High-Performance Computing in Higher Education: Trends During COVID-19

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Members-only webinar and white paper provides insights from recent survey results

By Ben Fineman, Internet2 Director, Industry Engagement

Internet2 partnered with the Center for Digital Education to conduct a study on the current state of High-Performance Computing (HPC) during the time of COVID-19. Results were presented on May 13, 2021 in a members-only webinar to explore the results. 

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Internet2 members may request this white paper which highlights data from the survey and follow-up conversations with subject matter experts. It also details what is happening in higher education HPC today and predicts how the landscape might change after COVID-19.

High-performance computing (HPC) programs are helping researchers in higher education institutions across the U.S. solve complicated problems in a variety of areas, including science, engineering, mathematics, and business.

Researchers working for universities are generating billions of files and petabytes of data every day. This data often carries the progress of incredibly important initiatives: climate change, cancer research and more.

HPC looks different at every institution. The approach refers to the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers higher performance than one could get out of a typical desktop computer or workstation.

Increasingly, these efforts are enabled by advances in cloud computing, sophisticated networks, and security and identity management. The HPC landscape is not without its challenges. Many schools lack resources or the expertise necessary to use the technology.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant uncertainty for higher education budgets, money is still available from major funding bodies like the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health, to name a few. However, these grants are highly competitive.

Institutions Face Doing More with Less

For this reason, many HPC practitioners have found that now more than ever, their institutions must do more with less and strive for a new kind of operational efficiency. Working in partnership with Internet2, the Center for Digital Education (CDE) surveyed 130 higher education high-performance computing specialists and practitioners to explore HPC trends related to cloud services, advanced networking, and security and identity management.’