Supercomputers are powerful tools for scientists. They are also very expensive, so wasted time can mean a lot of wasted resources. But making the most efficient use of them is not the easiest proposition in the world; it’s not just a case of clicking a button to analyse a protein. However, fitting out the world of supercomputers with a user-friendly, web-based interface is the focus of an open source project based at Western Australia’s Murdoch University.
The computational physics community, as an example, may be very proficient in the intricacies of shell scripts and working with a command line, says Professor Matthew Bellgard, Director of Murdoch’s Centre for Comparative Genomics. “They’ve had a lot of experience in the past running their Fortran code using 4000 cores or 10,000 cores,” he says. However, “there are other domains where scientists don’t necessarily have that skill running command line code or porting their code from one supercomputer to another.”