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Computing Resources at the SSCC
The SSCC makes a tremendous amount of computing power available to its members. This article will help you find the computing resource that can do the job you need done and use it efficiently.
SSCC has two computing environments: a general-purpose computing environment, and a secure computing environment called Silo for working with sensitive data. The two environments have very similar resources available.
- WinSilo (AKA SiloLDS)
- Lab PCs
- Sensitive Data Facilities
- Data Storage
Winstat is SSCC's general-purpose Windows computing cluster. It consists of Windows Remote Desktop Servers that you can log into from any location to run a wide variety of statistical and other software with full access to the SSCC network.
The Winstat and WinSilo clusters share five physical servers that each run two servers as virtual machines for improved reliability. Winstat has six virtual servers that are each assigned 24 cores and 172GB of RAM. To ensure high performance for everyone, please use no more than 128GB of RAM on Winstat (see our Server Usage Policy).
Idle Winstat sessions (meaning no user input, even if jobs are running) are disconnected after two hours, all sessions are disconnected after twenty-four hours, and disconnected sessions are closed after three hours. If you need to run long jobs such that these limits would cause problems for you, contact the Help Desk.
For more information about Winstat, see Using Winstat.
WinSilo (AKA SiloLDS)
WinSilo, formerly known as SiloLDS, is a Windows-based computing cluster very similar to Winstat but in SSCC's Silo secure computing environment. The three WinSilo virtual servers have the same technical specifications as Winstat and the same policies but have additional security controls that make them appropriate for HIPAA and other sensitive data.
For more information about Silo, see Using Silo.
Linstat is designed for researchers who need greater computing power. It consists of 7 servers running Linux (which many power users find more convenient for big computing projects). Linstat1-Linstat4 have 36 cores, while Linstat5, 6, and 8 have 48 cores and Nvidia T4 GPUs. All the Linstat servers have 768GB of RAM. The Linstat servers have the most popular statistical software installed plus the usual Linux utilities and compilers. Jobs run "in the background" on Linstat will continue running after you log out, for days or weeks if necessary.
For more information about using Linstat, see Using Linstat.
LinSilo is a Linux-based computing cluster similar to Linstat but in SSCC's Silo secure computing environment. LinSilo has a wide variety of software installed for biomedical research to support researchers from the School of Medicine and Public Health.
The three primary LinSilo servers have 44 cores and 384GB of RAM. Two additional servers, called LinSiloBig, have 80 cores and 768GB of RAM.
LinSiloGPU001 has 48 cores, 768GB of RAM, and an NVidia T4 GPU. (It is the former Linstat7, currently on loan to Silo for projects using both HIPAA data and GPU).
For more information about LinSilo, see Using Silo.
HTCondor is a tool for running large numbers of jobs. When you submit jobs to HTCondor, HTCondor will distribute them across the servers in its pool. SSCC's primary HTCondor pool, called Condor, has twelve dedicated Linux servers. The Linstat servers run jobs submitted to Condor as well. Some of the Condor servers have 16 cores and 320GB of RAM, while others have 8 cores and 188GB of RAM.
You are welcome to submit up to fifteen jobs at a time to Condor (see the SSCC's Server Usage Policy).
CondorSilo is an HTCondor pool in the Silo environment. It consists of nine dedicated Linux servers with 44 cores and 384GB of RAM each.
For more information about CondorSilo, see Using Silo.
SSCC's High-Performance Computing Cluster, Flash, is designed for parallel computing. It is ideal for jobs that can be broken up into many pieces that are executed simultaneously. Most jobs run on Flash are written in FORTRAN and use MPI to handle the parallelization.
For more information about Flash, see Using the SSCC's High-Performance Computing Cluster.
The SSCC's computer labs, rooms 4218 and 3218 in the Sewell Social Sciences Building, have more than 50 PCs with most of the software installed on Winstat. They also have client programs installed for accessing all the SSCC servers. This makes the labs an excellent place to do research. We also have a Mobile Lab consisting of 42 laptops with the same software which can be used in any classroom in the Sewell Social Sciences Building.
While Silo is secure enough for most sensitive data, if a data use agreement requires that the data be stored on a computer that is not connected to a network at all there is a Secure Computing Enclave (also known as "cold rooms") in the Sewell Social Sciences Building. This consists of two locked rooms, each with an isolated workstation running Windows with common statistical software installed. A removable hard drive for each project is stored in a locked safe when not in use. The SSCC manages the computers in the Secure Computing Enclave, but the Data and Information Services Center manages access to these facilities.
The Wisconsin Research Data Center (WiscRDC) is a branch of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) network and is used to access non-public government data sets. While it is located in the Sewell Social Sciences Building, it is not managed by the SSCC.
SSCC can store approximately 300TB of data in our high-speed Storage Area Network. See Network Disk Space at the SSCC for more details. This data is backed up three times a day (see our Data Integrity Policy). We have also partnered with the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) to provide secure data storage in the Silo environment for SMPH researchers. DoIT has committed to providing up to 2PB (2,000TB) of storage as needed.