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HPC Partnership

HPC Partnership

The High Performance Computing Partnership is comprised of Iowa State University faculty who need high performance computing resources for research purposes.

The HPC Partnership's mission is to provide high-capacity, high performance computational facilities and to keep them updated through active cost-sharing between the university, IT Services, colleges and departments, the faculty, and through supporting grants. The combination of bright, motivated research faculty and expert HPC training and consulting support in conjunction with the HPC facilities enables successful accomplishment of this mission.


Membership in the HPC Partnership is most beneficial to those researchers who periodically need access to a large number of processors. John Hauptman, Professor of Physics said "I did a month of computations in a day and sent the results to collaborators at CERN, Fermilab, and Russia."

HPC Partnership members develop usage policies for existing machines, write bid specifications for new machines, and select new machines. Faculty interested in joining the HPC Partnership should contact Professor Glenn Luecke, or 515-294-6659.


The computational facilities in the HPC Partnership are constantly changing. Supporting research computing requires not only providing adequate CPU time but also adequate memory, storage and fast MPI communication between compute nodes using the latest InfiniBand technology. Under the direction of Professor Glenn Luecke, the HPC Group (a part of Information Technology Services) is responsible for keeping track of current state-of-the-art technology in HPC and making recommendations to faculty regarding software and hardware purchases.

The HPC Group provides support for faculty and their students using the machines purchased. The HPC Group is also responsible for the ongoing operation of the machines purchased including hardware and software problem isolation and fixing.

More detailed information on the HPC Partnership facilities is available on the HPC public site.


The HPC Partnership computational facilities support approximately $3.5 million per year in research grants from the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other granting organizations. The following are just a few examples of the research being done on the HPC Partnership equipment:

  • Scott Beckman, Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering says, "The HPC resources provided by the ISU HPC Partnership have been critical for my research program. Our quantum scale calculations require both high-speed networking and a large allocation of memory per CPU core. The hardware available on the LightningSMP machine has allowed us to scale our calculations to sizes sufficient to perform engineering-scale modeling. In addition to the hardware, the system administration and support has been extremely helpful. The system is well managed and highly reliable. The administration has helped us as we prepare the software we need to advance our research."
  • Eric Cochran, Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering says, "As an experienced user of modern high performance computing facilities, I am thrilled to say that the HPC Partnership's new Opteron/InfiniBand HTX cluster computer is setting a new standard that other facilities will be hard-pressed to match! Because of the power of this machine I will be able to routinely conduct my research using complex 3-dimensional simulations whereas my competitors can only afford to work with 1- and 2-dimensional simulations. ISU's investment in this powerful computer will bring great rewards to my research!"
  • Rodney Fox, Professor and Herbert L. Stiles Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering is using high performance computing to support over $1 million in external grants. Current funded research projects include full PDF simulations of the planar-jet reactor experiments in his laboratory; multiphase flow simulations of fluidized bed reactors used for nuclear reactor particle coating; CFD modeling of high-density polyethylene fluidized bed reactors; and multiscale simulations of aggregating nanoparticles. These three-dimensional, time-dependent flow simulations require significant computing resources such as those available at the ISU HPC facility.
  • Dorian Garrick, Professor in Animal Science says, "Recent developments in DNA technologies have led to a wealth of genotypic information in addition to pedigree and performance information widely used in research and industry applications of animal breeding and genetics. Simultaneous comparison of alternative statistical models comprising tens of thousands of features for many different performance attributes measured in pigs, chickens, beef and dairy cattle has created demand for parallel processing. Bayesian methods employing Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods are theoretically appealing, but numerically intensive. Further, for biological and economic reasons, ranking of selection candidates often must be achieved immediately upon receipt of performance information. Providing over 100 research and industry collaborators with access to our leading edge statistical developments over the last two years would have been impossible without access to the HPC facility."
  • Ross Morrow, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, with a Courtesy Appointment in Economics, designs numerical methods for large-scale differentiated product market models that include complex, non-smooth energy policy options in the transportation sector. Iowa State's HPC facilities enable extensive testing of alternative numerical methods to ensure the most reliable and efficient methods are being deployed to study such problems, as well as large-scale computations with thousands of products and complex demand models that require accurate simulation of high-dimensional integrals.