High-Performance Computing Services

High-Performance Computing (HPC) Services plans, manages, and supports high-performance computing systems for the NIH research community. 

A key HPC system is Biowulf, which is physically located in the CIT Data Center. Biowulf is a cluster of computers linked together to provide high-throughput processing (acquiring and processing data in parallel, rapidly and intelligently) for simultaneous computing jobs and large-scale distributed memory tasks.

The NIH Biowulf cluster is the only large-scale HPC resource dedicated to supporting all investigators in the NIH Intramural Research Program. As a centrally funded service available to all Intramural Research Program scientists, Biowulf uniquely offers cost-effective and efficient HPC services, providing economies of scale and a dedicated staff with expertise in high-performance computing and biomedical applications.

Biomedical research relies heavily on high-performance computers to perform large-scale data analysis and computationally intensive calculations in areas such as genomics, bioimaging, molecular dynamics, and machine learning. Hundreds of scientific software applications are also available to run on Biowulf.

A “Biowulf cluster” is a scalable supercomputer architecture that uses commodity hardware, on a private network, with open-source Linux software. “Biowulf” is a play on the name “Beowulf,” acknowledging the important biomedical research performed at NIH. Originally conceived in 1994, Biowulf clusters continue to predominate the high-performance computing arena, evolving to incorporate new technology, including graphics processing units, high-speed low-latency networks, and multiprocessor computers.

See more information on the High-Performance Scientific Computing Capability.


Other High-Performance Computing Services


A cluster of thousands of computers networked together to provide high-throughput processing for simultaneous computing jobs and large-scale distributed memory tasks.


An interactive system for short computing jobs.


A “software on demand” service that provides scientific software that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops.




Contact Us

For more information about High-Performance Computing Services, contact:

To request a specific service, contact the NIH Service Desk:

  • NIH Service Desk website
  • 301-496-4357 (local)
  • 866-319-4357 (toll-free) 
  • 301-496-8294 (TTY)
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