ICS@PSU: Institute for CyberScience


The specifications and capabilities of ICS-ACI, Penn State's high-performance research cloud.

Our Location

The ICS-ACI administrative staff resides at the Computer Building on Penn State’s University Park Campus. The ICS-ACI cyberinfrastructure is also located at the University Park Campus within a state-of-the-art data center for Penn State research and academic computing resources. The data center provides 2.4MW of redundant power and 12,000 sq ft of environmentally controlled IT space. Approximately 50% of the facility’s power and equipment resources are dedicated to support the ICS-ACI system infrastructure.

Our Compute Resources: About ICS-ACI Cyberinfrastructure

ICS-ACI operates over 23,000 Basic, Standard and High Memory cores to support Penn State research. The server architecture is dual 10- or 12-core Xeon E5-2680 processors for Basic and Standard memory configurations, and quad 10-core Xeon E7-4830 processors for High Memory. The Basic, Standard, and High-memory configurations are 128 GB, 256 GB, and 1 TB respectively.

Operating System

The computing environment is operated by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.


ICS-ACI provides a High Performance Storage Archive (ACI-HPSA) capability that supports users’ processing and research needs for data storage. The ACI-HPSA infrastructure includes GPFS, CNFS, and CIFS clustered files systems that interconnect across high speed Ethernet, Infiniband, and Fibre Channel network fabrics. The ACI-HPSA architecture consists of:

  1. Active storage pools that provide access to Home, Work, Group, and Scratch directories;
  2. Near-line storage pools that provide a long-term and archive storage repository for files that are not needed real-time to support ongoing research efforts;
  3. Data management nodes that enable users to move data between the storage pools. Users have access to data that is stored in the Active storage pools and the Near-line storage pools without requiring administrative support.


The ICS-ACI network architecture utilizes high performance Ethernet fabric, Infiniband, and Fibre Channel network protocols to complement specific data processing and storage capabilities.

The high-performance Ethernet network is built on Brocade VCS Fabric Technology and supports connectivity for all processing nodes that are within the ICS-ACI system boundary. A VCS “fabric” provides a flexible interconnecting network between individual switches, creating a virtual cluster of physical switches. The current ICS-ACI VCS network fabric includes:

  • SonicWall SuperMassive 9400 firewall appliance that provides 20 Gbps, low latency IPsec intrusion prevention
  • Brocade VDX 8770-8 Enterprise-level switches that are configured with 10/40/100 Gb network link capacity
  • Brocade VDX 6740 switches that provide 10 Gb link capacity
  • Dell N2024 switches for host iDRAC (integrated DELL Remote Access Controller) remote management over Gb link capacity

ICS-ACI uses Mellanox® FDR (Fourteen Data Rate) Infiniband interconnects for high performance compute and storage network connectivity. FDR Infiniband provides high-bandwidth, low-latency connections for all Standard and High-memory-processor nodes and their associated storage systems.

ACI-i (Interactive) Systems

ACI-i provides a set of interactive cores that are configured as common GUI interactive systems. ACI-i is intended for users who want to test their code before running their jobs on ACI-b, users who have small jobs that don’t require the compute resources on ACI-b, and for pre- and post-processing.

ACI-b (Batch) System

ACI-b is configured to support traditional “batch processing” jobs. Users may submit jobs to a variety of queues. Users with specified core allocations are guaranteed start times and job priority. Users may burst up to four times their core allocation within ACI-b. Exceptions may be made upon special request and should be submitted to iASK@ics.psu.edu. There is no wall time limit on guaranteed or burst jobs provided the user has core allocation time remaining. Users without a core allocation can submit their jobs to the ACI-b Open Queue, which provides computing resources based on system availability.

Penn State Institute for CyberScience

Help us build the future. Contact ICS at Penn State.

  • email: ics@psu.edu
  • phone: ICS-ACI Support (i-ASK Center): 814-865-4275 | General Inquiries: 814-867-1467

June 2018

  • No events sheduled for June.