Blue Collar Computing FAQs

  1. What is Blue Collar Computing (BCC)?
  2. What are OSC’s HPC resources?
  3. What type of software packages can I use at OSC?
  4. What types of expertise are available from staff?
  5. Would there be any software/hardware requirements at our site?
  6. What data security is provided for electronically transferring proprietary information?
  7. Is OSC networked with other HPC centers?
  8. What is the standard operating procedure to work with OSC?
  9. Is there any funding available to mitigate costs?
  10. Is industry training offered as part of BCC?
  11. What are some examples of industries being helped by BCC?
  12. Who can I contact for more information?

What is Blue Collar Computing?

Blue Collar Computing (BCC) provides high performance computing (HPC) solutions for industrial partners. Established in 2004, the Blue Collar Computing program assists Ohio’s businesses in the application of computational science to product development, design, and management.  Over the past two years, OSC has worked with a number of businesses and manufacturing organizations to apply our expertise and infrastructure in solving challenging computational problems in science and engineering. 

Large companies with simulation and modeling applications can use the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) infrastructure to supplement their own resources at peak times.  Small- and medium-sized companies that do not currently have the time, money or expertise to invest in HPC resources can tape the power of OSC’s integrated HPC solutions.

What are OSC’s HPC resources?

The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) provides access to high performance computing (HPC) systems, including (in part):

  1. IBM 1350 "Glenn" cluster using AMD Opteron processors
  2. BALE visualization cluster using AMD Athlon processors
  3. Mass Storage Environment with 500 TB of disk storage

A full list of systems and software can be found at http://www.osc.edu/supercomputing/  

What type of software packages can I use at OSC?

OSC typically does not run commercial versions of HPC software packages. If your company’s use of OSC’s HPC systems requires the use of commercial software, please contact OSC to discuss the possible options.

OSC has successfully worked with commercial clients and independent software vendors to enable commercial use. For example, staff have set up virtual private networks (VPNs) between OSC and commercial client sites.  Via the VPN, a client can use their existing software on jobs submitted to OSC systems. As an alternative, commercial clients can have their software installed on-site for use with an OSC system.

OSC experts have experience with a variety of software: staff maintain more than 30 software applications and provide access to more than 70 different software packages.  A list of applications compatible with OSC systems can be found at http://www.osc.edu/supercomputing/software.

What types of expertise are available from staff?

OSC provides expertise in supercomputing applications, networking, data communications, utility computing node operation, cluster installation, and training.  OSC has experts and support staff with experience in a wide spectrum of subject areas, including: mechanical engineering, chemistry, visualization, data storage, and bioinformatics. Additionally, experts from around the state who collaborate with OSC can, as deemed necessary, provide insight into specific challenges.

Would there be any software/hardware requirements at our site?

OSC provides HPC solutions via easy-to-use Web portals. In addition, a secure terminal emulator (e.g, Putty) and a secure file transfer program (e.g, WinSCP) can be used to access traditional HPC applications. 

What data security is provided for electronically transferring proprietary information?

Clients will use their existing Internet connection to access OSC resources.  All connectivity to OSC systems is via a virtual private network (VPN) or the secure shell protocol (SSH) across standard ports. Traffic between OSC and client sites is both encrypted and authenticated. Examples are described at http://www.osc.edu/supercomputing/computing/

Is OSC networked with other HPC centers?

Yes, OSC is connected via OSCnet and Internet2 to national HPC centers such as  those sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy.

What is the standard operating procedure to work with OSC?

OSC’s standard operating procedure is to work on a per-contract basis. OSC uses a fee for service contract arrangement to provide both computing cycles and staff expertise.  A custom statement of work is tailored for each individual situation. In the past, we have also provided larger industrial clients with open purchase orders (POs) for more flexibility in scheduling and billing.

Is there any funding available to mitigate costs?

Possible funding sources include the Ohio Department of Development and other national initiatives. In addition, OSC regularly partners with commercial companies in Ohio’s economic development programs.

Is industry training offered as part of BCC?

OSC’s Ralph Regula School of Computational Science is developing certificate programs for workforce development linked to Blue Collar Computing.

Certificate programs:

  1. Focus on skills needed by employers
  2. Stackable certificates build computational science expertise
  3. “Stackable” certificates starting with basic skills and working up to advanced skills with funding from Board of Regents.
  4. Level 1 Certificates in the works include:
    1. Modeling and Simulation
    2. Parallel computing
    3. Visualization
    4. Programming and algorithms for computational scientists
  5. Level 2 Certificates
    1. More specialized, focused on specific computational expertise

In addition, 13 Ohio colleges and universities are involved in the Ralph Regula School minor-degree computational science program, including Capital University, Central State University, Columbus State Community College, Kent State University, Miami University,  The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Owens Community College, Sinclair Community College, Stark State Community College, University of Cincinnati, Wittenberg University and Wright State University.

What are some examples of industries being helped by BCC?

Recent accomplishments include:

  • Working with the Edison Welding Institute (EWI), OSC introduced the E-Weld Predictor portal, an easy-to-use web based interface that allows welding engineers to simulate “virtual” welds, thus reducing the time and material wasted with physical prototypes.  Since its launch in September 2007, over 115 Edison Welding Institute member companies have tested pipe welds via the web portal.
  • Collaborating with PolymerOhio, we are developing the ePolymer portal for the polymers and plastics industry. Polymer Ohio regularly hosts Emerging Technology Forums that promote a dialogue between technology developers (such as academia and research organizations) and technology implementers (such as processors and materials companies).  On September 11, 2007, OSC partnered with Polymer Ohio to present “Productivity – The Key to Profitability”, an ETF event.
  • AP Solutions, Inc, is a minority-owned small business that provides designs and analysis of gas turbine engines components that supports the propulsion and power generation industries.  As part of the BCC program, OSC is hosting HPC jobs for AP Solutions. 

Who can I contact for more information?

For additional information, please contact Alan Chalker at alanc@osc.edu or (614) 247-8672.