New “Great Lakes” cluster to replace Flux

glowing lights and cables from server rack


Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS) is starting the process of creating a new, campus-wide computing cluster, “Great Lakes,” that will serve the broad needs of researchers across the university. Over time, Great Lakes will replace Flux, the shared research computing cluster that currently serves over 300 research projects and 2,500 active users. The existing Flux cluster is approximately eight years old, although many of the individual nodes are newer.

One of the benefits of replacing the cluster is to create a more homogeneous platform. “Researchers will see improved performance, flexibility and reliability associated with newly purchased hardware, as well as changes in policies that will result in greater efficiencies and ease of use,” said Brock Palen, director of ARC-TS.

ARC-TS is in the process of procuring the cluster and expects minimal interruption to ongoing research. A “beta” cluster will be available to help researchers learn the new system before Great Lakes is deployed in the first half of 2019. The Great Lakes cluster will be available to all researchers on campus for simulation, modeling, machine learning, data science, genomics, and more. The platform will provide a balanced combination of computing power, I/O performance, storage capability, and accelerators.

Based on extensive input from faculty and other stakeholders across campus, the new Great Lakes cluster will be designed to deliver similar services and capabilities as Flux, including the ability to accommodate faculty purchases of hardware, access to GPUs and large-memory nodes, and improved support for emerging uses such as machine learning and genomics. The cluster will consist of approximately 20,000 cores. For more information, contact, and see, where updates to the project will be posted.

Author: Dan Meisler, Advanced Research Computing

Dan is the communications manager for Advanced Research Computing. You can reach him at