Computing Services

The department behind IT services at the University of Bath

Statement about the Petya ransomware attacks

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📥  Security

It’s been widely reported that a new ransomware worm has been affecting a large number of companies around which has the appearance of the Petya ransomware, though it comes with new abilities to spread within networks.

The bad news is that the severity of damage caused is very high and by  the time you see a warning message it is likely to be too late:

  •  In addition to using the vulnerability used by the recent WannaCry, it can also spread using hijacked account credentials using legitimate windows processes which has allowed it to spread very quickly within confined networks
  • The encryption mechanisms are very good so unencrypting data is likely to be impossible.  The communication mechanism has been disabled so even if payment was made, the key to decrypt the files would never be released

The good news is that worldwide spread will hopefully be contained:

  • It is likely that the main initial infection came through a compromised update to a piece of Ukrainian tax software
  • The malware only spreads to local computers or ones it is already connected to, it does not reach out across the internet looking for more victims

Whilst we have already patched the vulnerability used in WannaCry and have other protections in place, we will be looking to increase the measures in place to increase security.   Even with these protections in place there are no guarantees that a widespread ransomware infection would not strike us and everyone should take their own responsibilities seriously:

  • Do not open unexpected documents from unknown sources or if they seem suspicious
  • Avoid clicking embedded links found in unexpected emails
  • Apply patches to home computers and reboot work computers frequently to allow them to install

More information can be found from a number of trusted sites such as the BBC.

 

 

Ansys license change

  

📥  Software Licensing

In an effort to enhance the end user experience of using Ansys software on campus, Computing Services are implementing a solution that will dedicate Ansys research licenses to staff members and postgraduate students.

After the new license settings are applied, undergraduate students will be assigned Ansys teaching licenses only.

Many thanks

Computing Services

 

Ransomware email: be vigilant

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📥  Computing Services, Security

There have been reports that an educational institution has been targetted by a ransomware email. It contains an attachment that, when opened, scrambles files on your computer and on shared drives.

As a result of these reports, we recommend that you do not open any email attachments from unknown sources and ensure that you have antivirus software installed which is up to date. You can read the full guidance on protecting yourself against ransomware in our blog post.

Please feel free to contact us should you need any further information and advice about this issue.

We strongly advise you to back up your files on a regular basis.

 

Bath's 6th Annual HPC Symposium

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📥  High Performance Computing (HPC), Research

HPC Symposium 2017 - Delegation

We would like to thank everyone who joined us at the 6th Annual HPC Symposium on Monday!

"We have seen the symposium go from strength to strength and become established as a key event for bringing together the University's community of HPC developers and users. This year's symposium was excellent, with talks and posters that highlighted the variety and breadth of HPC usage across the campus, and outstanding keynote talks from two of the UK's leading HPC researchers. My thanks to the organisers who, once again, did a great job."
 - Prof David Bird, Chair of the HPC Management Group

This year, over 60 participants attended from within the University along with guests from the University of Bristol, University of Glasgow and from ClusterVision. There was a vibrant array of multi-disciplined contributions from our two keynote speakers, short talks and quick-fire flash presentations (Symposium Programme). The Symposium provided a great opportunity for networking and for learning about new developments in hardware, software and numerical techniques.

Our first keynote speaker, Prof Simon McIntosh-Smith (University of Bristol), Head of the HPC Research Group, discussed how to deal with the increasingly diverse range of competing architectures that software developers are faced with, many of which are available on Bath's own Balena HPC facility. Prof David Britton (University of Glasgow), who is a member of the ALTAS project at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and leads the GridPP project, gave our second keynote and talked about the evolution of the Worldwide LHC computing grid and how this specialised research infrastructure is helping our understanding of the Universe.

HPC research at the University is innovative and various

The contributions from our community showcased the sheer variety of innovative HPC work being done across the University, covering:

  • modelling of rare events and aerospace composites;
  • designing buildings for thermal comfort;
  • molecular dynamics;
  • using GPUs to model the sea floor and the low frequency radio sky;
  • simulating quantum lattice states;
  • analysing global air quality; and
  • optimising partial differential equation solvers.

Thank you and congratulations

We would like to say a big thank you to the contributors, attendees, keynote speakers, session chairs and ground crew, who together made this meeting a day to remember.

Lastly, we would like to congratulate our two prize winners, Jack Betteridge (SAMBa CDT, Mathematical Sciences) and Will Saunders (Mathematical Sciences), once again for their outstanding contributed talk and flash/poster presentation.

We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Best wishes,
Dr Steven Chapman (Computing Services)
Dr David Miranda (ACE)
Dr Jonathan Skelton (Chemistry)

 

For more images, see our @BathHPC twitter feed

 

 

 

 

UniDeskLR service restarts from June 2017

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📥  Computing Services

We are introducing a new process to ensure that our UniDeskLR servers always have the latest security patches installed.  A monthly update and restart of the service will take place at 3am on the 4th Wednesday of every month, starting on Wednesday 28 June 2017.

Please ensure that you have logged out of UniDeskLR before 3am on 28th June and on 4th Wednesday of each month thereafter to ensure you do not lose work. You can log back in and start a new session after 7am on the same date as the updates.

