Redirecting under-utilised computer laboratories into cluster computing facilities

John Atkinson, Dirk Spennemann, David Cornforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose ' To provide administrators at an Australian university with data on the feasibility of redirecting under-utilised computer laboratories facilities into a distributed high performance computing facility. Design/methodology/approach ' The individual log-in records for each computer located in the computer laboratories at the university were investigated. The log-in data were investigated over a 24-hour/seven day a week period between June 2001 and August 2003. The data were analysed in terms of student access to the computer facilities during 'normal' business hours, weekend times, and the semester breaks. Findings ' The computer laboratories were hugely under-utilised, with less than 10 per cent of all log-ins occurring during off peak times (7 pm-8 am). Similarly, only weekends were likewise under-utilised. This strongly suggests that this spare computer capacity could be used for alternate means during these times. Research limitations/implications ' Future research needs to determine whether the needs of the general computer laboratory user who requires a stable and secure system can coexist with the users of a high performance computer facility where different software and differently configured computer systems are required. Practical implications ' This research has the potential for universities to utilise more effectively their computer laboratory resources by allocating under-utilised resources into other projects, such as to a high performance computing facility (HPCF). The cost of these re-allocated resources would be a fraction of the cost compared to a scenario in which a separate dedicated HPCF had to be provided. Originality/value ' This paper suggests an alternate utilisation of the spare computing laboratory resources available at many universities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Information and Learning Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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