Elise Miller-Hooks

MRI: Acquisition of an Adaptive Computing Infrastructure to Support Compute- and Data-Intensive Multidisciplinary Research

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Project Abstract

The proposed instrument, “Gunston,” will support high-impact research and education across all three of Mason’s multidisciplinary research institutes – Institute for Biohealth Innovation, Institute for a Sustainable Earth, Institute for Digital Innovation – and across numerous departments and academic programs. Among other areas, Gunston will support research and education projects focused on advancing transportation and infrastructure systems, geography and geoinformation sciences, astrophysics, social media analytics to support disaster informatics, computational fluid dynamics, materials science, natural hazards research, data mining, computer vision, automated vehicles, bioinformatics, neuroscience, and economics. Gunston will also support Mason’s large-scale high-performance computing users who will develop, prototype and benchmark their applications locally before starting production runs at the Nation’s supercomputer centers. The instrument will support a very diverse community of researchers, educators and students at Mason, including high school students engaged in summer research projects, community college students whose dreams are to attain their four-year degree at Mason, adult learners seeking their first college degree or to upskill to realize their professional aspirations, and PhD students engaged in state-of-the-art disciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects. In addition to advancing cutting-edge research projects, Gunston will be instrumental in preparing the next generation of data scientists, mathematicians, engineers and scientists to meet the needs of the Nation’s thriving innovation economy.

This project will acquire, install, and deploy a reconfigurable computing infrastructure named “Gunston” to meet the growing and changing needs of Mason researchers. Gunston will be managed centrally and shared with the entire Mason research community. The proposed system is based on an OpenStack framework and will be reconfigurable to support a diverse range of user needs at Mason. Gunston will consist of 4 OpenStack management nodes, 35 standard compute nodes, 2 high memory nodes with 3TB memory, and 6 nodes with V100 graphics processing units (GPUs), all connected through InfiniBand (IB) switches to support low-latency high bandwidth communication between nodes and storage. The interconnect network will use HDR IB switches in a fat tree configuration and use port splitters to provide EDR IB connections to the nodes. There will be a redundant 25Gbe networking infrastructure with 100Gbe spine switches for node deployment and virtual machine (VM) access. The system will have 384 TB of Ceph based storage to back VM deployments, and 300 TB of high-speed low-latency BeeGFS storage for HPC use. Gunston will support both traditional as well as non-traditional (the long tail of science) high-performance computing users. This new system will replace Mason’s current HPC cluster, which is nearing the end of its useful life, is unable to keep up with growth in the number of users and was not designed to meet the needs of a diversity of usage modes now being requested by our faculty and student communities.

Award Period:
Project Award #:
Source of Funding:
Center for Integrated Asset Management for Multi-modal Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CIAMTIS): Region 3 University Transportation Center
PI: Elise Miller-Hooks
Co PI's:
Jayshree Sarma (Gunston’s mastermind), GMU
Yue Cheng, GMU
Shobita Satyapal, GMU
Maria Emelianenko, GMU
Total Award Amount:

Project 66


Elise Miller-Hooks, Ph.D.
Bill & Eleanor Hazel Chair in Infrastructure Engineering

Phone: 703.993.1685
Email: miller@gmu.edu

Office: 4614 Nguyen Engineering Building

Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MS 6C1
Fairfax, VA 22030


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