[Beowulf] Definition of HPC

Ellis H. Wilson III ellis at cse.psu.edu
Thu Apr 18 09:36:57 PDT 2013


On 04/18/2013 12:21 PM, Nicholas M Glykos wrote:
> In the same way you wouldn't allow a general
> user to override the safety interlocks of an X-ray generator, you
> shouldn't allow root access to the general users of a shared computing
> facility.

Please describe what the grad student who pioneers new tech for X-ray 
generators should do, particularly if they are trying to develop new 
safety interlocks.

There is an appreciable community of graduate students and other types 
of researchers who are completely screwed by this limited vantage point. 
  This is why I consider even admins at universities "IT professionals." 
  Not because I want to piss them off when often they have grad degrees 
themselves, but because they are so "business-focused" and unwilling to 
accommodate the strange and often atypical requests that research 
demands that they are more comfortable with a given cluster sitting 
totally idle than letting a researcher use and learn from it, possibly 
at the risk of breaking it.

There needs to be, at the very least, a testbed in universities where 
students can receive and be able to use root on a limited set of 
machines.  Obviously I don't expect to be granted root on PSU's 
CyberStar cluster, which many other scientists at the university use for 
their own research, but I don't appreciate being marginalized just 
because I don't fall into this terribly limited viewpoint on what 
researchers can and cannot do.

This is exactly why I have to spend my own money (which is naturally 
limited as a grad student, and to the dismay of my wife) to run my own 
cluster and build my own storage at home, so I can do research without 
constantly having day or more delays in trying to flush a cache or do 
something similarly simple but requiring of root.

Best,

ellis


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