Thomas Hauser and CU Research Computing

Our fearless leader joins me in the studio to talk about moving to the US, the genesis of CU Research Computing, and our upcoming HPC resource, 'Summit.'

Thomas Hauser grew up in Munich, Germany, and earned his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. at the University of Technology there. “My wife and I are adventurers,” he says, and when she was offered a job in Atlanta, Georgia, the pair moved to the United States. They moved again when Hauser was offered a postdoc position at the University of Kentucky, where Hauser began working with clusters when he received a grant from NASA to build them for the university. He was then hired by Utah State University as a faculty member and engineer, where he creating the Center for High Performance Computing before being hired as an associate director of research computing at Northwestern.

Explaining his move to Boulder, Hauser said, “I grew up skiing and hiking, and Boulder is a great place for doing these things.” He was pleasantly surprised to discover the large tennis community in Boulder, in which he and his wife have been ranked fifth in mixed doubles. Upon coming to the University of Colorado, Boulder, Hauser built the Research Computing group from the ground up and is very happy with the team he has assembled. He reports to both the Office of Information Technology and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, and says, “I think the dual relationship helps us by giving us a foot in both worlds.”

Because Research Computing offers both data and computing resources, its user base is very diverse, including disciplines from engineering to music. Faculty, staff and students are eligible to use these resources; classes such as the scientific visualization class, which Hauser teaches, help students develop an interest in computing and the way it can help them answer questions within their disciplines. Students can obtain a startup allocation to explore the system before finding a faculty member to mentor them for serious computation.

For the past two years, Hauser has been working to obtain the Summit supercomputer, which will be deployed this summer. While writing the grant proposal, he discovered that CSU was working on the same grant. He says, “We connected and realized it made more sense to create one collaborative proposal.” The National Science Foundation approved the grant proposal, providing funding for this joint venture. Hauser is the chair of the Rocky Mountain Advanced Computing Consortium, which includes computing groups in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah and New Mexico. 10% of cycles on the new supercomputer will be allocated to the smaller schools in this consortium, enabling them to learn supercomputing with more support and less bureaucracy than they would find at a national computing center. Researchers within the University of Colorado, Boulder, will also benefit from Summit’s additional power and the balance it strikes between data and computing.

Publication date: 
Wed, 16 Mar 2016 17:00 -0600
Host: (Jonathon Anderson)