High throughput computing(HTC) is an efficient and effective way to solve many research problems – by breaking the problems up into numerous small, independent sub-tasks and distributing work across a grid of many different computers. HTC is a complement to supercomputing and is particularly well suited to applications in which there is much data to be analyzed but little need for communication – such as data mining, molecular docking, etc.
ITS Research Computing Support provides a wide variety of software and computing systems with different capabilities for different research problems. The HTC service supplements our Linux-based High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities to provide researchers with a Windows-based research computing environment. With technology advancement, desktop PCs nowadays are powerful enough for general research computing use. This HTC service makes use of the communal Windows PCs in the Chi Wah Learning Commons and the PC facilities in central classrooms. In total, there are over 200 PC nodes in this platform, each equipped with up to 4 CPU cores and 8 GB of RAM. HTCondor, which is a job management system developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is used to distribute research computing workload on these 200 PCs during the time when the Chi Wah Learning Commons and the central classrooms are closed. The mechanism is to take spare computing power from idle machines and put it to good use for researches.