Volume 9, Number 3, December 2012


University of Minnesota
Supercomputing Institute
Editor: Tracey Bartlett


The Users Bulletin provides a summary of new policies, procedures, and events of interest to MSI resources. It is published quarterly. 


1. Storage: MSI is putting into production a new Panasas ActiveStor14 data-storage system. This system will eliminate the need to transfer data within systems at MSI and will meet the challenging requirements of users with large datasets. For example, users will be able to generate data on Itasca and use a laboratory queue to visualize it. The system will also more than double MSI’s old storage system.


More information about the Panasas system can be found at the press release on the MSI website. The system has been delivered; users will be notified when it become available. You can also find out about different types of storage on the storage information page.


2. Cascade to Require SUs: Beginning January 1, 2013, Cascade users will be billed Service Units (SU) for usage at the same rate as Itasca, namely 1.5CPU-hour/SU. Hence, users wishing to access Cascade after this time will need to have an SU allocation for 2013. If you want to use Cascade in 2013, but have not requested SUs for Cascade on your MSI renewal form, please contact Barbara Opal (opal@msi.umn.edu or 612-625-0012).

Cascade is a General-Purpose GPU resource. Jobs that do not use the GPU resources are prohibited and will be killed, to ensure that the system is fully available for GPU users. If you have technical questions about the use of Cascade, please contact help@msi.umn.edu.


3. Overclock Queue: Beginning January 8, 2013 the Overclock queue on Itasca will be moved to the Laboratory queue resources. The transition process is expected to last three days, during which time the Overclock queue will not be available. Subsequently, starting January 11, jobs may be submitted to the Overclock queue from the Lab queue. For more information on submitting jobs from the Lab queue, please see the webpage for using PBS for labs. The Overclock queue usage on the Lab queue will not incur Service Unit (SU) charges, and will not be a part of the pool of resources allocated yearly.

Software: We are working to ensure that the necessary software is being migrated from the Overclock queue on Itasca to the Lab queue. If you believe a software package is critical for your research and it is not currently available on the Lab queue, please send an email to help@msi.umn.edu.


4. Video Tutorials on Website: Video tutorials on various topics have been embedded in the FAQ section of the MSI website.


These include topics such as the location of the MSI labs, how to get access to systems, and accessing an MSI Unix server from your Windows, Unix, or Mac desktop computer.


5. Remote Visualization: MSI has a new system for GPU-accelerated remote visualization, GPUT. GPUT uses VirtualGL and TurboVNC for an efficient and responsive remote display with scientific applications such as PyMOL, Schrodinger, and Sybyl-X. You can find more details on the GPUT Information page on the MSI website.


6. MSI Research Exhibition 2013: Save the Date! MSI will host our Annual Research Exhibition on April 11, 2013, in Walter Library. This event includes a judged poster session with prizes awarded to the finalists.


The Call for Posters will be sent out to MSI users in January 2013. Updated information will be posted on the event website as it becomes available.


7. Useful email addresses:

- Address for submitting preprints and/or reprints of research papers:


- Address for submitting videos of your research or suggestions for research articles: