As part of the selection process for the next HPC system at MSI, we have invited top high-performance computing vendors to present their high-performance computing portfolios and roadmaps to users in a Town Hall setting. We expect a 1-2 hour presentation from each vendor followed by an opportunity for users to ask questions.


To start off, Cray Inc. will be on-site Tuesday, August 20, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. to provide presentations and have interactive discussions with MSI users. The meeting will take place in Walter Library, Room 402.


The three primary areas of discussion will be:

  • the HPC Division’s XC-30 hardware, software, and support options
  • the Cluster Solutions Division’s CS300 hardware, software, and support options
  • the Data Management & Storage Division’s hardware, software, and support options featuring the world-leading Sonexion Luster solution


No discussions are currently planned for the Cray/Intel Hadoop solution or the YarcData Division’s uRiKA hardware, software, support, and subscription options. However, if either of these technology solutions are of interest to you, please contact Jeff McDonald. Cray will accommodate such requests.


We encourage all interested MSI users to attend this meeting. We will publish a schedule of future Town Hall meetings with other vendors when it is finalized.



The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently ran an article about the growth of bioinformatics and how the U is contributing to advances in the field. The article includes discussion of the Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology graduate program at the U's Rochester campus and the Institute for Health Informatics. Researchers in both those programs use MSI resources.


MSI provides specialized support for informatics researchers through the Research Informatics Support Systems (RISS) program. Information about how the informatics specialists in the RISS group can help is on the RISS section of the MSI website.



Two MSI PIs, Professor Larry Wackett (BMBB, BioTechnology Institute) and Professor Michael Sadowsky (Soil, Water, and Climate, BioTechnology Institute), are part of a team developing a silica sponge stuffed with bacteria that can eat the contaminants in water that are a result of the hydrofracturing process. This process, also called fracking, uses millions of gallons of water.

The new technology involves bacteria embedded in porous silica fibers. Because the many of the contaminants in frack water are organic, they are potential food for bacteria. The team looks for bacteria that will eat the specific contaminants. The team has filed for a patent for this technology. An article about the project appeared recently on the UMNews website.

Professor Wackett uses MSI’s genomics resources in coordination with experiments to help identify novel metabolism and biocatalytic reactions in organisms. Professor Sadowsky uses MSI’s resources for the Minnesota Mississippi Metagenome Project, which aims to provide a greater understanding of human activity’s impact on the water of the Mississippi River. Professors Wackett and Sadowsky are working with Professor Alptekin Aksan in the Department of Mechanical Engineering on this project. 


The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), a Homeland Security Center of Excellence located at the University of Minnesota, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine. The agreement creates a partnership between the two organizations, both of which work to prevent intentional contamination of the food supply. An article about this historic agreement appeared recently in the Minnesota Daily


MSI is working with the NCFPD to create databases and web interfaces that allow researchers to work with and analyze their data. A recently completed project includes a database that automatically imports data from U.S. government agencies and a web interface that allows the researchers to perform statistical analysis on the data. The interface also generates plots and other summaries. MSI application developers are now working on a project that will allow NCFPD researchers to collaborate and discuss their projects in a secure web-based environment.   

On Wednesday, August 7, 2013, from 04:00 - 15:00, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various systems.

During this maintenance period, we will be performing a site-wide maintenance. Most MSI systems will be down for a short period of time; the systems down for maintenance include:

  • MSI networking -- external connections will be intermittently unavailable from 4 am - 6 am.
  • All infrastructure systems will be briefly down for patches (login, labs, NX, Windows infrastructure, databases and web servers) 
  • Primary storage (Panasas) will be unavailable 5am - 6am for patching
  • Itasca, Calhoun, Koronis and Cascade will be unavailable during the morning for patches and system maintenance.


Systems status is always available on our Status page.

If you have any questions, please email