MSI Principal Investigator Daniel Frisbie, who is a Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, is highlighted on the OVPR’s Research blog. Professor Frisbie studies how organic materials might be used in electronic devices, as silicon is in current technology. He and his group are using MSI resources to support their study of organic semiconductors.

posted November 8, 2012

MSI Principal Investigator Gary Muehlbauer (Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Head, Plant Biology) is part of a large international team of researchers that has produced a “draft” of the barley genome. This work has been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

An article by the University News Service describes Professor Muehlbauer’s research. He and his group use the Computational Genetics Lab for their investigations of barley and other crops, including wheat, soybean, and maize.


MSI Principal Investigator David Largaespada (Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development) has received the American Cancer Society’s Research Professor Award. According to the ACS website, this award is presented to “mid-career investigators who have made seminal contributions that have changed the direction of basic cancer research.” The award includes a five-year grant that can be renewed for an additional five years. Only two researchers are selected each year. A story about Professor Largaespada appears in the People section of the University website.


Professor Largaespada’s research involves using a transposon system called Sleeping Beauty to find new cancer cells. The approach can be used to understand the genetic basis for many types of cancer. Professor Largaespada and his research group have been using MSI since 2002. They use various software packages to analyze their data.


The only other University of Minnesota recipient of this award, Stephen Hecht (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology), has been an MSI PI for over a decade. He held the award during 2000-10. Professor Hecht uses MSI resources for his research into tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines, which are considered to be among the major carcinogens in tobacco products.


The OVPR’s Business blog recently put up a post comparing the “olden days” of University computing with today. The piece includes insights from MSI Director Jorge Vinals about the differences between computers of the 1960s and those of today.


To learn about MSI’s early days in the 1980s, see the article that appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of the MSI Research Bulletin.

UPDATE: The new storage system will be activated on January 9, 2013. All data should be migrated to the new system during January - July 2013. Complete information can be found on the Panasas Migration Guide webpage. 


The Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) is putting into a production a new Panasas ActiveStor 14 data-storage system.

The new system will consist of twenty shelves of Panasas ActiveStor 14 storage provided by Advanced Clustering Technologies, Inc. and Panasas, and will integrate filesystem and hardware for a single storage solution. The usable storage capacity will be 1.281 PB, and each shelf will be capable of 1.5 GB/sec or 13,500 IOPS. The full solution will be capable of 30 GB/sec read/write and 270,000 IOPS.

The ActiveStor 14 solution will support up to 12,000 simultaneous clients as well as CIFS, NFS, and Panasas's high-performance PanFS filesystem. The solution also incorporates 24 TB of solid-state drives (SSDs) as part of the hardware solution.

The new system will allow users to do things they couldn't do before. As a central storage solution with excellent performance specifications, it eliminate the need to transfer data within systems at MSI while meeting the challenging requirements of users with large sets of data. Current MSI users are required to migrate their data between high-performance scratch storage and capacity project space storage, which has created, for many, bottlenecks in their data flow. The new system will blur the line between these two storage types. Users will be able, for example, to generate data on MSI's flagship Itasca system and use an MSI laboratory queue to visualize it.


Overall, the new storage system will more than double the capacity of MSI's current storage offering. It will enable users both to perform more interesting research with datasets of finer resolution and to operate on enormous datasets that in the past presented operational challenges. Related to these issues, MSI will address the often overlooked need for access bandwidth by employing a capable system of servers for moving data to and from storage, and it will employ a set of data movers to efficiently channel data between MSI users and external consumers and producers of data. Generally, the new storage system will strike a balance between bandwidth and IOPS. Given the explosion of research with large data requirements, the above capabiliites are key to enabling research of the future.


The Panasas ActiveStor 14 solution will give MSI researchers a significant edge in research and establish MSI as a leader in research inolving big data. In addition to being one of the largest storge systems among U.S. universities (1.281 PB of usable storage, 24 TB of SSD, and 1.84 TB of cache), MSI's system will also be one of the fastest among U.S. universities with respect to storage bandwidth.


The system is expected to be delivered in late November 2012.

UPDATE 12/10/12: The system has been delivered. 

Further information will be posted on our website and disseminated to MSI users as it becomes available.