Research Computing Desktops: Demystifying research computing for non-Linux users
Event Type
Research Computing Analysis
TimeWednesday, July 314pm - 4:30pm
LocationRegency AB
DescriptionMany members of the current generation of students and researchers are accustomed to
intuitive computing devices and never had to learn how to use command-line based
systems, which comprise the majority of high-performance
computing environments in use. In the 2013-14 time frame, both Indiana University and Purdue university separately launched virtual desktop front-ends for their high performance computing clusters with the aim of offering an easier on-ramp to new users. In the last five years we iterated on and refined these approaches,
and we now have over two thousand annual active users combined. Over 75% of those
users say that the desktop services are either moderately or
extremely important for their ability to use HPC resources. In this paper, we share our
experience bootstrapping this new service framework, bringing in the end-users, dealing
with runaway success, and making this service a sustainable
offering. This paper offers a comprehensive picture of the driving motivations for desktops at each institution,
reasons users like desktops, and ways of getting started.