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Project Profile

HOLL-I (Highly Optimized Logical Learning Instrument) is a new service at NCSA that offers public access to an extreme scale machine-learning capability, to complement other available resources at NCSA such as Delta and HAL.

Leveraging the power of a Cerebras CS-2 Wafer Scale Engine, and with access to NCSA’s shared project storage on TAIGA, HOLL-I is capable of training large machine-learning models in short order. HOLL-I’s unique architecture offers higher-speed processing than anything currently available on campus. The CS-2 Wafer Scale Engine is comparable to 850K GPU cores.

HOLL-I’s AI-specific targeting provides an economic choice for obtaining specialist compute resources without an allocation on or in addition to other systems like HAL or Delta. The service is operated by NCSA on a cost-recovery basis with access open to all University staff and researchers, NCSA Industry Partners and any other NCSA collaborators. Allocations will be reserved via the NCSA XRAS service.

  • Consider HOLL-I if your AI model doesn’t fit into existing systems on campus
  • Consider HOLL-I if your AI models are taking an excessive amount of time or processing power
  • Consider HOLL-I if your machine-learning models require analysis of large volume of data

HOLL-I Offers

  • 1 CS-2 Accelerator
  • 9 Dell R6515 job prep and i/o nodes
    • 64 AMD Epyc cores
    • 256 GB DDR4 ram
    • 4TB local NVME
  • 1 Arista 100Gbe switch with 64 ports
  • 192TB local ZFS storage for scratch 
  • Access to TAIGA shared NCSA LUSTRE project space
  • 40 GB ram on accelerator, loading/dumping at 120GB/s

Fee Overview

Fees below are per-minute costs for University of Illinois users and their collaborators that have a university funding account number (CFOP) or for Industry Partner use. Allocation/access cannot be shorter than three months with time purchased to be used within a three-month period. User decisions to terminate allocation/access must be provided one month prior to termination date. Costs include access to the full cluster of job support nodes and the CS-2 accelerator. Jobs are scheduled via a batch scheduler to ensure fair access to the unique resources across all node-types. Rates are reviewed and recalculated biennially to ensure superior infrastructure and services. Billing will occur monthly for the prior month’s allocation/use.

Internal University User CS-2 COMPUTING

Full use of CS-2 and support nodes for U of I faculty and affiliates: $5.44/minute (10-minute minimum per job)

External NCSA Industry Program Partner CS-2 COMPUTING

Full use of CS-2 and support nodes for Industry Partners: $7.34/minute (10-minute minimum)

Contact NCSA for rates applied to account numbers residing outside the University of Illinois and not part of the Industry Partner Program.

Access to the entire CS-2 accelerator with the quantity of users dictated by the Principal Investigator. Billed monthly for prior month’s use. For consistent billing, users have the option to pay for a set threshold of CS-2 minutes per month, regardless of whether they use all the CS-2 minutes they anticipated.


1 TB per project on TAIGA will be provided free with an allocation for project usage. Additional project space will be available for purchase on TAIGA. Archival storage is also available through NCSA’s Granite service.

Per TAIGA storage rate: Additionally, access to the HOLL-I system provides 5TB of scratch space per project and 5GB of home space per user at no cost with access to any shared data on TAIGA with a max of 10 users per project as determined by the principal investigator. Additional Project data is expected to be purchased and stored on TAIGA


Per project as needed: NCSA provides base consulting for standard system usage and access as part of an allocation. The vendor, Cerebras, provides users with reference code libraries and some code transition support. Additionally, NCSA’s CAII will provide support, trainings and seminars on machine-learning in general and advanced use of the CS-2.

NCSA provides expertise in software development, analytics and computation for a fee that covers staff time and materials. 

Contact NCSA to discuss additional project needs and availability of staff for more advanced needs.


  • Security administration (e.g. software security vetting, external audits, compliance with University Security and Privacy Directive)
  • Training and onboarding (e.g. management of onboarding protocols, access to tech training materials)
  • System and security documentation (e.g. for proposals, contracts, agreements and reporting)
  • Standard system administration (e.g. installs, updates, access management, infrastructure maintenance and testing)

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