SCF Principal Investigators Information
Table of contents
If you have not yet applied for a new project and are looking into doing so, please also read this information for prospective principal investigators. All users of our systems must be a member of a research project. The new project application is here.
The Boston University Scientific Computing Facilities (SCF) consist of a collection of high-performance computers, high-speed networks, and advanced visualization facilities. These facilities are managed by the Scientific Computing and Visualization (SCV) group of Information Services & Technology (IS&T) in close consultation with the Research Computing Governance Committee, the BU Center for Computational Science, and the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering. The shared services are offered free of charge.
As a principal investigator on a project, you have additional resources and responsibilities, which are described below.
As a principal investigator, it is your responsibility to keep track of and maintain your project. This is done via web pages we have set up for each project, which are accessible from our Resource Requests page. On these pages you can:
- Add, delete, or alter the status of users on your project.
- Request additional processor time or project disk space.
- Renew your project annually (required).
- Look at recent summaries of usage on your projects.
- Submit a request to start a new project.
All of the above actions except the last one will require you to enter your BU login ID and SCF (non-Kerberos) password. Access to information on your project is limited to you (and your Administrative Contact if you have one). Please note that although the password required to access the web forms is the same as your password to log in to the machines, it is only updated twice daily so if you change your password on the machines, you will need to wait a while before accessing the web pages for your projects using the new password. Also, note that your SCF password is different than your BU Kerberos password, even though the later password can also be used as an alternative to log in to our Linux systems.
On a new project where you are also getting a new account it may take a day or so after your account is set up and you have set your password for this information to propagate to the web pages so that you can access your project’s information.
Although there are no monetary charges for use of our shared servcies, all projects are given a specific annual usage allocation, in terms of “service units” (SUs). This allocation must be renewed (and adjusted if appropriate) annually. The table below shows the SU charge on each of our systems for 1 hour of CPU usage. This charge is based on clock speed and other performance-related factors:
|Cluster Name||Host Names||Processor Type & Speed||SU charge for each CPU hour|
|IBM Blue Gene||levi.bu.edu1, lee.bu.edu1||IBM Blue Gene (700 MHz PowerPC 440)||0.25|
|Katana Cluster||katana.bu.edu, katana-a02..a14, katana-b01..b08||2.6 GHz AMD Opteron 2218HE blades||1.0|
|Katana Cluster||katana-b09..b14||3.0 GHz Intel Xeon E5450 blades||1.5|
|Katana Cluster||katana-c01..c14||2.4 GHz AMD Opteron 2216HE blades||0.9|
|Katana Cluster||katana-d01..d08||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5570 blades (24GB Memory)||1.9|
|Katana Cluster||katana-d091, geo1||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5570 blades (24GB Memory)||1.9/0.01|
|Katana Cluster||katana-d11..d12||2.2 GHz AMD Opteron 275 blades (4GB Memory)||0.0|
|Katana Cluster||katana-d13..d14||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5570 blades (96GB Memory)||2.4|
|Katana Cluster||katana-e01..e031||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5670 blades (48GB Memory)||1.9/0.01|
|Katana Cluster||katana-e04..e131||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5670 blades (96GB Memory)||1.9/0.01|
|Katana Cluster||katana-h01..h02||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5670 blades (48GB Memory)||1.9|
|Katana Cluster||katana-j01..j08, katana-j23..j24||2.7 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2680 nodes (128GB Memory)||2.7/0.01|
|Katana Cluster||katana-j09..j22||2.7 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2680 nodes (64GB Memory)||2.7/0.01|
|Katana Cluster||katana-k01..k24||2.66 GHz Intel Xeon X5650 nodes (48GB Memory) +GPUs||1.8/0.01|
|Katana Cluster||katana-z01||2.93 GHz Intel Xeon X5670 node (24GB Memory)||1.9|
|Katana Cluster||katana-z02..z03||2.6 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2670 nodes (64GB Memory)||2.2|
|Katana Cluster||katana-z04..s06||2.5 GHz Intel Xeon E5-2640 nodes (96GB Memory)||2.2|
|Katana Cluster||budge03..budge22||3.07 GHz Intel Xeon X5675 nodes (48GB Memory) +GPUs||2.2|
Note that by “CPU” we are referring to a single “core.”
Since we like to have a rough idea of the anticipated load on each machine, requests are made for the number of CPU-hours on specific machines, and these are converted to SUs. However, your SU allocation may be spent on any of the machines to which you have access. Your CPU-time usage will be reported to you in SUs.
As an example, let’s say you request 4000 CPU-hours on the Blue Gene. You will be awarded 1000 SUs (4000*0.25). You could use your 1000 SUs to run 4000 CPU-hours on the Blue Gene (1000/0.25) or 667 CPU-hours on the 3.0 GHz Katana blades (1000/1.5) or some combination of usage on the various systems. Note that even though the Katana Cluster contains blades with several different charge rates, SUs are awarded at the rate of 1.0 SU per requested CPU-hour.
Projects which exceed their allocation will be prohibited from running additional jobs. It is your responsibility as a principal investigator to monitor your project’s usage and to request an appropriate allocation of time/SUs. Information on accounts and allocations may also be found on the Accounts & Project Maintenance pages.
The default allocation is a combined 500 SUs. You can request a larger allocation during your annual project renewal or at other times by submitting the “Request Additional CPU Allocation” form, which can be found by following the appropriate link on the Resource Requests page. Large allocation requests are reviewed by the SCF Allocation Committee and generally require approximately one to two months for a decision. All projects must be renewed annually (or at the project’s end date; whichever is sooner) at which time the project’s SU allocation is reset to the new year’s amount. Left-over SUs from the prior year do not carry over to the new year.
Each month we will send you a summary of usage and remaining allocations for each of your projects. Individual researchers on your projects will be sent a summary of their own usage for each project they are on. Individuals may also review the details of their recent usage and monthly summary information using the password protected web pages which may be found under the Accounts & Project Maintenance page.
Individuals are automatically granted disk space in their home directories. However, many projects will need additional space. You, as the principal investigator, may request a disk space allocation for your project group on either or both of the /project file system or the /projectnb file system for your projects. This space is intended for use by projects which need large quantities of (shared) disk space. The difference between the two file systems is that /project is backed up nightly while /projectnb is not backed up at all. More information is available on the Project Disk Space web page.
Queries regarding any information in this document should be directed to email@example.com.