About Research IT at Iowa State University

What We Do:Research IT office in Gilman Hall

The Research IT team collaborates with researchers to solve complex technology problems, freeing them up to focus on their research. We’re here to help solve the problems that go beyond typical desktop support. Contact us for help with solutions that are scalable, stable, and secure.

We can help with common problems like these:

  • We need somewhere to store the growing mountain of data we're accumulating.
  • We are working with genome assembly and need a high-memory server.
  • We have developed a computational pipeline and it keeps crashing/takes weeks to run/isn't automated.
  • We have no source control in place and need training on best practices.
  • We are looking for larger computational resources to solve our needs.

If you'd like to talk about how we can work with you, please contact us at researchit@iastate.edu.

Why We Do It:

The ResearchIT team was formed in 2014 to fill an unmet need for making professionally managed, high performance computing available to researchers in disciplines that were not traditionally involved in heavy computation.

With recent advances in areas like Genomics, Big Data, and Machine Learning many scientific disciplines that were once focused on wet lab work and small observational datasets are now performing analyses and simulations that rival the scale of more traditionally compute-intensive areas.  Our team started with the support of these emerging areas, and as we've built out our infrastructure and methods we've scaled up to include some of the traditionally large users of research computing.

Our goals:

  • Make research computing easier: Fewer hoops to jump through. Just log in and run.
  • Quick turnaround: Hours to days, rather than weeks to months.
  • Avoid technical debt: We provide professional system administration and scientific software installations.
  • Provide flexibility: Our servers are built to fit your workload, rather than asking you to change your workload to fit our hardware.

How We Do It:

Custom high-performance hardware:

We manage a suite of bespoke computational servers, each built to serve a particular research computing niche.  Computational needs vary widely based on the problem set, algorithmic approach, and skill of the user.  We recognize that our users are frequently running software developed by other labs, or using "off-the-shelf" open source or commercial software that you can't always optimize to a traditional HPC environment. So we've optimized the hardware to make the software run as efficiently as possible.

Lowering the barrier to entry & self-service options:

We try to make it easy for you to get started by providing:

  • How-To documentation and videos for you to learn at your own pace
  • A large library of pre-built software available for you to use immediately. Don't spend a week trying to compile the software; our team of systems analysts have already done it.
  • Self-service virtual machines for development and smaller scale experiments

One-on-one help:

We will come to your office or lab meetings and help you when you're stuck. Our team of experienced professionals has expertise in a variety areas such as:

  • Pipeline optimization
  • Software engineering recommendations
  • Development and deployment of research web applications
  • Bioinformatics consulting

Reporting Issues

Please visit this link if you have questions or would like to report an issue.