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Promoting Linux and High Performance Computing at QMUL

The High Performance Computing (HPC) team is keen to spread Linux and HPC knowledge at Queen Mary University of London. Keeping in mind our vision to support excellence in research, our valuable efforts have been fruitful this year. Our achievements include:

1. Online Sessions

On Friday 14th and 21st of June, we offered two online sessions named Introduction to Apocrita workshop for the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London. Most in the audience use Windows and MacOS Operating Systems daily, and applications such as Stata, Python, Matlab and R. We helped them to create a HPC account, and guided them to submit a job.

Fig. 1: A slide from the online session for School of Business Management

2. One-to-one sessions

Our HPC training is offered to researchers that face issues who have trouble handling large data sets, that would otherwise take days to run. This time, we are featuring and congratulating Dr. Dharani Yerrakalva, a Senior Clinical Research Fellow at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health.

She decided to run her simulation using Stata on the Apocrita HPC environment. On her laptop, the simulation usually takes 6 or 7 hours. Now, thanks to the use of Apocrita, she is happily running the same simulation in about 12 minutes.

Fig. 2: Dr. Yerrakalva using the HPC cluster to speed up her simulations

3. Presence at PGR meeting and networking

On October the 4th, 2023, we attended the PostGraduate Research (PGR) meetup and networking as part of the PGR Induction Week. Some members of our HPC team had the opportunity to explain the benefits of our HPC cluster, Apocrita. We gave out flyers that included links to tutorials in our stall located at the Library in Mile End. Having the chance to speak with some students, some of them had experiences with managing clusters in the UK, so that was so good to hear!

Fig. 3: Informing PGR meetup attendees about access to HPC computing resources

4. Workshop for BioInformatics MSc students

Some members of our HPC team ran a 3-hour HPC workshop based on the instructions developed at the HPC@QMUL website. We had an audience of 63 QMUL MSc. BioInformatics students. This group used mostly desktops that run Ubuntu Linux as the Operating System. We were glad that the majority of the group were able to complete the experience successfully and have subsequently run their genomics workloads on the cluster.

Fig. 4: Introduction to HPC session for MSc. BioInformatics students

5. The HPC Community

Whenever the HPC team are not supporting these events, we are solving HPC questions and issues reported to us via the support email address. Our leaders are very aware of the advantages of using Linux and HPC - they are supporting the idea of building a qualified technical HPC community at QMUL. The HPC engagement work has positively impacted students, as well as colleagues at QMUL. We also have a Slack channel for discussion and quick queries in addition to our regular support. If you join with a QMUL email address you will be automatically accepted, otherwise you will require an invite to join.

6. What is next?

We are hosting a talk in the People's Palace, Room PP2 on November 15th from 3:00p.m to 5:00p.m. The content is related to High Performance Computing, and useful ways of working on Apocrita.

You are very welcome to join us! Sign up at