CCS Mission & Goals:

Updated on May 24, 2017

Mission:

Enable and enhance the success of the University of Kentucky faculty and staff in their pursuit of computational research and education by providing access to leading computational resources and the necessary support services to utilize them effectively.

Goals:
  1. Enhance our research competitiveness - increase publications and research funding linked to research computing;
  2. Increase access to specialized computational resources (hardware, software applications, computational methodologies, collaborative relationships, and people/expertise);
  3. Enhance the skill sets of the support staff;
  4. Broaden the types of research supported, expand the computational user base, enhance collaboration and information sharing through outreach and education for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



Overview/Summary:

The University of Kentucky's (UK) Center for Computational Sciences (CCS) has been a leader in High Performance Computing (HPC) for scientific research and teaching since 1987, and its supercomputers have ranked as high as #66 on the world-wide supercomputers among the world's military, governmental, industrial and academic supercomputers and in the top 10 among American universities, according to the semi-annual listing prepared by the University of Tennessee and Mannheim University, Germany. These supercomputing facilities are available to the faculty at UKY and to research institutions throughout the state of Kentucky.

CCS represents a vibrant, interdisciplinary partnership engaging numerous schools and departments across UK. CCS bridges UK's unique strengths in scientific computing by supporting more than 75 research groups in a variety of disciplines, including genetics, physics, materials science, engineering, biological sciences, and health sciences.

Today UK's computational research landscape is changing:

  • New Researcher Population - not just Arts & Sciences and Engineering faculty/students, now it includes all researchers from across campus (Agriculture, Pharmacy, Business, Design, Fine Arts, etc.);
  • New Computational Requirements - not just High Performance Computing (HPC) but new computational demands driven by research involving big data, massive/elastic parallelization, custom/special-purpose applications;
  • New Computational Environments - not just a Supercomputer but a complex (and often bewildering) set of computational solutions hardware and software, physical and virtual, private (local/remote), public (cloud, fog/edge);
  • New Knowledge Requirements - not just Hardware but new demand is for resource and domain expertise and knowledge (i.e. People);
  • New Organizational Relationships with computational environments not supportable by just UK ITS leading to new cooperation models needed between CCS and ITS.

CCS is expanding its current traditional High Performance Computing (HPC) system to include loosely coupled high memory/storage nodes suited to today's big data science research needs (See Current Systems). In addition to providing multiple systems and technologies relevant to varying application challenges, CCS also provides consulting, technical documentation and training to assist researchers in using these resources effectively.

CCS also engages in the following activities:

  • Evaluates HPC and Big Data systems and software;
  • Offers training workshops, seminars, and lectures in academic classes to educate and prepare new users of these resources;
  • Conducts research and testing of new computational techniques and technologies that enhance the capabilities of high performance and big data computing resources;
  • Collaborate with national labs, computing centers and computing/storage vendors to enhance the capabilities of the resources in use at the center.

The National Science Foundation's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), the world's largest distributed infrastructure for open scientific research, is a single virtual system that scientists can use to share computing resources, data, and expertise through a premier collection of integrated digital resources and services. Through the XSEDE Campus Champions program, UK researchers have on-campus consulting resources to submit allocation requests to XSEDE and to access powerful national supercomputing facilities for modeling, simulation, and advanced data and visualization analysis. In addition to allowing researchers to run their own custom code, most well-known major scientific codes are available through XSEDE resources. These resources are available at no cost to users who have submitted proposals and been approved.

In addition, CCS/ITS are developing relationships with the three main Cloud Service providers: Google's Cloud Platform, Microsoft's Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). CCS has offered faculty and staff meetings and workshops related to use of these systems and will continue to provide information and support as need to interested faculty. It is CCS's intention to develop our own Ky Research Informatics Cloud whereby UK researchers can develop their Docker Contrainers (tailored for their research application) that can run our own UK "cloud" resources or those of our major Cloud Partners (Amazon, Google, etc.) as resources, priorities and policies dictate.