HPC facility: from initiative to facility to future developments

The Utrecht Bioinformatics Center HPC facility provides ample compute resources to accelerate Life Science community in Utrecht. About 35 research groups affiliated with UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University, Hubrecht Institute or Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology are currently using the HPC facility. With a total compute capacity of 1500 cores and 600TB of HPC storage, the facility is one of the bigger academic compute facilities in the Netherlands.

From initiative to facility

Jeroen de Ridder tells about the growth of the facility: “Since the start of the HPC facility, all efforts to initiate and set up the facility have been coordinated by Patrick Kemmeren. Patrick has played a tremendously important role in setting up the HPC and driving it towards a state-of-the-art facility for anyone in Utrecht with a computational need. In this way, Patrick and his team have had a pronounced – albeit sometimes hidden – contribution to much of the excellent research in Utrecht. Mind you, a HPC facility this size across multiple institutes and such a broad and diverse user base is a truly unique and precious commodity which should not be taken for granted!”

As of January 2017 Patrick Kemmeren has stepped down as the coordinator of the HPC facility to focus on his new role as PI at the Princess Maxima Center for Pediatric oncology. His tasks will be taken over by the UMCU Bioinformatics Expertise Core (UBEC), which is coordinated by Joep de Ligt within the lab of Jeroen de Ridder. Overall responsibility for the HPC facility will remain with the Utrecht Bioinformatics Center (UBC).

The UBC would like to thank Patrick thoroughly for his efforts over the last few years. We look forward to continuing to provide you with the state-of-the-art computational facility necessary to do excellent science.

Future HPC developments

While usage of the HPC is increasing, we will continue to expand the compute cluster with additional compute nodes and storage capacity according to state-of-the-art specifications. We have also invested in GPU-based compute infrastructure, which can be used for intensive and interactive visualization but also for GPU-accelerated computing. To further lower the threshold for making use of the HPC we are working towards a cloud-based data analytics layer that should facilitate interactive usage of the HPC while having a wide range of frequently used ‘Big’ data sets at your fingertips.

Contact HPC facility

Joep de Ligt, Coordinator UMCU Bioinformatics Expertise Core (UBEC) at UMC Utrecht: technical coordination

Jeroen de Ridder, group leader Center for Molecular Medicine at UMC Utrecht: coordinating community effort