Category Archives: ARC News

ARC’s documentation has moved

Starting today, ARC's documentation is being migrated to a new site. The links in the menus above have been updated to reflect the move. Longer-term, the rest of ARC's website will be redesigned and simplified to provide higher-level information about ARC's mission and services.

The documentation is now based around ReadTheDocs and Sphinx, tools designed specifically for documentation. Leveraging these tools should make it more tractable to keep our documentation updated and complete. Moreover, since it is tracked with git, anyone can suggest changes like they would with many software packages.

Welcome Week Open Houses: Fall 2021

This year, Advanced Research Computing (ARC) is hosting Virtual Open House sessions during "welcome week", August 16-20th. At these times, ARC personnel will be available via Zoom to introduce faculty, students, and researchers to the resources and services provided by ARC.

Here is the schedule:

Date Time
Monday, August 16, 2021 1:30-2:00pm
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 11:00-11:30am
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 1:30-2:00pm
Wednesday, August 18, 2021 1:30-2:00pm
Thursday, August 19, 2021 11:00-11:30am
Thursday, August 19, 2021 1:30-2:00pm
Friday, August 20, 2021 1:30-2:00pm

The Zoom links for the sessions are available on ARC's calendar which also has ARC's Office Hours schedule for those needing additional information or support using ARC's systems.

Summer 2021 Resources for Research Computing

Jump start your research this summer!

ARC has assembled some resources and links here that we hope will be helpful and timely for those engaged in research computing with ARC this summer.

Continue reading below for details about:

  • Getting Started On TinkerCliffs and Infer
  • Creating Software Modules
  • ARC Office Hours
  • Training and Carpentries Workshops

GETTING STARTED ON TINKERCLIFFS AND INFER

Get started on these new clusters brought online in 2020-2021!

CREATING SOFTWARE MODULES

Want a software package that ARC doesn\'t offer? We just posted two new videos about how you can add custom software packages to the module system on ARC clusters:

More video tutorials are here: https://arc.vt.edu/video-tutorials/
Let us know if there are other videos that you\'d like to see: https://arc.vt.edu/help

ARC OFFICE HOURS

https://www.arc.vt.edu/office-hours
ARC is hosting virtual office hours each weekday via Zoom. Come join us to have a one-on-one dialog to get a broad overview of ARC, troubleshoot a tricky problem, or design your jobs. No registration is required and a calendar is posted above with the schedule and Zoom links.

TRAINING and CARPENTRIES WORKSHOPS

Training opportunities: https://profdev.tlos.vt.edu/?query=arc

We have expanded our Intro to ARC courses into a sequence of six 75 minutes courses to allow more time to dive into the some of the major aspects of using ARC systems at Virginia Tech:

Course Topics Date and Time
ARC1 Systems and Services Overview Wednesday, May 26 1:00-2:15
ARC2 Getting Connected Monday, June 1, 11:00-12:15
ARC3 Linux/BASH for HPC Monday, June 15, 1:00-2:15
ARC4 Running Jobs with SLURM Thursday, July 1, 9:00-10:15
ARC5 Scaling Up Monday, July 13, 10:00-11:15
ARC6 Software Monday, July 27, 11:00-12:15

The content for these courses will be tailored specifically to ARC\'s systems and follow in the spirit of these in-development HPC Carpentries lessons which you may find helpful as a self-guided introduction to understand and interact with current standard high-performance computing systems: https://carpentries-incubator.github.io/hpc-intro/

\"The Carpentries\" are an open content set of lessons that teach \"foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide.\" Virginia Tech has an actively growing community of certified instructors who conducts many workshops based on the carpentries lessons each year.

Some Software/Data Carpentries hosted by Virginia Tech:

  • Data Carpentry: Geospatial Data in R
  • Pre-fall Semester Carpentry courses in Unix, Git, Python, and R: August 2-13 (registration should open soon)

We\'re looking forward to working with you this summer!

