CSCS provides access to a number of high-performance computer systems for research activities carried out by the Swiss computational science community. These facilities include massively parallel processing (MPP) systems, clusters with shared-memory nodes, data analysis and visualization facilities as well as data storage and external access machines.
Front End Facility
CSCS offers a front-end facility which allows access to the other CSCS machines from anywhere on the public internet.
Most CSCS machines are only accessible from specific IP domains or IP addresses, and the front-end machine therefore provides a useful service when people wish to access CSCS facilities while they are away from their institution, or perhaps wish to use a laptop with a dynamic IP address.
The current front-end machine is called ela.cscs.ch.
The HPC facilities currently provided at CSCS are concentrated around the Cray XE machines for massively parallel processing.
There are three Cray XE machines currently in production, a Cray XE6 system called Monte Rosa, and two Cray XE6 systems called Albis and Monte Lema completely dedicated to MeteoSwiss.
Visualization and Data Analysis
The simulations which run on the HPC machines can produce large amounts of interesting scientific data, and therefore CSCS additionally provides a data analysis system and a visualization facility.
These systems differ from the main HPC machines in that they consist of a smaller number of standard processors, but typically have more memory per processor. Additionally they have faster direct access to the shared central parallel file system to allow fast reading of data from simulations, and the visualization machine has high-performance graphics cards to enable hardware acceleration of the rendering process.