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Welcome to the QMUL HPC blog

Comparison of Python Distributions on Apocrita

When it comes to picking a distribution, Python programmers are spoilt for choice. We're going to compare two of the most popular (CPython and Anaconda) and one that promises big performance improvements with relatively little hassle (Intel Distribution for Python).

Running Machine Learning workloads on Apocrita

In this tutorial we'll be showing you how to run a TensorFlow job using the GPU nodes on the Apocrita HPC cluster. We will expand upon the essentials provided on the QMUL HPC docs site, and provide more explanation of the process. We'll start with software installation before demonstrating a simple task and a more complex real-world example that you can adapt for your own jobs, along with tips on how to check if the GPU is being used.

Jigsaws with GIMP and Python

Jigsaw puzzles proved wildly popular during lockdown, but they weren't all done on the dining room table on rainy afternoons. The puzzle faced by researchers from the School of English and Drama (SED), lead by Dr Richard Coulton and in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, was to piece together a set of beautiful botanical watercolours brought back from China by the East India Company surgeon James Cuninghame. Cuninghame purchased these works, by an unknown local artist, in Xiamen in 1699. Sometime in the first half of the eighteenth century, perhaps because of their large size, these watercolours were cut up and glued into what you ungenerously, call a scrap book. The British Library has lovingly digitised this book in a series of publicly-available high resolution images funded by Oak Spring Garden Foundation, who also sponsored the current project.

Using Apocrita's GPUs with OpenMP

On Apocrita we can use OpenMP to execute code on GPU devices. This post looks at how to compile such programs and submit them to run on the GPU nodes. The post assumes that you have code, already developed and tested, which is ready for deployment, and that you have been granted access to the GPU nodes.

A guide to using Apocrita's scratch storage

The Apocrita scratch storage is a high performance storage system designed for short-term file storage, such as working data. We recently replaced the hardware that provides this service, and expanded the capacity from 250TB to around 450TB. This article will look at the recent changes, and suggest some best practices when using the scratch system.

Faster Fast Fourier Transforms in Python

A little while ago, we were approached by a researcher from the School of Mathematical Sciences with the classic request of "I'd like my code to run more quickly". They were simulating a ball bouncing around a billiard table over the course of millions of collisions and analysing patterns in the path of the ball (this type of problem is known generally as dynamical billiards).

Intel Parallel Studio XE 2020 update 4

The Intel Parallel Studio XE Cluster Edition 2020 update 4 suite is now installed and available on Apocrita. This release will be the last of the Parallel Studio releases we support, as Intel is moving to its oneAPI model of bundling.

Remote development on Apocrita with Visual Studio Code

Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is an open-source and lightweight text editor from Microsoft, and distinctly different from Visual Studio. In this short tutorial we aim to set up VS Code for remote interfacing and development on Apocrita, to edit, save, and manipulate our files and directories.