The Factor Cluster

Provided through a Fiscal Year 2009 Technology Fee grant, the College of Computing operates a high-performance computing cluster (a.k.a. Factor Cluster) which provides service to several School of Computer Science courses.  The Factor cluster is located in the College of Computing Building Data Center.


The transition to multicore computing platforms has been abrupt and students are making the transition to the explicit handling of multi-threaded applications running on virtualized, managed platforms.  The Factor Cluster helps bridge students across multiple areas of investigation, allowing the focus of classes to be on the novel aspects of doing energy-aware, distributed, and multi-threaded programming.  The cluster provides an innovative teaching laboratory for the CS Platform Thread to expose students to both (1) the key Computer Science technologies (i.e., 

system virtualization, multicore, online system management) and (2) basic methods and instrumentation to assess power utilization as are seen in toay’s generation of “Green” datacenter systems.


Example classes that rely on the Factor Cluster are:

  • CS 1372 (Program Design for Engineers)
  • CS 3210/4210 (Design of Operating Systems)
  • ECE 6110 (CAD for Computer Communication Netw)
  • CS 6210 (Advanced Operating Systems) 
  • CS 6230 (High Performance and Parallel Computing)
  • CS 6235 (Introduction to Real-Time System Concepts and Implementation)
  • CS 7210 (Distributed Computing)
  • CS 4803/8803ENT (Introduction to Enterprise Computing)
  • CS 4803/8803HPC (High Performance Communication)

Hardware Features:

  • 9x Dell PowerEdge R610 rack-mounted servers, each with:
    • 2x quad-core Intel Xeon X5550 2.66GHz processors with hyperthreading
    • 48GB of memory
    • 73GB, 15,000 RPM SAS disk drives
    • 18 total Intel Xeon X5570 processors (72 cores)
  • 2x Dell PowerEdge R710 rack-mounted file servers, each with:
    • 1x quad-core Intel Xeon L5506 2.13GHz processor, 4MB cache
    • 12GB of memory
    • One of the servers has 6x 1TB, 7.5K RPM SAS drives in a RAID5 configuration
    • One of the servers has 6x 300GB, 15K RPM SAS disk drives in a RAID5 configuration
  • Gigabit Ethernet-connected (no high-speed interconnect)

Software Features:

  • Red Had Enterprise Linux 5

User Account Access:

  • Authentication via Georgia Tech Active Directory (GTAD) credentials (not your CoC account).
  • Only students in current semester CoC courses where the faculty member has requested access.
  • Home directories are local to the cluster only.