Why Nero

Nero is designed to support Big Data team science. Big Data research benefits from the availability of High Risk and PHI compliant environments, whether for analysis of social network data or health data. Nero brings the analytical communities across different disciplines together to work in a collaborative and secure environment.

Nero's Benefits

Highly Secure

Nero's platform meets or exceeds Stanford's minimum security standards for High Risk and Protected Health Information (PHI) data. The platform is managed by experienced IT staff to meet data security requirements. Researchers can focus on science—no need to deal with the hassle, expense, and risk of operating and maintaining their own servers. Standard analytical software like Jupyter Notebook, STATA and R are also patched by the IT staff.

Available and flexible

Nero is configured with access to the most commonly used tools for data analytics, analysis and modeling.  Additional tools that are essential to your computational work can be evaluated and then added to the platform by the support team to help you get your science done. 

Supports projects at any scale

Nero has been designed to support projects for groups of all sizes while preserving the guiding philosophy of paying utmost attention to data security and privacy.  It’s the ideal platform for working with Big Data securely.

Easy to use

Interactive programming environments dominate scientific computing today.  Whether you compute on-premise or on Cloud, Nero's computational environment is provided by Jupyter, a standard, approachable framework for scientific computing that is familiar to most.  This has the added benefit of letting you, the researcher, focus on your science and not the details of installing, patching and updating software.

Works with tools you already use

You will find that there is not a steep learning curve for Nero.  You will be able to jumpstart your work by leveraging Nero’s complement of basic analysis packages, including Jupyter, R, and Python.  For those who license SAS and Stata, your Nero environment can have those added. And if you are already familiar with Sherlock or SCG, Slurm is on Nero to help manage job scheduling.

Tailored to you

Requests for new capabilities can be easily submitted; the Nero support team will evaluate them to ensure security and privacy compliance and then can make those available to you.  The infrastructure available today includes resources well-suited to accelerate your science--GPUs, large-scale memory systems, etc. Cloud Nero includes access to a large suite of HIPAA compliant Google Big Data services like Big Query, Dataflow, Dataproc,  Spanner, Kubernetes, etc.

Who Can Use Nero?

Nero is available to any researcher working at Stanford.

However, in order to use Nero for High Risk and PHI data, the researcher must go through a Data Risk Assessment for each new data set brought into the environment. The Stanford Information Security Office (ISO) and the University Privacy Office (UPO) evaluate projects based on all applicable security and privacy laws and regulations, as well as University policy. Once the DRA is approved, the dataset can be brought on the Nero platform.


Nero System Summary

Nero's platform has an on-premise High Performance Computing footprint as well as Cloud integration.

On-premise infrastructure is based on the Kubernetes framework, an open-source container-orchestration framework for automating deployment and management of containerized applications. The infrastucture consists of high-memory servers and GPU-enabled servers backed by CEPH storage. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is the first cloud offering for Nero platform.

The platform is designed for Big Data analytics, and a typical suite of analytical tools such as Jupyter, R, Python, SAS, Stata and Slurm are available. On GCP, researchers can additionally access HIPAA compliant cloud native products such as BigQuery, Dataflow, Pub/Sub etc.


Let's Get Started

Learn even more about Nero, including how to get started with the platform.