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Priority Membership

A majority of the Newton Program computational and storage systems have been financed through the direct purchase of hardware and software by individual research groups and academic departments. When a group provides funds through a buy-in agreement, those funds are used to expand or upgrade a computational resource (compute cluster or storage system), and the research group is granted a high priority on the full resource. The granted priority level is proportional to the amount of funds that were provided relative to the total amount of funds used in procuring the compute resource. This priority level is generally higher than would be available to the researcher if the funds had been used for a stand-alone private computing system.

HPC Cluster Priority

Most Newton buy-in funds are used for the general-purpose, distributed-memory compute cluster to purchase new compute nodes or to upgrade existing compute nodes. The research groups who provided funds for the cluster are then given priority access to an equitable share of the compute nodes that make up the cluster. These nodes can be used for unlimited time in the long queues. When using the short and medium queues, the research groups can use more compute nodes than their funds directly financed.

To determine an appropriate buy-in amount, a research group will first need to determine the number of compute nodes or amount of CPU cores and RAM that will be used on a regular basis. With this information, the Newton Program administration can help to determine the buy-in amount that will result in this level of priority. The ratio of buy-in amount to priority access level varies over time with the cost of hardware and other factors, but a first-level approximation is $200 per CPU core.

There is no minimum or maximum buy-in amount. The buy-in increment can be any value as well. However if the funds are derived from an external agency, additional rules may apply. For federally sponsored projects, the buy-in amount must be in increments of the compute node cost (about $6000), and the funds must be earmarked for "large equipment." Other funding sources generally do not have these requirements.

Once the buy-in level is determined, this funding amount along with the researcher's account number should be included on the Newton Buy-in Agreement Document and sent to Newton_HPC_help@utk.edu.

Dedicated Systems

Sometimes research projects require computational capabilities that are not currently available through the Newton HPC Program. In these cases, we are often able to make special arrangements to purchase and manage the required hardware within the Newton computational environment. In most cases, the hardware is purchased directly by the research group and managed as a part of the Newton compute clusters. The research group is then granted dedicated (non-shared) access to the system. The system configuration must be approved by the OIT and Newton Program leadership before any hardware is purchased. Contact Newton_HPC_help@utk.edu if interested.

Storage Priority

The Newton Program can grant priority storage access on a roughly at-cost basis. For most storage systems, this is about $100 per TB per year. Backup of this data is $4 per TB per month plus an initial software license fee. Contact Newton_HPC_help@utk.edu for more information.