UniDeskLR service restart dates

When you log into UniDeskLR you will see a notification window that confirms the dates that the updates and reboots will take place.   The dates listed for 2017 are:

  • 28 June
  • 26 July
  • 23 August
  • 27 September
  • 25 October
  • 22 November
  • 27 December

Thank you for your assistance.

 

Bath 6th Annual HPC Symposium - 12th June 2017

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📥  High Performance Computing (HPC), Research

We are looking forward to the 6th Annual Symposium on High Performance Computing (HPC) in just a few days time, on Monday, 12th June 2017, over in the Chancellors' Building.

We have had 63 registrations from staff and students across the University. There is an exciting programme lined up with two fantastic keynotes from Prof Simon McIntosh-Smith and Prof David Britton, 9 contributed talks and an active set of quick fire flash poster/talks to look forward to. This will be an excellent opportunity to get an overview of the broad research being done by our growing HPC community here at Bath, and to discuss your own work with others and exchange ideas.

The full schedule is available on the link below and a detailed programme can be found here:
http://www.bath.ac.uk/bucs/services/hpc/symposium/2017/programme/
http://www.bath.ac.uk/bucs/services/hpc/symposium/2017/programme/full-programme.pdf

 

Keynotes speakers:

We are pleased to announce two Keynote speakers for the 6th Annual Symposium on HPC.

The first Keynote will be from Simon McIntosh-Smith, from the University of Bristol, who will give a talk entitled: "Xeon and Pascal and POWER, oh Phi!”: how to cope in a world of increasingly diverse architectures".

Simon is a Professor of High Performance Computing and the Head of the Microelectronics Research Group. Just to mention some of his roles, he is a contributor to both the OpenCL and OpenMP parallel programming standards, regular member of the programme committee for IEEE/ACM SuperComputing and ISC and member of the EPSRC Archer national supercomputer design team.

Simon's research interests include: Performance portability, Application-based fault tolerance (ABFT), New algorithms for novel architectures, Heterogeneous, many-core processor architectures, including GPUs, Xeon Phi, FPGAs, DSPs etc., Scaling applications to run on millions of cores (Exascale computing).
The second Keynote will be from David Britton who is a member of the ATLAS collaboration, one of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (https://home.cern/about). He will give a talk entitled: "Evolution of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid".

David is a professor of physics at the University of Glasgow and Project Leader of the GridPP project that provides Grid computing for particle physics throughout the UK. He is a member of the ATLAS collaboration, one of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN with an interest in Higgs decaying to a pair of tau-leptons. Previously he worked on CMS, another of the LHC experiments, qualifying the crystals that make up the end-caps of the electromagnetic calorimeter. He has also worked at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (the BaBar experiment); Cornell (the CLEO experiment); and at DESY in Hamburg (the ARGUS experiment) with an emphasis on tracking detectors. Earlier work at TRIUMF in Vancouver established the most stringent limits on lepton universality through rare pion decays.

He has been involved with the GridPP project since conception in 2000 and was one of the lead authors of the proposals for all three phases. Initially appointed as Project Manager, he took over as the GridPP Project leader in 2008. GridPP is a collaboration of Particle Physicists and Computing Scientists from 19 UK Universities together with the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory and CERN, who have built a Grid for Particle Physics.

 

LCPU retiring, July 2017

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📥  Computing Services

Staff and students have been using our linux.bath service since the beginning of the 2016 / 2017 academic year and as planned we will be retiring the earlier LCPU service at the end of semester 2.  LCPU will not be available from 11 July 2017.

Using linux.bath

We have a guide on how to access linux.bath.  Please update any course notes you are responsible for with information about linux.bath.

Screenshot of linux.bath

 

If you have any problems or you feel that linux.bath is not providing the functionality that you need, get in touch.

 

Phishing attack change of name request.

  

📥  Security

We are getting reports of a phishing email that has been sent to students and staff at the University. If you receive this email please be aware that it is fake. Please ignore it and delete it.

If you have clicked on the link you can visit the Service Desk on Level 2 of the Library, or log a help ticket for further advice.

Example of the phishing e-mail is below:

changeofnamephishing
Our guide on what to do if you receive a phishing email

You can read our guide to phishing emails.

 

Balena system maintenance: 14th - 21st July 2017

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📥  High Performance Computing (HPC)

On the weekend on 15/16th July there will be essential maintenance being carried out on the 5 West data-centre. For this work to be carried out, Balena will need to powered down for that weekend. Following on from this planned service interruption we are going to keep Balena offline for the following week to carry out our own essential maintenance on Balena, see details below.

Duration: 4pm, 14th of July to 21st July 2017

ClusterVision and the HPC Team will be working on the system during this period.

To note: -

  • All jobs will need to be dequeued before the Balena shutdown - we will put in a reservation to make sure there are no jobs in running state when the system in shutdown.
  • Balena will not be accessible, including your data, during this maintenance period.

Maintenance activities: -

  • Test emergency shutdown of Balena.
  • Upgrade OS (minor kernel update and security patches) on all nodes
  • Upgrade Bright Cluster Manager
  • Upgrade OFED (Infiniband driver + libraries) on all nodes and reinstall MPI libraries
  • Upgrade MySQL database on master nodes
  • BeeGFS - Parallel File-system
    • Firmware update
    • Enable user quota on inodes and data usage (informational only)
    • Re-tune meta-data partition

Please contact us at hpc-support@bath.ac.uk if you have any issues.

Team HPC