BioSS’s scientific achievements are made possible by excellent computing facilities designed to meet staff needs, including a choice of desktop platforms for personal use and ready access to shared resources such as multi-core servers and multi-processor clusters.
BioSS provides all scientific staff, students and visiting collaborators with personal desktop and mobile computing facilities suited to their personal circumstances. Fully supported core platforms include Windows and Linux. Individuals wishing to use alternative platforms are accommodated as much as possible but need to demonstrate greater self-reliance. A suite of productivity and scientific software is available for use on all devices, whilst software with licence restrictions on numbers of uses is obtained to meet specific needs.
Computational tasks which are beyond the capabilities of personal provision are made possible through shared multi-processor servers that enable our scientific staff to make use of the most recent advances in highperformance computing. These shared facilities include a dedicated machine for high memory operations required of large data sets and for the particular form of parallelisation implemented by NVIDIA Tesla GPGPU technology.
BioSS has access to additional, large-scale computer resources for more computationally intensive tasks, including the cluster managed by the University of Edinburgh. We have also begun to deploy special-purpose applications on a commercial cloud computing platform, providing an excellent blend of isolation from other infrastructure and transparent costs for our clients and collaborators. In addition, we are further exploring the use of cloud services for prototyping and showcasing BioSS’ work.
In order to keep pace with the requirement to handle ever larger volumes of data, BioSS has planned and implemented an upgrade of the wired network installed at its Edinburgh site to 10GB line speeds. Concurrently, the analogue telecoms system was replaced with a modern VoIP system, and improvements to the power infrastructure have enabled us to host additional servers in our on-site computer room, as well as to meter the electricity consumption.
The refurbishment has significantly improved the general working environment, with enhancements to the lighting, power, network and fittings in the corridor and each of the offices.