Join the Triton Shared Computing Cluster!

Program in a nutshell

  • Researchers use equipment purchase funds to buy compute servers (i.e. nodes) that will be operated as part of the cluster. An additional infrastructure fee covers the purchase of shared components (racks, network switches, cables, etc.).
  • Participating researchers may then have dedicated use of their purchased nodes, or they may run larger computing jobs by sharing idle nodes owned by other researchers.1 The main benefit is access to a much larger cluster than would typically be available to a single lab.
  • Researchers also pay an annual operations fee for each of their purchased nodes. This fee covers labor to maintain the system, utilities, software licenses, etc. Currently, the UCSD Administration substantially subsidizes this fee for UCSD researchers. Other campus administrations may wish to consider subsidizing the fee for their researchers.
  • Researchers may run jobs in a glean queue2 which does not count against their annual allocation of computing time.
  • Participation in the program runs nominally for three years, which is the duration of the equipment warranty. Researchers may leave their nodes in the system for a fourth year, though equipment failing during this period may not be repaired.
  • Researchers may remove and take possession of their nodes at any time; once equipment is removed from the cluster it may not be returned.3

Program Features and Benefits

  • Access to a much larger cluster than most labs could typically afford
  • Professionally administered – no need to have postdocs or grad students maintain your computing system
  • Housed in a secure, climate-controlled, energy-efficient data center
  • High-performance hardware with latest-generation Intel server processors and high-bandwidth, low-latency Infiniband network for maximum parallel computing performance
  • Many installed software packages, or install your own
  • Access to a community of researchers and users that can share tips and information

Current Status

  • We presently have 30 participating groups contributing 205 nodes with a total of 424 users.
  • Participating researchers/labs are working in the fields of engineering, chemistry, genomics, oceanography, physics, and many others.

Participation/Purchase Opportunity

  • As of January 2015, TSCC has selected a new vendor, AdvancedHPC, to provide updated technology for the cluster. In conjunction with selecting the new vendor, we have received very attractive pricing on new purchases. As a result, we are seeking researchers who wish to join the program or increase their level of participation.
  • This is an ideal opportunity for faculty with startup packages or equipment purchase funds to gain access to a significant computing resource at attractive pricing.

Pricing and Fees

Hardware purchase prices and fees
Single compute node with 24 cores, 2.5GHz, 64GB main memory, and Infiniband network $6,237
Upgrade memory to 128GB $640
Add QDR Infiniband networking $650
Infrastructure Fee (covers racks, switches, cables, etc.) $939
IB Infrastructure Fee (covers additional IB switches) $200
Annual Operations Fee
(per purchased node)4
UCSD Participants $495
Other UC Campus Participants $1,805

System Specifications

System configuration

2RU rack mount chassis with 4 compute nodes per chassis, 1600 Watt redundant power supplies

Compute node

  • Dual Intel Xeon E5-2680v3 (“Haswell”) processors, 12-cores and 120 Watts per processor 64GB of DDR4 2133 ECC server memory
  • Single port 10GbE network interface or upgrade to QDR Infiniband for low-latency parallel computing


Three years, next business day on-site service


  1. Researchers receive an annual allocation of computing time equivalent to running their purchased nodes continuously. Running larger jobs on shared nodes would draw down the allocation proportionately faster.
  2. Glean queue jobs are subject to immediate preemption so should be short jobs or capable of being restarted.
  3. Researchers purchasing a number of nodes that is not a multiple of four may need to purchase a separate carrier chassis for their nodes in the event they wish to remove the nodes and make them operational elsewhere.
  4. Currently, the UCSD IDI program subsidizes a substantial portion of the annual operating fee for UCSD researchers. Researchers participating from other UC campuses may wish to see if their administration would be willing to provide a subsidy as well.

Interested? Contact at the San Diego Supercomputer Center.