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Demand Skyrockets for Illinois Computes Research Notebooks

One of the core tenants of Illinois Computes is listening to the feedback of campus researchers and responding accordingly by providing the appropriate computing and data storage resources, technical expertise and support services that fulfill the program’s cyberinfrastructure strategy and satisfy the needs of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign research community.

The Illinois Computes Research Notebooks (ICRN) project launched in 2023, continuing the program mission to democratize research computing and make computing resources and support more accessible to campus through the open-source software Jupyter Notebooks. ICRN takes care of the hosting and maintenance of this Jupyter Notebooks service, removing those responsibilities from the researchers and allowing them to focus completely on their work.

Data scientists, software developers, professors, students and more have already utilized this free opportunity in their work and demand has grown so much that Illinois Computes has invested additional resources to support the project, including a handful of additional Nvidia A100 graphics processing units (GPUs).

“The demand for GPUs alone shows how much the service has grown over time,” said Senior Technical Program Manager Christopher Heller. “The service started with one Nvidia A100 GPU and has now grown to a total of six available for researchers.”

Heller said ICRN has received excellent buy-in from the research community and the number of users continues to climb quickly, highlighting the emphatic growth of the project in just one year.

Our initial goal was simple: To provide a flexible computing environment for the entire campus. Thanks to the hard work of our team, we have achieved over 560 unique users so far, with up to 66 active users per day – and this number is growing rapidly. This is certainly not the end. We have an aggressive roadmap to make this resource even more useful and to add numerous linkages to other existing compute and storage resources at NCSA and on campus.

Christopher Heller, Senior Technical Program Manager

As ICRN further develops and its user base grows, Illinois Computes is committed to providing continued investment for this in-demand service.

“We’re very happy to see the excitement University of Illinois researchers have had for the Illinois Computes Research Notebooks opportunity,” said NCSA Director Bill Gropp. “The increasing demand for access to Jupyter Notebooks shows that we’re on the right path in making it easier to access computing and data. This is one of many resources Illinois Computes is providing our campus research community. We look forward to expanding upon those and finding additional ways to elevate the innovative work being done at the University of Illinois.”


Illinois Computes offers computing and data storage resources, technical expertise and support services to researchers from all domains across the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus for free. Through the campus-funded program, NCSA will learn what additional assets are needed to fulfill the computing demands of the university and adjust the cyberinfrastructure strategy while continuing to make access to systems, interdisciplinary and technical knowledge, and support infrastructure easy to obtain. Illinois Computes removes barriers for all Illinois researchers – especially those typically underserved – to access NCSA’s growing assemblage of research computing tools and world-class staff, furthering their innovative and novel work while ensuring NCSA is a leader in the global research community.

Check out the Illinois Computes website for more information or to get involved.

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