Recent advances in neuroimaging technique require powerful, multi-node computer clusters to perform parallel distributed processing. Development and operation of these computer resources draws upon specific expertise that is generally not available to individual NINDS investigators.
A Computing (Informatics) Core maintains a state-of-the-art data processing facility with distributed computing, data storage and archiving, integration of neuroimaging data analysis environments, and provides system administration support. These services include maintenance of a 380-core computer cluster running the Oracle (formerly Sun Grid) Engine and a suite of neuroimaging analysis software. Over the next project period, the Informatics Core will transition from its current computing cluster consisting of 21 compute nodes with 336 CPU cores, 1.4 terabytes (TB) of memory
(RAM) and 220 TB of on-the-cluster RAID hard disk storage to a next generation high-performance cluster with almost an order of magnitude greater computing power supported in part through an NIH Shared
Instrumentation Grant. In addition to providing access to a state-of-the-art computing environment, the Informatics Core provides infrastructure and expert consultation for customized data processing pipelines and
Additional services include operation of a shared web-based wiki for scientific documentation and a data sharing resource for collaborative projects and post-publication data distribution.
A cost-center approach for continuous hardware repair and upgrade is implemented as billing by disk-space usage, with NINDS users paying half the rate of other users.