Common among all ACI-REF members is a community approach to computational research known as condominium computing. A computer condominium is an open source model for providing high-powered computer resources to users in the research and academic arenas. Just as condominiums in the real estate market are optimized through time-sharing, computer condominiums provide users with shares of large cluster-based computer resources. And just as real estate condominiums include turnkey management and maintenance services, computer condominiums are fully administered and supported by their host IT organizations.
Empowering Would-Be Computational Researchers
The ACI-REF consortium includes six institutions that embrace this condominium computing model. We are dedicated to forging a nationwide alliance of educators to empower local campus researchers to be more effective users of advanced cyberinfrastructure (ACI). In particular, we seek to work with the “long tail” of ACI users—those scholars and faculty members who traditionally have not benefited from the power of massively scaled cluster computing but who recognize that their research requires access to more compute power than can be provided by their desktop machines.
To do so, the consortium is building a coordinated network of ACI-REFs, campus champions whose mission is to leverage existing resources and “make a difference” in supporting their local campus researchers, while also unifying member institutions under common objectives.
Aligned with strategies and models for advancing the nation’s research capabilities, the ACI-REFs will be computational scientists with broad backgrounds in computer instruction, uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between researchers and campus IT.