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Big Data analytics using Spark, Hadoop and SparkR can be conducted on the NSF-XSEDE Bridges system at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. This system should be in production through June 30, 2021 (unless it is extended).

In order to access this supercomputer, students, researchers, faculty and staff members are required to attain an allocation of XSEDE Service Units (SUs) on Bridges. Most also request an allocation on Pylon, which is the storage system that is closely associated with Bridges. 

There are three official allocation types:

Startup Allocations - Requesting a startup allocation is a great way to begin using big data analytics tools.  Appropriate uses for Startup Allocations include:

  • Application development by researchers and research teams
  • Benchmarking, evaluation and experimentation on the various resources
  • Testing existing data analytics workflows

Education Allocations - This flavor of Service Unit Allocation is reserved for academic courses or training activities that have specific start and end dates.  Examples of appropriate uses for Education Allocations include:

  • Conducting a class that utilizes Spark/Hadoop/SparkR
  • Conducting a training session or an introductory seminar on Big Data Analytics.

Faculty that wish to conduct a course that utilizes Spark, Hadoop or SparkR can request Service Unit allocations through the Education Allocation Requests process outlined here.  To use XSEDE Bridges in your research, a Research Allocation of Service Units must be applied for.  More information on Research Allocations can be found on the XSEDE website. 

Research Allocations - Once users have progressed beyond the startup phase and gained insight into their workflow, researchers can officially request a Research Allocation.  Research requests are accepted and reviewed quarterly by the XSEDE Resource Allocations Committee (XRAC).

Access to all XSEDE platforms is conducted through the XSEDE single sign-on hub.  Click here for information on signing up and accessing Bridges. If you have questions, please contact ITS-Research Services: research-computing@uiowa.edu.


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