Center for High End Computing Systems

High-end computing refers to high capability and high capacity computing, communication and storage resources.  The focus at Virginia Tech is on high-end computing systems research, broadly defined.  Progress in this area enhances our ability to solve large-scale problems from a myriad of application areas.  Participants combine expertise in many traditional areas of computer science, from architecture to compilers and from operating systems to applications software.

The Center for High-End Computing Systems

The mission of the Center for High-End Computing Systems (CHECS) is world-class computer systems research, with a particular focus on high-end computing systems. CHECS members investigate a broad array of problems and design a wide range of technologies---all with the goal of developing the next generation of powerful and usable high-end computing resources. Established in September 2005, and supported by Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, CHECS collaborates extensively with computational scientists and engineers from a wide variety of departments at Virginia Tech.

The focus of CHECS is on computer science systems research. Center members recognize that high-end resources must be powerful in a broad sense (i.e., high-performance, high-capacity, high-throughput, high-reliability, etc.); at the same time they must be more usable and affordable than current HPC systems. Toward that end, the Center is pursuing a broad research agenda in areas such as processor and memory architectures, operating systems, run-time systems, communication subsystems, fault-tolerance, scheduling and load-balancing, power-aware systems and algorithms, numerical algorithms and programming models and software tools. The goal is to build computing systems and environments that can efficiently and usably span the scales from department-sized machines to national-scale resources. Our approach is forward-looking, practical and collaborative. The strategy is to harness trends in computing technology and market forces to build real systems that will meet the day-to-day needs of computational scientists. Our work on computing environments is based on real job mixes, made up of real codes, incorporating feedback from real HPC users. With the lessons learned from developing proven, well-tested systems, the Center will lead the design and deployment of the next generation of high-end systems. The Center works closely with collaborators from across the College of Engineering as well as from other colleges. It supplies computing cycles, algorithmic expertise, training, consulting, partnerships in pursuing funding, opportunities for students to work in interdisciplinary teams, and an opportunity for the VT computational science and HPC community to share best-practices. In turn, collaborators motivate and inform CHECS research, and supply all-important application suites on which to test newly developed systems.