What we do
- Data storage and backups
- Data visualization and analysis programming
- Desktop and server system administration and support
- High-Performance and Advanced Research Computing Support (in partnership with SHARCNET)
- Laboratory and research infrastructure design
- Research data lifecycle planning and support
- Research Software Engineering / Programming
- Web survey implementation
- Support with CFI and other funding applications
- Purchase consultation
- Graphics and visualization
- Strategic planning
A growing number of research fields require advanced and high-performance computing as a key component of their tool-chests. RHPCS’ mandate is to support advanced and high-performance computing installations as a central part of the university infrastructure.
- Recommending hardware configurations and getting vendor quotes for funding grant applications
- Site planning and configuration
- Hardware and software installation and administration
- Application software development, user management, integration with desktop systems
Contract System Administration:
Administration of Unix systems is our bread and butter. But research computing clusters are never homogeneous, so that administration includes network administration as well as managing file and printer sharing and backup services for Windows and MacOS systems. Departments or research groups pay an annual fee, based on an average number of hours of service per week. Administration includes installation, configuration, security, patches and upgrades, software installation and user administration, but the exact description varies somewhat from group to group. We support most major version of Unix (including Mac OS X) as well as configuring and maintaining linux servers for MS Windows research clusters. In general, the larger the contract, the more room there is for flexibility in the exact arrangements.
System Management Tasks:
RHPCS may be contracted on a time-and-materials basis to do installation, configuration and system work for groups who do not have a support contract or who need work beyond the scope of their contract. These jobs can only be undertaken when staff are not fully occupied with regular support work, and are billed at a standard rate of pay
System and Software Problems:
RHPCS can provide consultation to researchers without contracts on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on staff availability. That is: we can’t promise to help, but we’ll certainly try. Again, consultations are billed at our standard rate of pay
RHPCS can provide advice on equipment purchases based on the requirements of your research and the size of the user group. This includes getting quotes from vendors, help with preparing the technical specifications for RFPs and ensuring compliance with the proposal requirements of the granting agencies.
Graphics and Visualization:
RHPCS is developing support services in graphics application consultation & software. The graphics and visualization Research Engineer may be seconded to research groups to develop visualization applications. Two pilot projects have been completed. The mechanism for applying for programmer services is being developed. Interested researchers should contact RHPCS. We welcome input from the research community regarding your requirements in this area.
RHPCS provides assistance to the Research Office for Administration and Developmental Support (ROADS) and equipment grant proposers by seeking to leverage the university investment in research computing infrastructure through negotiating with vendors for site licenses and discounts, providing staff management for contract support staff, and through encouraging the use of shared institutional facilities (e.g. SHARCNET) where feasible.
RHPCS is proud to support researchers from all faculties at McMaster. We are happy to assist with the preparation and review of applications for funding which have research computing as a component. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this service.
If you would like to include support from RHPCS in your funding applications, please refer to our standard rate of pay information. We suggest adding 10% to all costs listed here to account for any rate changes between now and when your research project might actually start. If you are not sure what level of support you should be including, please talk to us and we will do our best to advise. We can also offer you help with hardware selection and system configuration.
Some researchers have been successful in their funding applications using the following text in their budget justifications:
RHPCS is the McMaster University research computing support group. Researchers subscribe to their services on an annual basis, at a cost of ~$1-0K/year for a full-time (5 days/week) support person, or some fraction of that for part-time support (given by full-time staff who are shared across multiple projects). Their services include but are not limited to: equipment purchasing advice, hardware and software installation and configuration, setup and maintenance of backup systems, setup of within-lab servers and networking, monitoring and trouble-shooting security issues, and software development for graphics, visualization, web and scientific computing applications.
If you would like help developing a more specific budget justification, please contact email@example.com.
Information Box Group
Formally established in June, 2001, Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET) is the culmination of the vision of several faculty from McMaster University, The University of Western Ontario, and the University of Guelph.
SHARCNET provides access to supercomputing facilities for research.
Digital Research Alliance of Canada
The Digital Research Alliance of Canada (DRAC) serves Canadian researchers, with the objective of advancing Canada’s position as a leader in knowledge economy on an international stage.
The Southern Ontario Smart Computing Innovation Platform (SOSCIP) consortium is a ground-breaking collaboration between Ontario’s research-intensive post-secondary institutions and small- and medium-sized enterprises across the province.
SOCIP provides advanced computing to support collaborations between industrial and academic researchers.
Current Rates for Services
Rates as of June 2020
Groups who have a support contract should speak with us if they have equipment hosting needs.
$500 per unit per year, subject to capacity.
File System Backup
- Nightly backups to data centre disk storage
- Two weeks of file change history retained
- Longer retention times available upon request but more backup storage
space may be required
- Maximum 1TB of backup disk storage
- Upgrade backup storage capacity: $40 / TB / year
- Includes maximum of 4 hours of file restoration support time
- Additional restoration time billed at standard hourly rate
- $500 per year
- One time set-up fee of $125 per backup client computer
- Possible contributions to additional backup server hardware may be required for large-capacity backup storage consumers
Hosted File Server
- Virtual machine running CentOS linux
- 1 CPU core, 1GB RAM, 1TB disk space
- Regular operating system updates
- Basic user account management
- 4 hours of system administration time
- Upgrade disk space: $80 / TB / year
- Upgrade CPU core: $50 / additional CPU core / year
- Upgrade RAM:
- $50 / additional GB of RAM / year
- Other server configurations: contact us
- $500 / year
- Initial setup fee of $500
RHPCS may be contracted on a fee-for-service basis to do work for groups who do not have a support contract or who need work beyond the scope of their contract. These jobs can only be undertaken when staff are not fully occupied with regular support work, and are billed at a standard hourly rate of $125 / hour.
For more information for pricing on anything not covered above, or to subscribe to our services, please contact us.
|Level||Number of Support Hours||Pricing for Research Groups (Annual Rate)||Pricing for Non-Research Groups (Annual Rate)|
|1||40 (formerly 1/8 day)||$2,500||$4,000|
|2||75 (formerly 1/4 day)||$4,500||$7,500|
|3||148 (formerly 1/2 day)||$8,250||$14,800|
|4||329 (formerly 1 day)||$16,500||$32,900|
|5||658 (formerly 2 days)||$33,000||$52,640|
|6||987 (formerly 3 days)||$49,500||$78,960|
|7||1316 (formerly 4 days)||$66,000|
|8||1645 (formerly 5 days)||$82,500|
|9||1974 (formerly 6 days)||$99,000|
|10||2303 (formerly 7 days)||$115,500|
*Overages are billed at the cheaper of either the current hourly rate or the cost increase for the next-higher level of support contract.
Web Hosting – Administrative & Teaching Units
- $1,000 / year
- Initial setup fee of $500
Web Hosting – Research Units & Groups
- $125 / year
- Initial setup fee of $125
Projects We Support
McMaster Projects and groups
Some of the projects and groups we support for the McMaster Research Community include:
- Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM)
- Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA)
- Collaboratory for Research on Urban Neighbourhoods, Community Health and Housing (CRUNCH)
- Computational Biology
- DeGroote School of Business
- Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology: Analytical Instruments Facility
- Department of Mathematics and Statistics
- Department of Physics and Astronomy
- Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour
- Department of Surgery: Performance Science Lab
- Dushoff Lab
RHPCS Staff Directory
Researcher Support Team
Special Projects Support
Domain-Specific Support Team
Mike Lumsden Contact Mike Lumsden
Technical Support Specialist / Spécialiste en soutien technique
Mike Pikolon Contact Mike Pikolon
Director, Information Technology / Directeur, Technologie de l’information