Infer, New AI/ML GPU Cluster

ARC is proud to announce the release of a new cluster called Infer, which provides 18 Intel Skylake nodes each equipped with an Nvidia T4 GPU. The cluster’s name "Infer" alludes to the AI/ML inference capabilities of the T4 GPUs derived from the "tensor cores" on these devices. We think they will also be a great all-purpose resource for researchers who are making their first forays into GPU-enabled computations of any type. For more information about the T4 architecture on T4 architecture and performance relative to, e.g., V100 GPUs, see the following pages:

Cluster details and examples are provided on our Infer page. Users may login at infer1.arc.vt.edu and try it out at their earliest convenience. For now, software installs are mostly limited to CUDA and associated toolchains; if users have additional requests please, they may submit them via Help ticket.

New ARC flagship CPU cluster Tinkercliffs featured in VT news

Tinkercliffs, ARC's most recent cluster, is online and is making news owing to its scale (more than 300 nodes and almost 42,000 CPU cores) and some of the challenges the acquisition and commisioning faced in the COVID-19 era.

See the news article here:
https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2020/10/it-arc-tinkercliffs-supercomputer.html

ARC also has a webpage for introducing Tinkercliffs to the VT community and will continue to add more resources in the coming months:

https://arc.vt.edu/tinkercliffs/

As of early October, access to the cluster is provided though a consultation with an ARC computational scientist. You may reach out to one of the team directly or submit a ticket requesting a consultation via arc.vt.edu/support.

PhD student Paper @ IEEE VR 2020 Journal Track: Best Paper Finalist!

ARC's Visionarium Lab provides world-class support for Viriginia Tech researchers using Virtual and Mixed Reality Visualization. Here is a highlight from the Building and Construction Department taking advantage of the unique HyperCube instrument:

S. Hasanzadeh, N. F. Polys and J. M. De La Garza, "Presence, Mixed Reality, and Risk-Taking Behavior: A Study in Safety Interventions," in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics.
doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2020.2973055

HyperCube Experimental Conditions

Dr. Hasanzadeh will be joining Purdue's Civil Engineering Faculty this Fall! Congratulations!!

Abstract: Immersive environments have been successfully applied to a broad range of safety training in high-risk domains. However, very little research has used these systems to evaluate the risk-taking behavior of construction workers. In this study, we investigated the feasibility and usefulness of providing passive haptics in a mixed-reality environment to capture the risk-taking behavior of workers, identify at-risk workers, and propose injury-prevention interventions to counteract excessive risk-taking and risk-compensatory behavior. Within a mixed-reality environment in a CAVE-like display system, our subjects installed shingles on a (physical) sloped roof of a (virtual) two-story residential building on a morning in a suburban area. Through this controlled, withinsubject experimental design, we exposed each subject to three experimental conditions by manipulating the level of safety intervention. Workers' subjective reports, physiological signals, psychophysical responses, and reactionary behaviors were then considered as promising measures of Presence. The results showed that our mixed-reality environment was a suitable platform for triggering behavioral changes under different experimental conditions and for evaluating the risk perception and risk-taking behavior of workers in a risk-free setting. These results demonstrated the value of immersive technology to investigate natural human factors.


keywords: {Safety;Haptic interfaces;Training;Virtual environments;Physiology;Human factors;Mixed-reality;passive haptics;presence;human factors;risk-taking behavior;X3D;construction safety},
URL: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=8998361&isnumber=4359476

HyperCube views

3D Enterprise Workshop in Arlington, VA


Virginia Tech and the Web3D Consortium hosted a one-day workshop to provide presentations to Naval enterprise leaders on the use of collaborative Web-based #X3D visualization techniques by Government, Academia, and Industry practitioners. Virginia Tech's Advanced Research Computing (ARC) and Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) host with proven, innovative methods for data fusion and interactive 3D visualization.

Friday, 2019, December 6 (All day): Virginia Tech Executive Briefing Center, 900 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203. Falls Church room.

