Making it More Secure: The Technical and Social Challenges of Expanding the Functionality of an Existing HPC Cluster to Meet University and Federal Data Security Requirements
Event Type
TimeTuesday, July 304pm - 4:30pm
LocationRegency AB
DescriptionAs High Performance Computing and Big Data analytics become more commonplace, we see researchers applying these tools in new areas. Indeed, in the past few years, we’ve seen the use of HPC in diverse areas such as archeology, public policy, and digital humanities. So it comes as no surprise that many life science researchers are now approaching us to use large scale computation and data analytics on their sensitive data sets, such as de-identified patient or genomics data, for the purposes of scientific inquiry. At UC Berkeley, this has become a pressing issue, as existing faculty need a place to do research on sensitive data. And we knew of at least one instance where it affected the campus’ ability to recruit a new faculty member. Clearly something had to be done!

An informal survey informed us that most other institutions built a new dedicated system to support their sensitive data research, including identified and HIPPA data. This paper is a case study of how we met this need by using a methodology to apply our campus cybersecurity framework, with the help of our institution’s cybersecurity team, to convert our traditional production HPC cluster, with over 2000 users across 100 research groups, and our VM service offering to also support this type of research. Our efforts show that is is not only possible, but also it is a practical alternative to take this approach instead of building an all new environment.