Pitt CRC encourages researchers to allocate grant dollars or startup funds to enable CRC to purchase hardware that becomes part of computing resources for the broader Pitt community, rather than buying and managing their own hardware or maintaining inefficient old hardware that becomes a maintenance burden. Faculty who do so are called investors. Investing benefits faculty in several ways.
- The hardware is professionally managed by the Network Operations Center at no charge, including state of the art networking and security practices.
- Investors receive a 5-year user allocation on CRC hardware, equivalent to the computational resources that they would have utilized had they purchased and housed hardware within their own group. [i] This allows them to use the capabilities of the full set of CRC resources, instead of the limited capabilities of their invested equipment.
- Investors receive higher priority on jobs submitted to CRC resources.
- Investors can take advantage of lower equipment prices negotiated by CRC based on our large volumes.
Even given these advantages, CRC has found that some faculty in a position to invest have been reluctant to do so because they wanted immediate access to computing resources when necessary. To address this need, CRC has revised the investor policy so that now investors can maintain exclusive access to up to 20 percent of the hardware purchased with their funds.
The benefit to the University is that the pool of resources available to the community increases, security is enhanced, and the energy consumed by the invested equipment is likely to be much lower than if the invested equipment had been hosted in individual labs.
[i] The investor will be guaranteed access to 85 percent of the equivalent in service units (SUs) of the theoretical total CPU hours from the contributed funds for 5 years (the expected lifetime of the system). Each year, the faculty member will be given a new allocation of 1/5 of the 5-year allocation. Up to half of any unused annual allocation can be carried forward into the next year. The 85 percent allocation is based on the assumption that the investor’s group could not utilize their own hardware at more than 85 percent capacity 24 hours a day for the 5-year period.