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Hyak is a shared, high-performance computer cluster dedicated to research computing at UW. Developed in a partnership between the eScience Institute and UW-IT, it is intended to provide a convenient, flexible, and cost effective alternative for UW faculty, students, and staff who might otherwise have had to build and operate their own high-end computer systems. Participating academic units invest in a common high-performance infrastructure shared across the entire system while individual users fund the purchase of nodes configured according to their specific requirements. The system design guarantees users immediate access to their own nodes as well as allowing users fair access to idle CPUs throughout the cluster.

Phase 1 of Hyak began operation in June of 2010. The entire 504 node capacity has been claimed. Phase 2, with capacity for an additional 504 nodes will be deployed in tover the course of 2012 and 2013. Space has been reserved in the new UW Tower datacenter for a third Phase, tentatively scheduled for deployment between 3013 and 2014.

Hyak is one element in a collection of centrally managed services supporting research computing at UW. In addition to Hyak, this cyberinfrastructure plan includes lolo scalable storage service and a high-speed networking hub connecting Hyak, lolo, campus, and the research Internet.

Configuration Details

Each Phase of Hyak comprises a sub-cluster within which a Myrinet 10G network connects all nodes in a topology appropriate for latency-sensitive parallel codes while also supporting I/O bandwidth for data-intensive workloads. Each compute rack supports a total of 56 nodes split among four IBM Blade Center H chassis.  Additional racks are reserved for storage, servers, and networking.

The system’s sub clusters are configured around a core which provides shared,  scalable, high-performance storage and access to fast external networks. The cluster’s design supports the addition of petabytes of additional storage with aggregate throughput of ~100GBs. Hyak users have access to the lolo Collaboration and Archive file systems to enable the sharing of data with peers and the long-term safekeeping of results.

Because nodes are purchased over time and are configured to suit the specific needs of each participating group, Hyak will always contain nodes with a variety of CPU types and memory densities. Currently Hyak includes more than 4,300 CPU Intel cores, 24 Nvidia GPUs, and nearly 15TB of RAM. Theoretical PEAK performance of the currently installed nodes is more than 45 teraflops.  Over time, Hyak performance is expected to increase to roughly 1 petaflop.

How To Participate

First, review our online guide and UW-IT Service Catalog entry to see if Hyak meets your needs. After digesting this material, contact us by sending mail to help [at] uw [dot] edu for a consultation. We’ll review your intended use case and budget, and work with you to help determine the best approach, whether you end up using Hyak or some other compute resource.  

Hyak participation is limited to faculty, students, and staff associated with a Hyak sponsor:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of the Environment
  • School of Medicine (restricted to certain groups)
  • iSchool
  • eScience Institute

If your campus unit doesn’t appear in this list, Hyak participation might still be possible through collaboration with colleagues in a sponsored unit.  Opportunities for additional Hyak sponsorship are available and we're happy to work with your college or department. Access to Hyak must be approved by your sponsor, typically a representative from your dean’s office. UW-IT will manage the approval process for you.

Evaluation accounts are available for eligible interested users. Please see the online Hyak user documentation for more details on Hyak use.

Once your participation has been approved and your equipment has been selected.  The UW-IT will manage your equipment order and deployment.  Typically, you’ll be up and running within six weeks of your final gear selection.

Hyak equipment prices are available online. Nodes are deployed for three years.  Your total cost is the price of the equipment, plus a 10% fee.

The Name

Hyak is a word in Chinook Jargon, meaning “fast.” Chinook Jargon is the trade language of the Pacific Northwest, incorporating terms from Chinook and Chehalis and other local languages, as well as French and English. We’ve chosen words from Chinook Jargon for the names of systems in the UW research cyberinfrastructure to emphasize their role in supporting the broad range of UW research users and our ties to our place between the mountains and ocean.



Hyak is supported, in part, by the  National Science Foundation, including grant #PHY-0922770.

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).