Introducing the NVIDIA DGX BasePOD™

As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) continue to change how academic research is conducted, the NVIDIA DGX BasePOD, or BasePOD, brings new AI and ML functionality UVA’s High-Performance Computing (HPC) system. The BasePOD is a cluster of high-performance GPUs that allows large deep-learning models to be created and utilized at UVA.

The NVIDIA DGX BasePOD™ on Rivanna and Afton, hereafter referred to as the POD, is comprised of:

  • 10 DGX A100 nodes with
    • 2TB of RAM memory per node
    • 80 GB GPU memory per GPU device

Compared to the regular GPU nodes, the POD contains advanced features such as:

  • NVLink for fast multi-GPU communication
  • GPUDirect RDMA Peer Memory for fast multi-node multi-GPU communication
  • GPUDirect Storage with 200 TB IBM ESS3200 (NVMe) SpectrumScale storage array

which makes it ideal for the following types of jobs:

  • The job needs multiple GPUs on a single node or even multiple nodes.
  • The job (can be single- or multi-GPU) is I/O intensive.
  • The job (can be single- or multi-GPU) requires more than 40 GB GPU memory. (The non-POD nodes with the highest GPU memory are the regular A100 nodes with 40 GB GPU memory.)

Detailed specs can be found in the official document (Chapter 3.1).

Accessing the POD

The POD nodes are contained in the gpu partition with a specific Slurm constraint, requested with -C or --constraint=.

Slurm script

#SBATCH -p gpu
#SBATCH --gres=gpu:a100:N # replace N with the number of GPUs per node requested
#SBATCH -C gpupod

Open OnDemand

Select NVIDIA A100 in the GPU type dropdown. Select the number requested in the appropriate textbox. Select Yes for Show Additional Options. Into the h “Optional: Slurm Option” textbox type:



  1. Before running on multiple nodes, please make sure the job can scale well to 8 GPUs on a single node.
  2. Multi-node jobs on the POD should request all GPUs on the nodes, i.e. --gres=gpu:a100:8.
  3. You may have already used the POD by simply requesting an A100 node without the constraint, since 18 out of the total 20 A100 nodes are POD nodes.
  4. As we expand our infrastructure, there could be changes to the Slurm directives and job resource limitations in the future. Please keep an eye out for our announcements and documentation.

Usage examples

Deep learning

As of October 3, 2023 we are migrating toward NVIDIA’s NGC containers for deep learning frameworks such as PyTorch (2.0+) and TensorFlow (2.13+), as they have been heavily optimized to achieve excellent multi-GPU performance.

MPI codes

Please check the manual of your code regarding the relationship between the number of MPI ranks and the number of GPUs. For computational chemistry codes (e.g. VASP, QuantumEspresso, LAMMPS) the two are oftentimes equal, e.g.

#SBATCH --gres=gpu:a100:8
#SBATCH --ntasks-per-node=8

If you are building your own code, please load the modules nvhpc and cuda which provide NVIDIA compilers and CUDA libraries. The compute capability of the POD A100 is 8.0.

For documentation and demos, refer to the “Resources” section at the bottom of this page.

GPU-enabled modules

A complete list of GPU-enabled modules on the HPC system can be found here. Please refer to their respective pages and/or module load messages (if any) for usage instructions.