All Projects, accounts, and resource allocations on the Shared Computing Cluster (SCC) are managed by a separate web-based system enabling Lead Project Investigators (LPIs) and/or their optional IT/Administrative Contacts to create and maintain projects, manage project members, request and monitor resources, and submit an annual renewal. Accessing your web materials on the RCS Project Management web site requires authentication with your BU login and Kerberos password. Once authenticated, you should be sent to a page listing all Research Projects on which you are either the Lead Project Investigator or IT/Administrative Contact. Choose the appropriate action within the set of forms for the project you wish to make a change to.
Once you have filled out a form, carefully read any messages you get back after clicking on Submit to make sure your submission was successful. Accounts are created on the Shared Computing Cluster (SCC).
Note that IT/Administrative Contacts have all of the same privileges and can perform the same functions as the LPIs.
Below are descriptions of the policies and procedures for maintaining your Project. All of the forms described below are accessed by logging in to the RCS Project Management web site.
Add a Researcher to your Project
There are separate forms for adding internal users (current BU undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, staff, and postdocs) and external users (all others including those who had a past affiliation with BU).
The Add internal (BU affiliated) user to Project form found on the RCS Project Management web site requires you to enter the researcher’s name and BU login. If you have already added an external user to another of your projects so that he or she already has a SCC account, you may thereafter use this simpler internal user form to add him or her to additional projects. We only need to collect the more detailed external user information once.
The Add external user to Project form found on the RCS Project Management web site requires additional information including his/her BUID if they have one, contact information, country of citizenship, and other requested information. If the researcher does not already have a BUID, one will be created for him/her and emailed to the email address you provide on the form. As mentioned above, this more detailed form only needs to be used the first time you add a new external person to one of your projects.
Change (or Create) an Expiration Date for a User on one of Your Projects
Either the Delete/modify users from/on your Project form or the Renew/Change Project form found on the RCS Project Management web site can be used to create or modify an expiration date for a user or group of users on your project. The Delete/modify users form is somewhat simpler to use for this purpose. Setting an expiration date allows you to specify the period of time that a researcher is on your project (for example, only during the summer).
Remove User(s) from a Project
The Delete/modify users from/on your Project form found on the RCS Project Management web site also allows you to remove users form your project. For each researcher you wish to delete, simply change the indicator under “Delete User?” from No to Yes. Note that in many cases it would be courteous to give a brief grace period by setting an expiration date rather than simply selecting Delete. Note that if a researcher is on another Project, their access to the SCC will not be interrupted. Also note that your own name will not be included on the list as we generally require Lead Project Investigators to have an account on their own project.
For each Project, SCC batch processing usage is tracked and reported as CPU time (a.k.a. run time). Allocations, charges, and credits for use are made in “service units” (SUs). The conversion rate between CPU hours “used” and SUs “charged” varies greatly depending on the capabilities of the various nodes and discounts due to the Buy-in program that apply to certain Projects and their users. There are no monetary charges for use of the shared resources, but all projects are given an initial annual SU allocation. Each project’s allocation must be renewed (and adjusted if appropriate) annually.
Projects which are authorized to use specific Buy-in nodes are not charged for the use of those nodes, that is, no SUs will be deducted from their allocation for the CPU hours used. Those project members may, of course, submit jobs to other nodes and will be charged the non-owner rate for those nodes. Buy-in owners who return their unused cycles back to the Pool will automatically receive full SU credit for the time used by non-owners.
Service Units (SUs)
Different compute nodes have different SU charge rates based on performance-related factors such as clock speed. Details on the rates for all nodes are listed in the Technical Summary. Currently, the great majority of SCC nodes have a charge rate of 1.0 for Shared use so for every CPU hour used, you will be charge the same number of SUs.
On the SCC, you will be charged for the amount of wall clock time on each processor you request; if you request 10 processors and your job runs for 6 hours on a set of nodes with an SU charge rate of 1.0, you will be charged 60 SUs (10 processors * 6 hours * 1.0 SU charge rate). Note that requesting a longer run time slot does not increase the charge; if you request 12 hours but your job only runs for 6 hours, you will only be charged for the 6 hours you actually ran.
The default allocation is 1,000 SUs. Larger and/or additional allocations can be requested on the new Project request form, on the annual renewal form, or at any other time by submitting the Request Additional Processor Time (in SUs) form found on the RCS Project Management web site.
Lead Project Investigators are generally limited to an initial allocation request of up to 10,000 SUs. They may then, during the project year, request two additional increases of up to 10,000 SUs each to bring their total allocation up to a maximum of 30,000 SUs and all of these requests will be approved without review. Several smaller increases that amount to a total of less than 30,000 SUs are fine as well.
