Faculty Cluster Management Committee

The Leonardi Engineering Research Cluster has a small management committee responsible for:

  • Overall oversight of the cluster
  • Policies regarding use of the cluster

The membership of the management committee is:

  • Associate Dean Research (currently Nasser Khalili)
  • Chair of Engineering IT Committee (currently Maurice Pagnucco)
  • Engineering IT Manager (currently Kate Carruthers)
  • A senior computational researcher (Tracie Barber)
  • with associate membership of Cluster IT support staff

Background and Purpose


Some discussion amongst researchers in Engineering during 2010 lead to a proposal from the Associate Dean (Research), Prof John Whitelock for an allocation of Faculty strategic funds to provide a high performance computing facility for researchers in the Faculty of Engineering. The initial cluster configuration went live in May 2011.

Further funds from the Faculty, from UNSW IT and from researchers and schools in Engineering have contributed to further expansion and the configuration now includes empty blade chassis which can house computational blades purchased by future research funds.


The name "leonardi" was chosen to honour Prof Eddie Leonardi, a leading researcher in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering; who had for many years been a UNSW proponent for and exponent of High Performance Computing. Eddie was a primary player in a number of campus-wide and external HPC initiatives and established and managed the CFD Lab in Mechanical Engineering.


As specified in the proposal to the Engineering Management Committee, the purpose of the of the Engineering Research Cluster includes:

  • An environment for prototyping research jobs which can then be run on very large HPC installations elsewhere (such as the systems at NCI).
  • A resource for jobs whose scale or nature is such that they cannot be run easily on other facilities. This includes:
    • jobs that are long-running (cannot checkpoint)
    • jobs that are embedded in a run-review-rerun cycle
    • researchers who do not yet have access to other resources
  • An incubator for researchers who are currently using desk-top equipment but whose research would benefit from moving to HPC systems.

Note that Leonardi is not intended to be a replacement for other resources such as NCI; and that use of such facilities is encouraged.

High Performance Computing

Welcome to High Performance Computing (HPC) in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of New South Wales. You should find everything you need to know about this facility from these pages; if not, please do not hesitate to contact the the Faculty HPC Support Officer, John Zaitseff.

Leonardi - Engineering Faculty HPC

Leonardi is a medium-sized High Performance Computing cluster designed to be used for postgraduate and research purposes within the Faculty of Engineering. It currently consists of 2,944 AMD Opteron 6174 2.20GHz processor cores, with a total of 5.8TB of physical memory (essentially 2GB of memory per core) and 100TB of usable disk storage. Leonardi runs the Rocks clustering platform on top of CentOS Linux. You can see a real-time overview of the cluster from within the UNSW network by using the Ganglia monitor.

UNSW site licences are available for a number of software packages that may be used on Leonardi. These include Matlab and Ansys. The cluster is also a viable platform for researchers writing their own software.

The cluster is hosted in the UNSW Data Centre at R1 (Randwick Campus). This location has fully-redundant networking, power and air-conditioning, and is constantly monitored by UNSW systems and staff.

A good introduction to the cluster may be found in An Introduction to the Leonardi Engineering Research Cluster (PDF) by A/Prof. Evatt Hawkes. You may also like to look at the Technical Overview of the cluster hardware.

Applying to Use Leonardi

If you do not already have an account on the Leonardi cluster, and you wish to use this resource, you need to fill out an online application form and submit it to the Leonardi system administrator. This application form will be submitted to the Faculty Cluster Management Committee for consideration and approval. Once approved, a user account will be created using your UNSW zID and zPass. Please note that you will need to be sponsored by your supervisor or other academic staff (as appropriate).

Getting Started

Introductory reading
Please start with reading A/Prof. Evatt Hawkes' An Introduction to the Leonardi Engineering Research Cluster (PDF)

Command Summaries
useful PBS commands
more scheduler-related commands

Using modules
Modules will set up your environment (path, env variables) to use a particular software package.

What is available? - module avail
What do you have loaded now? - module list
Load a module - module load fluent/13
Unload a module - module unload fluent/13
More commands - module --help

You can put module commands in your ~/.bash_profile to bring them into your default environment. Modules must then be unloaded if you intend to use a conflicting module, eg in a qsub script. Otherwise if you need them you can put them in your submit script.

Initial test
Here is a mindlessly simple test file, make appropriate changes and submit using
qsub test.pbs

More information

Please view our Leonardi Wikspaces site