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Illinois Computes Adds GPUs to Radiant

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The National Center for Supercomputing Applications has installed additional graphics processing units (GPUs) to its internal cloud Radiant system which are now readily available to University of Illinois researchers through Illinois Computes.

Thanks to the generous funding commitment of $50 million from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and University of Illinois System, Illinois Computes is strengthening the computing and data storage resources available to campus researchers.

Facilitated by NCSA, Illinois Computes has made access to Jupyter Notebooks free of charge through its Illinois Computes Research Notebook (ICRN) program, bolstered the support services provided to users and continues to work with researchers across all domains in determining what additional resources are needed to elevate the work being done on the UIUC campus.

Increasing Radiant’s GPU capabilities is another step forward in that mission and specifically reinforces the ICRN project, which allows for an interactive interface for code, data and computational documents that’s perfect for those who are fresh to research computing or don’t require advanced levels of capacity.

We’re thrilled to support the early success of the Illinois Computes Research Notebooks program with these additional GPUs on Radiant. We’ve seen a lot of demand and very positive feedback from ICRN users thus far, and we want to take advantage of that momentum by expanding its availability and strengthening its integration with other computing systems.

Bill Gropp, NCSA Director

The implementation of additional GPU servers will better support artificial intelligence and simulation, enable analysis through visualization, improve the capability of ICRN and further increase the potential of what researchers can accomplish on Radiant.

Additionally, users can reserve virtual machines on Radiant through Illinois Computes to aid their research, whether it’s managing data, creating a development environment or one of the many other additional tasks Radiant allows.

“Demand for GPU resources is well documented across almost all research domains and many projects have requested more GPU resources be made available in Radiant,” said NCSA Technical Program Manager Jim Glasgow. “Illinois Computes is a major stakeholder in Radiant and will now be able to offer allocations on the new GPUs through the program.”

Many projects already utilize Radiant for persistent web- and data-hosting services, as well as code development and prototyping. The Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management and Sustainability (AIFARMS) Institute, for example, used Radiant’s GPU nodes to develop AI models for its research.

With these GPU enhancements, the plan is for Radiant to be able to facilitate even more of these types of endeavors with its greater capacity and capabilities.

“Radiant is a terrific and flexible resource for University of Illinois researchers and we’re excited to support even more users and their work with this GPU investment by Illinois Computes,” Gropp said.


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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