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Computing Capabities at the CNF

For many years, the Cornell Nanoscale Facility have offered CAD and simulation tools to assist in designing patterns, fracturing data, and analyzing results.  A recent donation by AMD of Opteron workstations has helped to maintain the quality of computing resources needed for process design..  

Through generous donations by Intel Corporation, the Cornell Nanoscale Facility has also been able to provide high performance computing capabilities to users since early 2005.  This effort is part of the greater computational initiative in the NNIN to provide nanoscale modeling resources that accelerate research and innovation.  The Intel cluster consists of 152 Xeon processors (288 computing cores) linked with gigabit Ethernet connections.  A portion of the cluster also has Infiniband fabric for intensive parallel calculations.  Users at the CNF now have access to a platform for large scale computations that complements the various fabrication resources currently available.  The cluster hosts an ever-expanding and diverse suite of simulation tools for nanoscale systems including codes for first principles calculations, photonic devices, molecular dynamics and nanoscale transport.  While numerous standard packages exist for well-known systems in different fields, cutting edge research often requires developing new algorithms or approaches to address unique problems.  To this end, the CNF is dedicated to not only providing simulation tools, but also playing a role in their development.  Dr. Derek Stewart serves as the scientific computation research liaison for the NNIN at the CNF and works with users to modify existing codes or need requires, constructing new approaches.  During the last year, the number of users taking advantage of the cluster has increased steadily.  Since this is one of the few tools at the CNF that can be accessed from virtually anywhere, it can also have a dramatic impact on research from both local and remote users.  The cluster also serves as a crucial test-bed where codes developed in research groups can be tested by users and develop the robustness necessary for wide spread distribution.  More information on the overall computational effort through the NNIN can be found at the NNIN/C website.    

Please also see the NNIN computation poster presented at the Futures of Nanotechnology Conference: CNF 30th anniversary event 2007 for more information on the effort. 

Publications from the CNF cluster

To learn more about what researchers are using the cluster for, click here for a list of published and accepted papers that resulted from work on the CNF cluster. 

Building a Collaborative Framework for Nanoscale Simulations (Joint NNIN/NCN Fall Workshop 2010) 

Nanoscience relies on intensive atomistic simulations that generate copious amounts of data.  Since various ab-initio and empirical approaches exist in the field, there is a growing need to develop a common collaborative framework to provide meaningful comparisons between calculations and to also provide a set of robust components and results to help the next generation of researchers.

This workshop brings together leading figures in the fields of materials and nanoscale simulation to help develop a set of lingua franca formats and libraries for easy translation of input and output files between codes.  We will also address the creation of international cyberinfrastructure resources that deliver trusted components for nanoscale simulations.  Please see the following link for more details.

2010 Joint NNIN/NCN Fall Workshop Webpage


Defining the Interface between Nanoscience and Geology (3rd CNF Fall Workshop 2007)

This workshop highlighted issues at the interface between nanoscience and geology.  It also demonstrated nanoscale computational tools that can propel the next generation of geology researchers.  The morning sessions consisted of lectures from leaders in the field who discussed current issues and approaches available.  Afternoon sessions provided hands-on sessions where participants worked directly with simulation tools.  Please see the workshop website for presentation and tutorial information.

2007 3rd CNF Fall Workshop Webpage


Big Events in 2006

The Intel cluster was relocated to a new location to make way for addition of the Ion Implanter to the CNF’s fabrication repertoire.  During this short transition period, a new job submission system was implemented on the cluster as well as any necessary upgrades.  Due to the increasing use of the cluster, work is underway to provide more nodes for calculations as well as faster network fabric for memory intensive parallel calculations.  In addition, the collection of simulation tools available continues to grow to address the various needs of CNF users.  Also in 2006, the second CNF Fall Workshop, "Building Nanostructures Bit by Bit" was held.  Please check out the associated website for presentations and tutorials on density functional approaches (PWscf, PARSEC), molecular dynamics techniques (LAMMPS), nanophotonics (MEEP, MPB), and more.


The 2005 Fall Workshop: Modeling the Nanoscale World

In addition to providing an arena where experience users can excel, the CNF is committed to helping new users overcome the learning curve associated with these approaches so that they easily incorporate these tools in their research program.  To this end, the CNF hosted its first Fall Workshop, “Modeling the Nanoscale World” in October 2005 that focused on codes for nanomaterials, nanochemistry, and nanophotonics.  This three-day event consisted of morning lectures that addressed the underlying theory behind different modeling approaches, while afternoon hands-on sessions gave participants the change to try out codes, adapt input files, and in some cases, learn directly from code developers.  Participants arrived from seven different states, Canada, and Japan and brought a wide range of fields and backgrounds that helped fuel discussion.  Due to the success of this event, another NNIN event was be held at the Harvard node from May 31st-June 3rd, 2006 (see the NNIN website for more details.  Additional workshops at Cornell and other NNIN sites focused on specific codes are also being considered.  

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the computing capabilities available at the CNF and how to become a user, please do not hesitate to contact Derek Stewart (stewart at cnf.cornell.edu) for more information.  In addition, if you would like to make your own simulations tools available to the greater CNF community through the Intel cluster, we would gladly welcome your contribution.    



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