The machine Mio.mines.edu represents a new concept in computing at CSM. Mio is a shared resource funded in part by the CSM Administration and in part by money from individual researchers. Mio came on line March 2010. Initially was a relatively small cluster dedicated to a single group of research projects. We expect that Mio will quickly grow in to a supercomputing class machine.


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Supercomputing has become an important part of engineering and scientific research. Most current generation supercomputers are actually comprised of a collection of compute nodes with each node containing several compute cores. Such machines are often called clusters. A typical cluster supercomputer might have hundreds to thousands of compute cores. The individual compute cores work on the same computation simultaneously. The compute nodes or cores communicate with each other via a high speed network. The nodes are normally housed in a rack which also contains the infrastructure such as the communications hardware, management nodes, network connections, and power supplies.

The Mio concept is simple. Mines funds provide the infrastructure discussed above and individual professors purchase compute nodes that are added to the cluster. The professors own their nodes, that is, they have exclusive access when they need them. When they are not in use by the owners the nodes are available for use by others.

Mio will be managed by the High Performance Computing group at Mines.

The advantage of Mio for the professors is that they:

  • Don’t need to manage resources
  • Have full access to their resource
  • Have access to other professor’s resources
  • Get the infrastructure provided by the school for free. This includes the Infiniband network which will greatly improve the scalability of multinode applications.

What’s in a name?

The name “Mio” is a play on words. It is a Spanish translation of the word “mine” as in belongs to me, not the hole in the ground. The phrase “The computer is mine.” can be translated as “El ordenador es mío.”

Financial Considerations

The Mines Administration has purchased the initial infrastructure for Mio at a cost of roughly $19,000. Professors can purchase nodes at a cost of $5,800. These nodes contain high end processors and are fully populated with 6 Gbytes of memory per core or 48 Gbytes per node. It may be possible to purchase additional nodes with less memory. Dropping down to 3 Gbytes per core would reduce the cost per node by about $800.

Initial Configuration

The hardware vendor for Mio is Penguin Computing, http://www.penguincomputing.com. Initially, Mio will consist of a Relion 2701 Head Node, 2 Relion 1702 Twin Compute Nodes (each Relion 1702 contains 2 nodes in a 1u enclosure), Infiniband and Ethernet connectivity, power supplies and a single enclosure rack. Each of the compute nodes will contain two Intel 5570 Nehalem processors running at 2.93 GHz. Each Intel 5570 Nehalem processor contains 4 cores. There will be a total of 4 nodes x 2 processors per node x 4 cores per processor = 32 cores. Mio will have 6 Gbytes per core. These nodes contain high end processors and are fully populated with memory. For a complete machine description click on the Configuration link.

Current Compute Node Configuration (Updated 12/1/14):

NexlinkHPC Two Node 1U

Line ItemItem Description

1U Two Node Server
11U NexlinkD12 Server with 1280W 80+ PSU (2 Nodes Per 1U)1
2Intel 8 Core Xeon E5 2680 2.7GHz S20114
38GB DDR3 1600MHz Memory Reg ECC SR 1.5V (64GB per node)16
42TB Enterprise Class HDD SATA 7200RPM2
5Intel QDR InfiniBand HCA2
6Standard 3 Year Return to Depot Warranty, 3 Year Advanced Cross-ship1

Expansion Capability

After the first Mio racks were filled with nodes, additional racks were purchased along with power supplies and networking. While there is no “reasonable” hard limit on the expandability of Mio, if it is greatly expanded, consideration will be needed for power and cooling.

Purchasing Nodes is No Longer Available (Updated 12/8/20)

Mio is approaching end-of-life in the file system that supports the platform. Other purchase options may become available. The purchase of a node you are gaining several advantages. You will not need to manage the node. You have the infrastructure provided by the school. This includes the Infiniband network which will greatly increase the scalability of your multinode applications. You will gain the option of using other peoples nodes when they are not in use. To purchase a node or get pricing information open a Mines Help Center ticket.