Client Services is the entry point for our user community. We provide the connections to the services that OSC offers its clients, and we do that in a number of ways. We manage the administrative functions associated with research done here. We also provide the technical support through a recently expanded 24/7 help desk. Our staff takes service requests in and processes those to solve those problems. We’ll bring in the right subject-matter experts from around the Ohio Supercomputer Center to assist with each specific issue.
We also provide facilitation services. We’ll sit down and talk to a researcher or research group about what their research goals are and how computing fits in and help connect them to the right resources here to accomplish their work. So whether the work is high performance computing or high-throughput computing or data-intensive work, we can point them to the right services and resources or bring in engineers from our interface group to work with a project. We consider the subject matter, workflow, and compute and data requirements to make recommendations on how to move forward.
Support from OSC Client Services is ongoing. If somebody changes tack a little bit in their research or they hit a wall, we continue that facilitation and engagement. Sometimes issues are larger than a technical problem and, even if a client is experienced, if they’re taking on a new aspect of science that they haven’t done before on our systems or perhaps haven’t done at all, we provide guidance on how to proceed.
Through the integration of a new training and education lead on staff, OSC will have a dedicated person to curate and guide our training programs to help clients build core competencies that they need to be effective while using our services. We also plan to continue the connection with XSEDE’s national training programs as well.
As we’ve been working more with university CIOs and IT departments, we’re trying to build an infrastructure that more directly connects with researchers. We are spinning up a new program with campus facilitators. This will involve people on campuses who know our services very well who will provide local technical and facilitation support and know who to contact at OSC to bring in additional help. This makes OSC training a little bit easier for someone who’s not in Columbus. We will also ensure that we’re connected with faculty around the state of Ohio who are teaching computational science.
My team is here to enable your science and, in whatever way that we can help, we want to. We’re here to help even if you don’t know if you need OSC. If you’re having problems, but you don’t know much about supercomputing, that’s a perfect time to talk with us. We may have something that can help you even if you don’t consider your issue a ‘big supercomputing problem.’
We’re seeing a lot of growth in areas that are not of our traditional user base, such as business and economics. I think it’s interesting because it shows people are finding ways to leverage these services that are available to them and exploring domains that they would have thought were out of reach before. Talking about these areas helps get other people thinking about how they can grow their science.
BUILDING A SUPERCOMPUTING FOUNDATION
Our on-site introduction workshop for OSC is Computing Services to Accelerate Research and Innovation. If you use computers in your research, you might be able to leverage OSC, and this workshop will begin that conversation. It provides an engagement opportunity so we can answer your questions locally, face-to-face.
We are also working to identify the core competencies of a basic, intermediate or advanced HPC user and creating a curriculum for each skill level. So, if you come to OSC and you don’t know anything about supercomputing, we can tell you what you need to know to be able to log on and do something productive. If you want to jump to the next step and do a little bit more, we’ll provide materials for you. We’re building curriculum so we have a broad set of materials available for our user community.
CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION RESOURCES
We provide resources for classroom instruction as well. If you’re an instructor who wants to use the supercomputer services in the classroom environment, we can provide user accounts for your students and a limited amount of resource units for the duration of the semester. We’ll provide you with priority reservations on the system to ensure acceptable turnaround time during lab periods, enabling faster feedback.
Another service we provide is faculty recruitment. We can participate in the conversations that you have with faculty candidates and talk about the services we provide, as Ohio’s shared supercomputing model could be different than what outside candidates might be used to. Simply contact OSC Help to begin the process.
RALPH REGULA SCHOOL OF COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE
This collaborative, virtual program is a defined curriculum that leads to a minor in computational science at participating institutions. As we engage with computational-science instructors around the state, we keep these materials up to date and strengthen the collaboration among universities when it comes to computational-science education.
We are developing a sustainable funding model to ensure our summer programs have a long future. We are working with faculty who are submitting National Science Foundation career-award proposals to fill their broader engagement requirement. We participate on these grants so they can help provide funding and expand the program to support kids.
We are also actively working to engage and provide better outreach to underserved youth. We’re working to secure additional funding that will provide summer program scholarships to cover the cost of housing. We are working with Ohio State to provide coaching services in these communities to help students write better applications for the program since it is a blind review process. For Summer Institute, the program for high school students, we went from 16 students last year to 20 this year, and will continue to pursue opportunities to expand the program.
The focus for the Young Women’s Summer Institute is to develop middle school girls’ interest in computers, math, science and engineering. We do a lot of work to bring in faculty and graduate students from different disciplines to talk to attendees about careers in these fields. There’s a lot of enthusiasm from faculty members and those graduate students who are really interested in participating to help expand this program as well.