Clemson Computing Information Technology

Palmetto 2 goes live to elevate Clemson research and computing


On Monday, May 13, 2024, the high-performance computing (HPC) cluster known as Palmetto is going online with its second iteration. Palmetto 2 enables researchers to do their jobs more efficiently. The University continues to strategically prioritize Palmetto 2, positioning Clemson as a leader in the HPC space. 

The Research Computing and Data group in CCIT supports the infrastructure required to process large quantities of data and the storage needed by faculty and students to do their research. Jill Gemmill, associate vice president for Research Computing and Data, explained how HPC helps. 

“Many fields such as genomics, climate science, and astrophysics generate massive amounts of data that require substantial computational resources to process and analyze. HPC allows researchers to perform highly complex simulations that would be impossible or impractical with less powerful computers, from modeling molecular structures and water systems to economic models,” Gemmill said. “Tasks that might take months or even years on standard computers can be completed in days or hours on HPC systems, speeding up the pace of scientific discovery.” 

While Palmetto has allowed Clemson to be competitive across industry and collegiate HPC spaces, Palmetto 2 takes this work to a new level with the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities.

Over 60 new Dell nodes were installed and brought online earlier this year in the Information Technology Center that houses Palmetto 2.
Photo by Bailey Troutman.

Scott Groel, executive director of Research Computing and Data infrastructure, said Palmetto 2 brings high level advancements.

“Palmetto 2 brings in new self-service group management of owner resources, high-powered, purpose-built compute resources for AI/ML totaling around 50 H100 GPUs, and new job performance monitoring and metrics tools,” Groel said. “These new tools and resources will empower users to utilize shared infrastructure more effectively and efficiently.” 

In other words, for those not in technical space, Palmetto 2 has higher capacity and efficiency, more power, more sustainable machines and resources that move the needle forward for research. 

Beyond Clemson, Palmetto 2 also makes it possible for researchers to collaborate nationally and internationally, as it supports high-speed connectivity and advanced data sharing capabilities for research projects between different universities and institutions. This allows for a more integrated global research environment and is one way Clemson can continue improving lives within and beyond South Carolina.

Jill Gemmill is grateful for the University’s continued support and investment ensuring Clemson has the technical means necessary for more research, transformation, and even better student experiences. 

“The University investment in modern HPC compute equipment and storage means that Clemson faculty and students have a competitive edge in research, innovation and more time to do even more science,” said Gemmill. “Students who have exposure to these technologies will be competitively positioned for high-demand roles, and ultimately, help us offer the number one student experience and be on our way towards doubling research by 2035.” 

For those interested in learning more about Palmetto 2 or HPC resources at Clemson, visit the CCIT Research page. RCD also offers training programs during the summer for faculty, staff, and students who want to learn HPC and Palmetto 2 specific skills. Their training schedule is found on the RCD Documentation website.

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