The University's high performance computing (HPC) system is referred to as Quest. Housed at the University's secure Data Center facilities, it offers a large shared computational facility.
Designed as a general use cluster, Quest supports the majority of HPC applications at Northwestern and is built to accommodate a wide variety of codes with great economy.
University researchers and educators, including postdoctoral researchers are eligible to apply for an account to request an allocation of time on Quest as computational investigators (CI's) for the purpose of research or education.
Information on the types of allocations supported by Quest, application deadlines, and required documentation can be found in the Allocation Submission and Review Guidelines.
Quest FactsRanked among the TOP500 list of the fastest computers world wide, Quest's architecture includes:
- Vendor: IBM iDataPlex
- Parallel Filesystem: IBM GPFS
- DDN DCS 9900 storage system: 100 TB available for projects on Quest
- Interconnect: Infiniband DDR
- Number of Nodes: 504 (4032 cores)
- Processor: Intel Nehalem E5520, 64-bit, 8M Cache, 2.26 GHz, 5.86 GT/s Intel® QPI, 1066Mhz FSB
- Memory: Per node (Per Core) 48GB's (6GB's), Type: DDR3 1066 MHz
- Interconnect: Infiniband QDR
- Number of Nodes: 252 (3024 cores)
- Processor: Intel Westmere X5650, 64-bit, 12MB Cache, 2.66 Ghz, 6.4 GT/s Intel® QPI, 1333Mhz FSB
- Memory: Per node (Per Core) 48GB's (4GB's), Type: DDR3 1333 MHz
- Interconnect: Infiniband FDR10
- Number of Nodes: 68 (1088 cores)
- Processor: Intel Sandybridge E2670, 64-bit, 20MB Cache, 2.6 Ghz, 2 × 8.0 GT/s Intel® QPI, 1600MHz FSB
- Memory: Per node (Per Core) 64 GB's (4 GB's), Type: DDR3 1600 MHz
Request AccessEligible researchers can apply for an allocation of time on Quest. All applications are reviewed by the high performance computing Application and Allocation Committee through a quarterly review process. Upon approval, the CI is contacted directly to confirm application status. The time frame for review decisions is dependent upon the type of allocation requested.
Authorized users are granted access to Quest and given a 50GB home directory. There are two types of access:
Basic Access to Quest enables users to have a maximum of 32 jobs in queue at any one time and is restricted to the processor limits of each queue. Allocations are made for a six-month term.
CI’s may re-apply for a given project allocation a maximum of once per year. Additionally, CI's may apply for multiple unique project allocations.
Full Access to Quest guarantees access to purchased resources within 4 hours of scheduling a job. The annual processor allocation resulting from the CI’s contribution of funds is guaranteed for a period of five years and may be divided among group members at the discretion of the CI.
To request Full Access to Quest, eligible researchers must submit The Letter of Intent to Become a Full Access User of Quest, found in Appendix A of Purchase of High Performance Computing (HPC) Central Compute Resources by Northwestern Researchers , include funding documentation, and be signed by NUIT, The Office of the Provost, and the Office for Research.
Basic Access is centrally provided at no cost to approved users of Quest.
Full Access use of hardware varies by resource option and need. The list of equipment options and cost is described in the Purchase of High Performance Computing (HPC) Central Compute Resources by Northwestern Researchers document.
The Quest cluster is evaluated twice each fiscal year―in summer (July) and again in winter (January).
Training and Support
The technical research computing staff at NUIT provides consultation on new applications and technologies related to HPC and research computing. NUIT also offers regular research workshops and training sessions on the use of Quest, Vault, and other computing resources.
- How to Use Quest
- Apply for a Quest Account
- Allocation Review Cycles
- Full Access to Quest
- Allocation Submission and Review Guidelines
- Installed Applications
- HPC Procedural Guidelines
- Attend a Workshop
- HPC Central Compute Resources
- Application and Allocation Committee
- Research Data Center Facilities
- High Performance Research Computing Brochure
- Purchase of High Performance Computing (HPC) Central Compute Resources by Northwestern Researchers
NUIT Academic & Research Technologies
Last Updated: 15 April 2013