What is CERES?
CERES is a Linux based computational cluster. It consists of a number of servers configured to work together and has 1008 processor cores available for computation (1870 threads). There is a command node (controls the cluster), a number of compute nodes (which do the actual work), and storage nodes (which store your files). These are all linked by a private high speed network. RAM on the compute nodes ranges from 512Gb to 1.5Tb.

Users can submit jobs to the cluster which are managed and balanced by a scheduler called a grid engine or run "interactive sessions" on compute nodes.

A limited number of GPU based servers are also available for scientific / research use (though Crypto-mining is strictly forbidden).
Why should I use it?
  • For the right sort of job, CERES allows you to do a large amount of processing in a relatively short space of time (real life example, a user recently did 2001 days worth of processing in 30 days)
  • It gives you access to a powerful computational resource without having to expend your own funds / resources on expensive computers
  • Will allow you to run analyses you may not otherwise be able to run without outside help / resources
  • Students may well encounter CERES during their course as CERES is often used for teaching.
  • Running a large analysis on the cluster will allow you to continue using your own computer without it being impacted or affected by the job (i.e. your computer will not grind to a halt because all its processing power / memory is being consumed by your analysis - the cluster handles all that).
Who can use CERES?
Any student studying at UoE or UoE member of staff. In exceptional circumstances, access can be granted to external collaborators working with current staff.
What software does it have?
  • CERES has hundreds of open source packages installed (word cloud opposite shows a few)
  • Multiple versions of R
  • Most open source packages with source code available can be installed for you (if not already)
  • Some proprietry software such as MATLAB (including the Distributed Computing Server) and the NAG libraries
  • EEG software (EEGLab & Letswave)
  • A number of Reference Genomes are also installed (hg,mm,dm,rn) for those working with genomic data
  • The gcc & gfortran compilers are available for users wishing to compile their own software
  • Python 2 & 3
  • MPI
  • If you need software that is not installed, we will attempt to install it for you provided it is available & if needed, a valid license owned.
What knowledge do I need?
Because CERES is built on Linux, you will need to become familiar with the Linux command line and how to use a grid engine. For users who have never used a command line before, cluster support can help you with this either in person or via this online reference guide plus an online tutorial that covers everything from logging in to submitting multiple batch jobs.
What software do I need?
You will an SSH (secure shell) client to login to the cluster and some form of SCP (secure copy) in order to transfer files to / from CERES. If you want to use windowed applications you will also need an X manager. Depending on your operating system you may already have some or all of these.
How do I use CERES?
Firstly you have to login using your SSH client, then there are two ways of running jobs on CERES: either interactively which involves using a compute node as though it were a normal (Linux) computer, or using batch mode where you submit jobs to the grid engine which runs them for you and reports back to you when they are finished (fire and forget). Files are transfered to/from the cluster using an SCP client (see above).
What support is available?
  • Online user guide (i.e. this website)
  • Online tutorial
  • One-to-one tutorials for users needing them
  • Online tutorial can be run as a supervised practical if enough users need it
  • Cluster support can/will write submission and wrapper scripts for first time users so you have a working example for the future
  • Help writing wrapper & submission scripts for all users
  • Drop in (doors are always open if we are in). 4SW.5.20 (Stuart), 3SW3.12 (Chris)
Gaining Access
In order to use CERES, you will need a user account. UoE users will not automatically get an account on the cluster - you need to obtain one by requesting registration via the account registration page.