The Spear cluster is a collection of Linux servers and compute nodes intended to provide an interactive experience for high performance computing, simulation, data analysis, visualization and interactive use of powerful command line and graphical software tools including MATLAB, VMD and others.

What is Spear?

The Spear cluster is a collection of general-purpose Linux servers connected to our high-performance network and storage systems. Users can interact with Spear servers through the CLI shell or through X11-based graphical applications. These systems offer an excellent alternative to running software interactively on the HPC cluster submission nodes. Spear nodes mount both the HPC Lustre and Panasas file systems, which puts your datasets close to high end computing resources.  They contain almost all of the same software as the HPC cluster, which makes it a great environment for building and testing jobs interactively before running them on the HPC.

What is it used for?

Spear nodes are useful for running applications interactively, such as MATLAB or VMD. They are also useful for interactively manipulating large datasets on our Panasas or Lustre filesystems. Since Spear servers have direct access to these storage systems, there is no need to copy data in order to use it. Spear servers are useful for collaborating on workflows when technical challenges related to the installation and maintenance of systems and application software make it impractical to manage on a local workstation.

Who has access?

Access to our general-purpose Spear servers is free for all FSU faculty accounts and students/staff with faculty sponsors. This includes access to some licensed software, such as MATLAB. For those research groups which require more resources or would like their own private managed Spear nodes, RCC offers buy-in options for dedicated Spear Resources.

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