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Hyak – UW High Performance Computing


The College of the Environment continues to invest in HYAK, a high-performance computing facility that support computational science that exceeds the resources of your personal or laboratory systems.  


High Performance Computing is essential to scientific discovery and to advancing many fields of science. It is the key to furthering the environmental sciences and many other areas that significantly impact society. The amount of data available in the environmental sciences has grown exponentially over the last decade, and the wide availability of the output from model simulations has accelerated discovery. HPC at UW (University of Washington) provides the necessary infrastructure to: (a) share expertise and experience in high performance computing and data, scientific computing, and its application across a broad range of disciplines that are critical to the State of Washington and the nation; (b) educate the next generation of leaders who will continue to address the most challenging scientific, engineering, and societal problems; and (c) enhance UW’s leadership in research and education by providing faculty, students, researchers, and staff with access to, and the capability to use, the HPC resources that they require. 

Hyak provides a scale of computing that falls in between typical laboratory-scale computing and what is available at large super-computing facilities. With Hyak, UWIT (UW Information Technology) provides a central space with air conditioning, power, disaster recovery, backup, and high-speed networks for HPC infrastructure. UWIT provides operational and technical support to HYAK node owners and users. Individual large units (primarily colleges) are designated Tier Sponsors if they purchase large quantities of slots at a discounted price. The annual (yearly with a 4-year contract) non-tiered slot cost is $1,750 per slot. Tier sponsors save their node owners a minimum of $950/year or $3,800 over 4 years per slot. Tier sponsors decide how to share and use their allotted slots beyond or in accordance with HYAK polices set by the HYAK Governance Board. Individual Pis or laboratories purchase computer nodes which reside in the slots. High-performance computers are more efficient when all the nodes are in use resulting in big advantages for owners and users of HYAK computer nodes. These advantages include the use of unused nodes for computing jobs (as designated by HYAK itself) as well HYAK will continually become faster as users either update or add in new faster nodes after the 4-year node end-of-life cycle. The same computing job that was submitted 4 years ago will be much faster 4 years later as new generational nodes are brought in to HYAK. 

College of the Environment Support

The College of the Environment is designated as a Tier 1 sponsor and has a 5-year commitment to purchase 100 slots at a discounted price of $800 per slot in Hyak for the period FY23 to FY28. Hyak is made up of computer nodes with specific specifications and they must be purchased through UWIT (for reasons of hardware homogeneity). Nodes are priced to include the support for managing the nodes over their lifetime (4 years). In addition to the 100 slots, the College has purchased 1 node (56 cores) for general CoEnv computing by individual users within the College.  
 eSITS, the College of the Environment Shared Information Technology Services group ( is available to help users within the College with Hyak access, use, node cpu/gpu purchases, questions and learning how to utilize Hyak and HPC for their research needs. Please fill out the eSITS Help Request Form for HYAK assistance.

For information on how to access HYAK, please refer to our How To Hyak user guide.

College of the Environment FY22-FY28 MOU

The 5-year MOU/commitment breaks down to: 
Initial $60,000 payment for Level 2 Sponsorship for initial 60 slots in FY23. 
Annual payments of $80,000 for Level 1 sponsorship for 100 slots in FY24 – FY28. 
Total Monetary Commitment:  $380,000 
The College has agreed to pay $250,000 over the 5-year MOU. 
Oceanography has agreed to pay $50,000 for 10 of the 100 slots over the 5-year MOU. 
The remainder $80,000 will be recovered from users of the slots.

The College of the Environment will allow units to leverage the Tier 1 slot pricing if they wish to purchase additional slots for their own node use. Slots come in allotments of 10. Units will agree to pay the full price of the 10 slots for the entire 5-year MOU and the funds must be produced up front.

College of the Environment HYAK Use Policy

This policy is coming soon.

Purchasing & Pricing

HYAK cpu and gpu nodes that reside in any of the College of the Environment slots must be purchased by the College’s IT Director. The IT Director will work with you and UWIT in facilitating the purchase and installation of the nodes.

Pricing information for the latest generation CPU and GPU nodes frequently changes. It is recommended that you fill out the eSITS Help Request Form for latest pricing information.

As of June 1, 2023, latest pricing information is:

  • CPU
    • 256GB: $3,806 (each slice has 32 cores, 256GB memory)
    • 512GB: $7,706 (each slice has 32 cores, 512GB memory)
  • GPU
    • * 32-cores, 384GB, 2 x L40 GPUs (w/48GB per card) for $18,853 (pending order and delivery)
      * 16-cores, 192GB, 2 x H50 (w/40GB per card) $23,125 (pending order and delivery)
      * 32-cores, 384GB, 2 x H100 (w/80GB per card) $46,250 (pending order and delivery)

Student tech fee support

Undergraduate and graduate students also have access to a substantial number of Hyak nodes (and training) through the student HPC Club. See their website for more information.

The College of the Environment STRONGlY URGES all students who require HPC to enroll in the HPC Club and gain access to this large quantity of cpu and gpu nodes.

Additional Hyak details

Hyak is a Linux cluster and provides much of the standard software of other, similar clusters: Fortran compilers (Intel and GNU), C, Matlab, and more. Persistent disk space is limited to 500Gb per compute node. Additional persistent storage is available for purchase by individual PIs as well. In addition, scratch disk space of about 1000 Tb (1 petabyte), with a lifespan of approximately a month, is also available for short term storage.

For more information, please check out UW-IT’s HYAK page. Need technical assistance?  Please fill out the eSITS Help Request form.