New capabilities, rates announced for research computing

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Institute for CyberScience (ICS) is in the process of tripling and diversifying the high-performance computing available to University researchers through the ICS Advanced CyberInfrastructure (ICS-ACI), while also reducing the costs of ICS-ACI computation and data storage services for Penn State researchers.

“We are grateful for the commitment of Provost Nicholas Jones and Vice President for Research Neil Sharkey to the high-performance research computing enterprise at Penn State,” said Jenni Evans, ICS interim director. “Without the support of the administration, ICS-ACI could not have attained the capabilities currently being unveiled. Penn State is providing a state-of-the-science computational facility for our researchers.”

High-performance computation and storage capacity set to expand

Major expansions of ICS-ACI this summer are providing new capabilities and computational capacity to the system. These services will be available as early as August 2016.

With the launch of ACI 2.0, capacity will expand from 5,000 to 9,800 computational cores, and a further 3.2 petabytes (PB) of storage.

In spring 2016 the Research Computing and CyberInfrastructure (RCCI) High Performance Computing (HPC) working group conducted a faculty survey to develop recommendations for future ICS-ACI upgrades. Results from the survey and consultations with the RCCI executive committee, the HPC working group and the ICS coordinating committee provided valuable guidance in developing the configuration of ICS-ACI 3.0.

The deployment of ICS-ACI 3.0 makes available 6,000 additional cores (basic memory), and 14 graphics processing unit servers, as well as 10 PB of “near-line” storage designed for archival and large databases.

Expanded ICS-ACI services, such as user-configurable virtual computing and science gateways, are under development for launch in the upcoming academic year.

Lower computation costs for Penn State researchers

Since ICS-ACI’s inception, the provost’s office has supported ACI Funds for Research as part of the computational service models, substantially reducing the costs of ICS-ACI’s comprehensive services, which include computer hardware, systems administration, and support for a variety of software programs. In strong support of the ICS-ACI mission, these funds have been increased further, reducing the costs of services for Penn State researchers.

Services are available through subscription plans at approved published rates. Computer processing capacity is charged as “notional core-months” and storage capacity as “notional TB-months.” Penn State researchers entering into a plan to charge at least 12 months of computational services to non-ICS-ACI sources (such as external grants) receive ACI Funds for Research. In concert with the new ICS-ACI deployments, these funds have been substantially increased, lowering the effective service costs to these new rates, beginning Aug. 1:

$7/core/month — Standard Memory InfiniBand
$21/core/month — High Memory InfiniBand
$4/core/month — Basic Memory 10GBe
$6.67/TB/month — Active Storage
$1.25/TB/month — Nearline/Archive

Details of the three ICS-ACI access models — the Guaranteed-Response Time (or GReaT) model, the Try ICS-ACI model and the Explore model — are available at  

ICS-ACI services and support

Institute for CyberScience staff will be reaching out to all current clients in the next few weeks to discuss transitioning their service level agreements to the new rate model.

Researchers new to ICS-ACI who would like to know more about ICS-ACI or would like to discuss their computational needs should contact

The Institute for CyberScience also provides support for proposal development and grant writing. Individuals writing a proposal who are in need of support regarding computational resources, storage or services can contact ICS for assistance.

In the near future, detailed information about the new ICS-ACI capabilities and ICS-ACI service models will be available at

Last Updated April 21, 2017