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The newsletter of the SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza and the Servicios Informáticos N. 5 - March 2023

Upgrade of HTCondor@IAC facility

HTCondor (https://research.cs.wisc.edu/htcondor/) is a High Throughput Computing (HTC) system with a simple but powerful u nderlying idea: to use idle machines to perform computations while their owners are away. At the IAC it has been running uninterruptedly since 2004, allowing researchers to make use of millions of CPU hours that otherwise would have been wasted, and all of it at basically no cost.

During the last weeks we have started a modernization process of our HTCondor facility. This has involved, among other things:

  • moving the HTCondor manager to a new server (aptly named "pasa")
  • upgrading the software to the latest Long Term Support (LTS) version (10.0)
  • reorganizing the internal HTCondor documentation (and deleting obsolete content)

Currently HTCondor@IAC comprises 40 nodes (the manager plus 39 worker nodes), for a total number of 1092 executing cores, which any IAC researcher can use without the need for submitting any application form.

This modernization process is quite involved and not finished yet, but we are trying to get everything up-to-date as soon as possible. For the time being, we have set up a temporary page at "http://pasa which points to all HTCondor@IAC resources, such as: The User's Manual, Usage Statistics, Contact info, etc.

IAC-Zulip, our new communication tool you'll love! (or your money back)

Zulip (https://zulip.com/) is a chat for distributed teams that combines the immediacy of real-time chat with an email threading model, and we have set an IAC organization with it at: https://iac-es.zulipchat.com/

While there are many other communication/chat tools out there (Slack, Discord, Mattermost, Rocket.Chat, Gitter, etc.), we have chosen Zulip because it has a number of very interesting features (open-source; free Cloud Plan for Research; messages never expire, etc.). If you want to see how Zulip is different and how it can be useful for research, see https://zulip.com/why-zulip/ and https://zulip.com/for/research/).

To try it, just register (you can always unsubscribe later if you don't like it). For security, you need to register with your @iac.es email address, but after registering you can change it in your profile information.

Once you register, check the following message, which will give you a basic introduction to IAC-Zulip: https://tinyurl.com/2knk8bmn

Python environments for tensorflow and pytorch

Those of you doing Machine Learning know that installing the right environment with all the dependencies to make use of the available GPUs is not always trivial (even less so if you are using a burro where you don't have administrative privileges). To make your life easier, save you from the burden of having to install and maintain such packages yourselves, and prevent problems deriving from different people having their own different sets or versions of python packages, in deimos we have prepared an environment with everything ready to use PyTorch and TensorFlow. You can try it by simply doing:

module use /scratch/SIE/modulefiles
module load ml_py38

This will put you in an environment with the following versions installed for the main packages: Python: 3.8.16, IPython: 8.10.0, pytorch: 1.13.1, tensorflow: 2.9.3, numpy: 1.24.2, matplotlib: 3.7.0, pandas: 1.5.3

If you think this can be useful, go ahead and try it. And let us know if you need extra packages or different versions installed.

Supercomputing usage statistics, 2nd semester 2022

HTCondor usage has decreased in the second semester of 2022 down to about 330000 hours, with most of the CPU hours consumed in July and August. On average, this corresponds to an occupation of 74 slots, about 8% of all nine hundred slots.

In contrast, the LaPalma3 supercomputer registers a substantial increase in usage by IAC researchers, with more than 10 million hours in the second semester of 2022 (almost twice the CPU hours consumed in the first semester), while RES users have consumed 2.8 million hours, about half those consumed in the first semester. The latest data about the LaPalma3 usage can be found at the Supercomputing statistics webpage.

What has seen a dramatic decline in usage is the TeideHPC supercomputer, with a meager 53000 CPU hours consumed in the second semester of 2022, less than 3% of the total hours available to IAC users.

As for diva, almost 500000 CPU hours have been used, which is about 60% of the total computing capability. This is a slight increase over the 55% usage of the first semester of 2022.

Results of the Phishing Awareness Service by RedIRIS

According to the report presented by RedIRIS, after the email awareness campaign that took place in 2023, the IAC has achieved a below-average result compared to other centers that participated in the same campaign.

Three different simulations were carried out, one about the Income Tax campaign, another about a supposed vulnerability of the Chrome browser, and another about a complaint in the HR department. In total, 1570 email attacks were sent, of which 38.47% were opened and 19.54% achieved the goal of deceiving the user.

The IAC formalizes the contract to strengthen submarine digital connectivity

The (IAC) has formalized with Telefónica de España the contract to carry out the project "Redundancy of the Optical Maritime Network of the Iris Network". The project is planned to last two years.

The IAC manages the Canary Observatories, which comprise the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (ORM) on La Palma, and the Teide Observatory (OT) on Tenerife, which house telescopes and instruments from some 60 institutions belonging to over 20 countries. The IAC headquarter and the observatories are linked by the high performance optical network supplied RedIRIS: strengthening the connectivity between them will help to attract international investments for new and more advanced telescopes at the IAC, among them the European Solar Telescope (EST) and the New Robotic Telescope (NRT).

Click here for the full text.

The IAC is participating in the Quantum Spain project

The IAC, a member of the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES), is participating in the Quantum Spain project, which is part of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (ENIA) and its main objective is to promote a national quantum computing ecosystem driven by training and specialization in this technology. In line with this objective, the IAC is training an engineer, Jose Carlos Ruiz Luque (Carlos Luque), in this technology to provide support to users accessing a quantum computer or one of the quantum simulators offered by the ecosystem.

Please click here for further details on this project.

SIE de Investigación y Enseñanza :: N. 5 - March 2023 - Contact: