The College of the Environment continues to invest in Hyak, the UW’s High Performance Computing (HPC) facility, that supports computational science that exceeds the resources of your personal or laboratory systems.


High Performance Computing is essential to scientific discovery and to advancing many fields of science. It is the key to furthering the environmental sciences as well as many other areas that have a significant impact upon society. The amount of data available in the environmental sciences has grown exponentially over the last decade, and the wide availability of the output from model simulations has accelerated discovery. HPC at UW provides the necessary infrastructure to:

  1. share expertise and experience in high performance computing and data, scientific computing, and its application across a broad range of disciplines that are critical to the State of Washington and the nation;
  2. educate the next generation of leaders who will continue to address the most challenging scientific, engineering and societal problems; and
  3. enhance UW’s leadership in research and education by providing faculty, students, researchers and staff with access to, and the capability to use, the HPC resources that they require.

Hyak provides a scale of computing that falls in between typical laboratory-scale computing and that available at large super-computing facilities. With Hyak, the University of Washington provides a central space with air conditioning and power for HPC infrastructure and space for compute nodes. Individual large units (primarily colleges) purchase rack space within this central space while, typically, individual Pis or laboratories purchase compute nodes.

College support

The College has purchased rack storage space in NextGen Hyak for the period 2017-2022 within which individual researchers can store their nodes. Hyak computers are made up of nodes with specific specifications and they must be purchase through the Hyak system (for reasons of hardware homogeneity). Nodes are priced to include the support for managing the nodes over their lifetime (4 years). In addition to the rack, the College has purchased 2 nodes (56 cores) for general CoEnv computing by individual users within the College. Additional nodes can be purchased by individual PIs.

In addition, David Darr, an experienced Hyak user in the School of Oceanography, is being partially supported by the College, and is available to help users within the College with Hyak access, use, and learning how to utilize Hyak and HPC for their research needs.

Student tech fee support

Undergraduate and graduate students also have access to Hyak nodes (and training) through the student HPC Club. See their website for more information.

Additional Hyak details

Hyak is a Linux cluster and provides much of the standard software of other, similar clusters: Fortran compilers (Intel and GNU), C, Matlab, and more. Persistent disk space is limited to 500Gb per compute node. Additional persistent storage is available for purchase by individual PIs as well. In addition, scratch disk space of about 1000 Tb (1 petabyte), with a lifespan of approximately a month, is also available for short term storage.

For more information, please check out UW-IT’s High Performance Computing program page and Hyak wiki, or Need technical assistance?  Please fill out the eSITS Help Request form.

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