The workshop fostered networking and showcased current and emerging capabilities for enterprise-scale, networked geo-enabled 3D communications. Increasing shared understanding and technical coordination agility can be feasibly adapted to improve digital connectedness, accelerate consensus/decision making processes across systems engineering, advance planning conceptualization, and collaborative virtual rehearsal for ashore & afloat logistics activities. Building shared priorities adds value for everyone. Workshop participants discussed their reactions "around the room" together, sharing ideas about opportunities and potential synergies that can further the art of the possible to realize shared innovation.

The workshop showcased the benefits and strengths of using the Web3D Consortium’s Extensible 3D (X3D) open 3D standards for the WWW and included:

  • Demonstrations using 3D scanners, 3D software & 3D data storage, and processing proved compelling use cases for how the X3D standard can enable new realities of collaborative 3D visualization for you 
  • Overview of Web3D Standards and their value proposition in the ecology of 3D data representations and file formats 
  • Appreciation of the long-game of technology and information systems investments: born out with this open International Standard (ISO-IEC) and WWW community, including dozens of tools, pipelines, and engines.

Presentations from the workshop are available at the link below.

The Twitter thread includes highlight points, photos, screenshots and links for everyone.  

https://www.web3d.org/event/collaborative-3d-visualization-ashore-afloat-and-expeditionary-readiness-workshop

Immersive Agroforestry

Virginia Tech's Advanced Research Computing supports computational science in all its forms across the university. As the Division of IT, we support and collaborate with our Faculty and Extension Agents across the institution. For example, supporting world-class capabilities in the technologies for 3D capture, simulation, analysis, and interactive visualization of real places over time. The use of rich data layers, computational models, and 3D rendering have ushered in a new era of research, education, and training toward smart (and effective) Geodesign.

Fall 2019 Forestry Class inspects and discusses their design

Dr. John Munsell, Associate Professor and Forest Management Extension Specialist, teaches his FOR 4334 class with a strong project component. Students must apply the design principles and Best Management Practices (BMPs) they have learned to a real location/ site. This process involves many stakeholders and the effective communication of new spatial and agronomic concepts- a perfect opportunity for immersive, interactive 3D communication. The Fall 2019 student class project presentations were held in the HyperCube immersive projection environment in the Visionarium Lab. A video of his 2018 class in the Visionarium Lab can be seen here. Drs. Steven Kruger, Nicholas Polys, and Lance Arsenault collaborated on the data collection, processing, and immersive visualization.

The latest news includes the award of new $ 590,000 grant, led by Dr. Munsell. This award will further support our Land-Grant mission with a new age of impactful Education and Extension work for Appalachian Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs).

"The funding will continue federal support of the Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC), which is based at Virginia Tech and was initiated in 2015. The project receives funding from a variety of sources in addition to the federal government, and which to date totals $1.5 million including the latest grant via a program of the United States Department of Agriculture. " - https://news.mongabay.com/

Multiple Stakeholders participate in the simulation and discussion with traditional media and an immersive experience

This collaboration has crossed traditional academic boundaries with great success and impact. The team includes experts in GIS, Remote Sensing, Lidar, Drones, Hydrology, and 3D visualization. The VT collaboration was originally funded with Dr. Cully Hession and Peter Sforza by the ICAT SEAD program through the Fusality project. Partners with ARC in the collaboration include the Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) and the the Stream Lab (BSE) to visualize and monitor VT campus, Stroubles Creek, and the Catawba Sustainability Center.

See also:

  • Polys NF, Sforza P, Hession WC, Munsell J. Extensible experiences: fusality for stream and field. InProceedings of the 21st International Conference on Web3D Technology 2016 Jul 22 (pp. 179-180). ACM.
  • Polys N, Hotter J, Lanier M, Purcell L, Wolf J, Hession WC, Sforza P, Ivory JD. Finding frogs: using game-based learning to increase environmental awareness. InProceedings of the 22nd International Conference on 3D Web Technology 2017 Jun 5 (p. 10). ACM.
  • Polys N, Newcomb C, Schenk T, Skuzinski T, Dunay D. The value of 3D models and immersive technology in planning urban density. InProceedings of the 23rd International ACM Conference on 3D Web Technology 2018 Jun 20 (p. 13). ACM.