Large Allocations on Shared Resources
Requests for more than 30,000 SUs in a given Research Computing Project year must be reviewed by the SCC Large Allocation Review Committee (LARC). Each Lead Project Investigator (LPI) is also limited to a maximum of 180,000 SUs total over all of his or her projects combined before requiring review by the LARC.
The Large Allocation Review Committee meets monthly and is composed of Faculty representing both the CRC and BUMC campuses as well as Research Computing staff. Based on the material provided in the application for resources, they will deliberate on:
- Funding and/or intellectual merit
- Technical efficiency study
- Resource availability review
Reporting/Monitoring SU Usage
The LPI and optional IT/Administrative Contact should monitor his/her project’s usage
- Each month LPIs and/or IT/Administrative Contacts are emailed a summary of usage and remaining allocations for both SUs and Project Disk Space/STASH for each of their projects. In addition, individual researchers are sent a more detailed report of their own CPU time usage for each project they are on.
- LPIs and/or IT/Administrative Contacts may view the history of their Project’s resource usage on the Examine past monthly usage reports for this project page found on the RCS Project Management web site.
- Individual researchers may review a snapshot of how much CPU time (in SUs) and Project Disk Space is still available for each project they are a member of. This is done via the RCS User Information page.
- In addition to emailed reports and usage monitoring web pages, the RCS developed utility acctool is available to aid in tracking CPU usage. Type
acctool -helpon any of the login nodes to get more information. An example command to show a particular user’s usage for all of January 2014 in minimal detail is
acctool -host all -detail -1 -user koleinik 1/01/14 1/31/14.
The Request additional processor time (in SUs) form found on the RCS Project Management web site should be used to request an increased SU allocation beyond the amount initially set when you created or last renewed your project.
Projects that exceed their allocation cannot run additional batch jobs until a request for additional SUs has been submitted. However, running interactive jobs on the login nodes and access to home directories and Project Disk Space can continue as usual.
Projects that have a negative SU balance can continue to submit and run batch jobs as long as a request for additional SUs has been submitted.
Project Renewal and SUs
All projects must be renewed annually 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 project year.
For more details on the types of storage allocations available (Free Baseline, Buy-in, and Storage-as-a-Service); the differences in the partitions; the value of Snapshots; and the requirements of using STASH, please see detailed information on Storage on the SCC.
Monitor Project Disk Usage
- The newly revised Manage/request Project Disk Space web form on the RCS Project Management web site provides a breakdown of allocation and usage of Project Disk Space/STASH for each of your projects. For those projects with an allocation from one or more Buy-in Pools, it also provides a breakdown of how much of the project’s quota is coming from each Pool.
- Each month LPIs and optional Administrative Contacts are emailed a summary of usage and remaining allocations for both SUs and Project Disk Space/STASH for each of their projects.
- Individual researchers may also review their current Project Disk Space usage for each project they are a member of via the Research Computing User Information page.
- There is a command line tool available called
pquotafor checking Project Disk/STASH usage and quota. An explanation and example of using this command is on the Checking How Much Space you are Using page.
Manage/Request Project Disk or STASH Space
There are two web forms on the RCS Project Management web site for requesting additional quota. The recently revised Manage/request Project Disk Space form should be used to request additional Free Baseline Project Disk quota, quota from an existing Buy-in Pool which you already have an allocation from, and STASH quota. The form now includes, by partition, a breakdown of the allocations from each relevant Pool as well as data on the current usage and available space for the project in each partition. If you wish to get an allocation from a Buy-in Pool which your project does not currently have an allocation from, you will need to ask the Buy-in Pool authorizer to grant your project the allocation. Free Baseline Project Disk quota allocations may be up to a maximum of 1 TB (1000 GB) with no more than 200 GB of backed up space.
The Purchase “Storage as a Service” Project Disk/STASH allocation form also found on the RCS Project Management web site gives you the option of renting additional space for a shorter term than Buy-in. The minimum purchase amount is 1 TB and the cost is $91/TB/Year. Financial contact information is a required element on the form.
As your project approaches its annual end date, LPIs and optional IT/Administrative Contacts will receive a renewal notification. Go to the RCS Project Management web site and select the Renew/Change Project form. Select Active on the form to have your project continue, indicate which of your current users are still on your project, and answer all other questions on the form. Projects must be renewed once a year. If you would like to end your project, you can do nothing or you can submit the Renewal form to mark the project Finished and thus avoid further reminder emails.
The Renew/Change Project form can actually be submitted at any time of the year in order to do tasks such as removing inactive users from the project. However it only acts as the mandatory annual renewal during the 60 days prior to the project’s end/renewal date and during this period it asks for more comprehensive information, including how much CPU time (measured in SUs) the project will need during the following year.