University of Iowa

ITS to expand research computing services

High-performance computing (HPC) supports research that would not otherwise be possible at the University of Iowa – in some cases condensing the time required to run simulations from years to days. With the UI’s first HPC cluster, Helium, operating near capacity, Information Technology Services is now building a second cluster, Neon, that will be be open to researchers by the year’s end.

In just three years, the Helium system grew to 400 computers with 4,000 processing cores and more than 500 terabytes of data storage. It has provided over 26 million hours of compute time to campus researchers, serving over 300 users from 60 different departments. Neon will be similar, but will leverage new technology and allow new investors to buy into the system. Interest has been strong.

In addition to the HPC expansion, ITS is launching a Research Data Storage Service (RDSS) to provide a shared, accessible 3-terabyte network drive space that’s large enough to accommodate the majority of research needs. The service is targeted at the 80% of research groups that have 20% of the data.

This service will improve compliance with institutional backup and data protection policies and will reduce the risk of data loss from storing data on external hard drives and other similar media. It will also be large enough to allow most users to consolidate their data into a single location.

ITS was grateful to receive central funding to help provide these services to UI researchers. For more information on research computing resources, visit