Project will give neuroscientists broadened access to high-performance computing.
The University of California, San Diego, and Yale University have been awarded a collaborative grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a neuroscience gateway (NSG) that gives neuroscientists broadened access to essential high-performance computing (HPC) and storage resources.
Under the UC San Diego grant, the university’s San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and its Neuroscience Information Framework project will create a software infrastructure that can be used to make neuroscience-specific compute and software tools conveniently available to students and investigators.
The project, called “Advanced Biological Informatics Development: Building A Community Resource for Neuroscientists,” will offer compute time to neuroscience users through a streamlined process using a simple Web portal-based environment for uploading models, retrieving and storing data, and specifying the parameters for running high-performance computing (HPC)-based neuronal simulations, including querying the status and completion of various jobs. The NSG portal, which is under development, will be available at www.nsgportal.org.
“This gateway will allow neuroscientists to use HPC resources without having to have detailed knowledge about the implementation of the codes on HPC resources, or know all the complexities of how supercomputers work,” said SDSC researcher Amit Majumdar, principal investigator for the collaborative award.
The project will enable members of the neuroscience community, including scientists, professors, and students, to use large HPC resources for research and instruction and to run leading simulation and analysis packages to perform tasks such as computational modeling of cells and large neural networks. This will benefit all students and researchers, especially those who lack access to HPC resources and are thus at a significant disadvantage compared to the very few who have it, by removing the barriers for progress for many including historically underrepresented groups.
“Many of these investigators and students would otherwise find it very difficult, if not impossible, to implement and study models that press or exceed the storage and computing speed capabilities that are under their direct control,” said Majumdar, who directs the scientific computing applications group at SDSC and is also part of UC San Diego’s Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences.