Off-Campus Resources

The University of Iowa has partnered with several national computing and scientific organizations in order to provide additional computing resources to UI researchers and staff.  ITS - Research Services can help facilitate access to national computing resources, such as those provided by XSEDE. This includes access to large-scale computational resources and expertise that may not be available on the University of Iowa campus. Additionally, we can help facilitate access to commercial cloud platforms such as AWS and Azure. For more details visit this page. Additional resources are available through the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation (GLCPC), and the Blue Waters Project.


XSEDE is a robust collection of integrated digital resources and services funded by NSF. This is a nationally-distributed, virtual ecosystem that scientists and researchers can use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise. XSEDE integrates the resources and services, makes them easier to use, and helps more people use them.

Through the XSEDE Campus Champions program, the UI campus has direct access to XSEDE and input to its staff, resource allocations for the use of campus researchers, and assistance in using those resources.

XSEDE Resources of Interest:


Jetstream is a cloud computing environment designed to provide XSEDE researchers and students user-friendly, on-demand access to interactive computing and data analysis resources. Jetstream is implemented and supported by Indiana University, Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), and several additional partner institutions across the nation. Jetstream provides a library of virtual machines (VMs) that are pre-configured to support scientific analysis and collaboration in a variety disciplines (e.g., biology, earth sciences, and social sciences, among others). Generic Linux-based VM configurations also are available, allowing software developers and researchers to create their own custom VMs to support specific applications or disciplines. Creators of custom VMs can save them for future reuse either as "private VMs" or share them with other Jetstream researchers via the "public" VM library.

UI Usage of Jetstream

One good example of leveraging Jetstream is to utilize it as a data analytics environment for classes. For example, Jupyter Notebook and RStudio are definitely the most widely used open-source data analytics frameworks by Python users and R users, respectively. They run not only on personal computers, but also on VMs on Jetstream resources. If users connect to Jupyter Notebook and RStudio via VM’s on Jetstream, they can benefit from powerful computing resources while learning and doing their own data analytics.


Bridges is a multi-tiered HPC system hosted by the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC). Featuring regular, large, and extreme shared memory compute nodes, GPU nodes, database nodes, web server nodes, and data transfer nodes, Bridges is designed for extreme flexibility, functionality, and usability, and is well-suited for data-intensive projects in the life sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities.

UI Usage of Bridges

ITS-Research Services helps faculty teach courses (such as Big Data Analysis from Management Sciences and/or Electrical and Computer Engineering or HPC classes from Computer Science) on XSEDE supercomputing clusters. In the Fall of 2017, Big Data Management & Analytics course (MSCI:6110) and High Performance and Parallel Computing (CS:4700) were taught using the Bridges cluster.

We recently helped one of our faculty members, Dr. Xun Zhou, submit an Educational Allocation Proposal to XSEDE for teaching his course titled, “Big Data Management & Analytics (MSCI:6110).” We requested an allocation of 112,000 Service Units (SUs) and were successful in receiving 66,000 SUs. Below is the link to the PDF document that we submitted. This can be used as a template to submit future Educational Allocation Proposals. 

Educational Allocation Proposal.

Educational Allocation Proposal requirements can be found on the XSEDE website.


The Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation is a collaboration among colleges, universities, national research laboratories, and other educational institutions. The consortium facilitates the widespread and effective use of petascale computing through the development of new computing software, applications, and technologies. The University of Iowa is a founding member of this group which qualifies our researchers for allocations on the Blue Waters system.

Blue Waters:

The Blue Waters supercomputer, supported by the National Science foundation and the University of Illinois, is capable of a sustained performance of 1 petaflops on a range of real-world science and engineering applications.

Blue Waters features 276 cabinets (Cray XE6 AMD Opteron™ 6200 Series processor--formerly code-named "Interlagos"--and XK7 with NVIDIA® Tesla™ GPU computing capability).

For more information please contact​​​​​​.