and to provide options for long-term data management, sharing and protecting sensitive data, and more competitive cost structures that give faculty and research teams more flexibility to procure resources on short notice.

“It is incredibly important that we provide our research community with the tools necessary so they can use their experience and expertise to solve problems and drive innovation,” said Rebecca Cunningham, vice president for research and the William G. Barsan Collegiate Professor of Emergency Medicine. “The no-cost supercomputing resources provided by ITS and Vice President Pendse will greatly benefit our university community and the countless individuals who are positively impacted by their research.”

Ph.D. students may qualify for their own UMRCP resources depending on who is overseeing their research and their adviser relationship. Students should consult with their Ph.D. program administrator to determine their eligibility. ITS will confirm this status when a UMRCP request is submitted.

Undergraduate and master’s students do not currently qualify for their own UMRCP, but they can be added as users or administrators of another person’s UMRCP. Students can also access other ITS programs such as Great Lakes for Course Accounts, and Student Teams.

“If you’re a researcher at Michigan, these resources are available to you without financial impact. We’re going to make sure you have what you need to do your research. We’re investing in you as a researcher because you are what makes Michigan Research successful,” Brock Palen, Advanced Research Computing director.

Services that are needed beyond the base allocation provided by the UMRCP are available at reduced rates and are automatically available for all researchers on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint and Michigan Medicine campuses.

More Information

Access the sensitive data HPC cluster via web browser

By | Armis2, HPC, News

Researchers, data scientists, and students can now more easily analyze sensitive data on the Armis2 High-Performance Computing (HPC) Cluster. No Linux knowledge required, just a web browser, an account, and a login. 

This is made possible by a web interface called Open OnDemand, and is provided by Advanced Research Computing (ARC). 

“It is now much easier to analyze sensitive data, without investing hours in training. This makes the Open OnDemand tool more accessible and user-friendly. I’m excited to see the research breakthroughs that happen now that a significant barrier has been removed,” said Matt Britt, ARC HPC manager. 

Open OnDemand offers easy file management, command-line access to the Armis2 HPC cluster, job management and monitoring, and graphical desktop environments and desktop interactive applications such as RStudio, MATLAB, and Jupyter Notebook.

Resource: Getting started (Web-based Open OnDemand) – section 1.2. For assistance or questions, please contact ARC at arc-support@umich.edu.

ARC is a division of Information and Technology Services (ITS).

HPC, storage now more accessible for researchers

By | HPC, News, Systems and Services

U-M Research Computing Package decorative image

Information and Technology Services has launched a new package of supercomputing resources for researchers and PhD students on all U-M campuses: the U-M Research Computing Package, provided by ITS.

The U-M Research Computing Package will reduce the current rates for high performance computing and research storage services provided by ITS by an estimated 35-40 percent, effective July 1. 

In addition, beginning Sept. 1, university researchers will have access to a base allocation for high-performance computing and research storage services (including high-speed and archival storage) at no cost, thanks to an additional investment from ITS. These base allocations will meet the needs of approximately 75 percent of current high-performance computing users and 90 percent of current research storage users.

Learn more about the U-M Research Computing Package