The trend in high performance computing is towards the use of Linux clusters. Concurrently, there has been a growing interest in the use of Linux clusters for scientific research at Berkeley Lab. For many, a cluster assembled from inexpensive commodity off-the-shelf hardware and open source software promises to be a cost effective way to obtain a high performance system.

Though many of the concepts are simple, it remains difficult for scientists to navigate a myriad of technologies in order to arrive at a cluster configuration that will meet their needs. Similarly, it is harder to efficiently manage a multi-node compute cluster than it is to do the same for a desktop workstation. Consequently, adopters of this technology have had to invest large amounts of effort to realize the full potential of their systems.

The Scientific Cluster Support program was developed to address the difficulties of obtaining and running a Linux cluster system so that PIs can have access to a dedicated resource that can provide the fast turnaround needed to faciliate scientific inquiry and development. The ultimate goal being to increase the overall use of scientific computing to Lab research projects, and to promote parallel computing within the Berkeley Lab community.