KSU architecture students access supercomputers to help with coursework

The+College+of+Architecture+and+Environmental+Design+building+on+KSU+campus.

The College of Architecture and Environmental Design building on KSU campus.

Jessica Ames Reporter

Kent State architecture students’ ideas are brought to life through their access to supercomputers.

“In the architecture program, we are constantly looking for ways to engage with the latest technology in the design process,” said Ivan Bernal, the architecture program’s director. 

The Ohio Supercomputer Center created a customized virtual lab for architecture students at Kent State.

The lab offers students access to a supercomputer capable of running large workloads with advanced processing capabilities not typically available to users on their own computers.

The students use the platform to visualize their design projects in high resolution, rendering still frames and animations. 

The lab is offered to students through an easy-to-use web-based interface called OnDemand. 

Once students access the online portal, they upload their scenes, consisting of three-dimensional models, lights, textures, and animations, to be processed. After the job is completed, they log in and download their frames.

The Kent State architecture program recognized a need for a platform that would allow students to run calculations that require a large amount of processing power.

“Our particular need for specific software seemed to be an excellent match to test the supercomputer’s flexibility and bring these resources to an educational setting,” said Bernal. 

The Ohio Supercomputer Center wanted to create an interface for students that would lower difficulties in accessing supercomputer cluster systems.

“These are normally categories of students that wouldn’t use [high performance computing] who are using it for coursework and being exposed to the power of HPC and supercomputers,” said Alan Chalker, the director of Ohio Supercomputer Center Strategic Programs.

“Eventually, these students will take their exposure to using supercomputers into the workforce and realize the importance of access to high performance computing,” Chalker said. 

Jessica Ames is a teaching reporter. Contact her at [email protected].