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Welcome the Smithsonian Institution High Performance Computing Wiki.

This Wiki holds information for the use of HPC resources at the Smithsonian.

Central to the SI HPC resources is the Smithsonian Institution High Performance Cluster (SI/HPC), named Hydra.

  • High performance computing is administered by the Office of Research Computing.
  • The OCIO data center in Herndon, VA houses the high performance computing cluster, Hydra.

What's New

  • September 6, 2019 - Hydra has been upgraded as follows:
    1. OS upgrade CentOS 6.2 to CentOS 7.6  (software),
    2. Cluster management change from Rocks 6.2 to Bright Cluster Management 8.2  (software),
    3. Migrated to LDAP for user account management,
    4. Changed version of GridEngine from SGE to UGE 8.6.6 (aka UNIVA, software),
    5. Migrated and installed 81 nodes (3,960 CPUs) to “Hydra-5” and retired oldest nodes (hardware)
    6. Installed a new 1.5PB high performance parallel file system (GPFS aka Spectrum Scale - hardware)
    7. Migrated 500TB NetApp (/home /data /pool) and 950TB near-line disk storage (aka NAS, /store)
    8. Moved /scratch  from NetApp to GPFS
  • A lot has changed, although we tried to keep the system backward compatible except for important details

(warning) (warning) (warning) Read the Hydra-5 Migration Notes (warning) (warning) (warning)

  • Reminders
    • All public disks (/pool and /scratch only) are scrubbed once a week. 

    • Reasonable requests to restore scrubbed files must be sent no later than the following Friday, by 5pm.

    • If  you have any questions or encounter any problems, email:

       SI-HPC-Admin@si.edufor sys-admin related issues,
      SI-HPC@si.edufor Bioinformatics/Genomics questions,
      hpc@cfa.harvard.edufor SAO users who need help.
  • Past news with more details can be found at the What's New - Hydra-4 page.


  • References to Hydra (publications, proposals, etc) should mention the cluster as:
the Smithsonian Institution High Performance Cluster (SI/HPC).

Last updated   SGK/MPK.

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