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12/1/2017 11:08 AM

Extended facility for the student datacenter at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

The students’ datacenter at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences (KAMK) will have an extension built as the Bull hybrid system, previously used by CSC (IT Center for Science, Datacenter) is transferred to the student datacenter. As it is possible to major in datacenter solutions within Information Systems studies at Kajaani University of Applied Sciences, the students have their own datacenter purely for teaching and study purposes.

With the aid of the Tolkku project funded by the Regional Council of Kainuu, existing learning environments are being updated, including the infrastructure of KAMK’s datacenter. Such funding will also enable Kajaani University of Applied Sciences to carry out the necessary alterations in the infrastructure of this facility so that the technology can be updated where needed and CSC’s old accelerated computing GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) can be connected to the environment.
- KAMK lecturers JOONA TOLONEN and TIMO PARTANEN stress that this equipment is of great value to the students because it not only provides them with the opportunity to learn device maintenance techniques but also datacenter service provision through project-based problem solving in cooperation with companies. It is also intended that the learning environment will be used in projects for Bachelor’s and other theses and for practical training purposes.
At KAMK, one intended use of this equipment will be games graphics computing, which is already carried out at an accelerated speed there, compared to regular computers. Another opening includes datamining experiments for eSports research. KAMK students are also interested in artificial intelligence research, which is targeted at so called autonomous or self-driving vehicles, among other research focuses.
Bull is a prototype supercomputer with Intel® Xeon Phi(tm) coprocessors and Nvidia® Tesla(tm) K40 graphics processors that was sourced for CSC during the PRACE project in 2014. In due course, this acquisition made the testing and comparison of competing process technologies possible. For example, it has been used to study computing energy efficiency, micro-magnetics, audiovisual media data processing, particle physics and molecular dynamics. The system is cooled using direct liquid cooling.

However, the Bull system no longer fulfills modern scientific computing performance standards cost efficiently enough. When CSC renovated its GPU computing environment in October 2017, the dated Bull system was decommissioned in one piece. CSC’s computing environment will be completely modernized with the support of the Data Management and Computing Development Program funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The renovation process will commence towards the end of 2018.

- It is wonderful that the life of an otherwise obsolete computing system can be extended by using it for teaching purposes, states CSC’s Solutions for Research Director, PEKKA LEHTOVUORI.

CSC cooperates closely with universities and supports their activities. During the spring semester of 2017, KAMK’s datacenter was connected to the national university and research network Funet, which is maintained by CSC. In addition, CSC and KAMK have together organized data analytics and artificial intelligence training in the form of Hackathon events, among others. CSC is also offering specialist and platform services through Herman IT’s AI Academy, which focuses on artificial intelligence and has just started in Kajaani.