The Equipment Retirement Incentive Program, aka Cash for Clunkers, is a program to provide incentives for researchers to replace old and inefficient, on-campus equipment with new equipment using a cost-effective, shared-service model at the MGHPCC data center resulting in updated, more powerful computing for the researcher and space and power savings for the University. The program is offered in collaboration with sustainability@BU in an effort to reduce the University’s energy consumption. This program works hand in hand with the Research Computing Buy-in Program, old equipment is traded in for a credit towards new equipment purchased as part of the Buy-in Program and incorporated into the Shared Computing Cluster at the MGHPCC. The highlights of the Program are:

  • Incentivize the retirement of old equipment by offering a credit of up to 50% of the cost of replacement equipment while increasing computational capacity.
  • Encourage researchers to replace siloed equipment with shared resources through the Buy-in Program.
  • Control/eliminate costs for supporting antiquated equipment.
  • Free up valuable campus space, particularly expensive computer room space.
  • Reduce University power costs.
  • Offered to all University faculty on a first-come, first-served, time-limited (6 months) basis.
  • At least 40 Buy-in Program servers will be funded under the program.
  • Core-for-core trade-in for up to 50% of the cost of a Buy-in Value or Econo-node, e.g. trade-in 8 cores for 50% off a new 16-core node, 4-cores for 25% off, etc. Equivalent dollar value may be applied to other configuration options.
  • New cores are likely to be far more powerful and have much more memory and disk than the traded-in equipment.
  • Within 30 days of new equipment being placed into production, old equipment will be collected and recycled. Recycling is being coordinate with the Sustainability@BU.

How it works

This program allows you to trade-in your old, high-mileage, under-powered and energy-inefficient compute servers, possibly housed in the corner of your lab, for the latest-model, high-powered, energy-efficient servers housed in the modern, environmentally friendly Massachusetts High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC).

Here is how it works. You trade-in your old, but operational, on-campus compute servers in exchange for a credit of up to 50% of the cost of a new Economy Node or Value Node in the Research Computing Buy-in Program. The trade-in works on a core-for-core basis – trade in 8 cores and get 50% off the cost of a new 16-core server. Your new servers will be installed at the MGHPCC as part of the Shared Computing Cluster with priority access for you and your designated collaborators. Depending on the age of your trade-in, your new cores are likely to be far more capable (approximately four times for five-year old equipment), as well as having far more memory and disk. Additionally, you get to scale-out your computations to the full cluster (currently more than 6000 CPU cores and 100,000 GPU cores), as well as take advantage of high-performance storage and very fast networking. Additional benefits to being part of the Buy-in Program on the Shared Computing Cluster include subsidized pricing, availability of a large collection of staff installed and maintained scientific software packages, and access to Research Computing staff who can help you use the system, port and optimize codes and provide training. Thirty days after your new equipment is placed into production, we will arrange to have your old equipment picked up and recycled.

This program is funded to upgrade at least 40 new servers and is being offered on a first-come, first-served basis to all University faculty for a limited time (6 months). Equipment to be traded in must be installed on-campus and operational. To apply, please fill in and submit the Web form below. Once we have received your application, we will make arrangements to inventory the equipment at your location and issue your credit. All configurations and options of the Buy-in program are available under this offer, however, trade-in credit is limited to 50% of the cost of an Economy or Value Node.

How to Apply

Please review materials on the Shared Computing Cluster, the Buy-in Program, select the new equipment you wish to purchase from Buy-in menu, and then fill out the online
Cash-for-Clunkers application form. If you have questions or would like help is selecting replacement equipment, please contact us by email at buyin@rcs.bu.edu.