Frequently Asked Questions about HPC Accounts

How do I get an HPC account?

In order to apply for a new HPC account, please complete the account application at You must access this application web page from a USC IP address. If you are off-campus or are otherwise using a non-USC network connection, you will need to use the USC Virtual Private Network (VPN) in order to access this web page. For information on accessing the USC VPN, see the VPN Overview page on the ITS website.

HPC now supports secure data accounts. For more information on secure accounts and guidelines for applying for any type of HPC account, see the Applying for an HPC Account page.

I applied for an account and haven’t heard anything. How will I know when my account has been set up?

The approval process can vary between a few days and a few weeks so it’s best to plan ahead. If your application isn’t descriptive enough HPC may contact you for additional information. After your application has been approved it can take up to a week for your account to be created. These steps include creating a new Research Computing Facility (RCF) account; setting up your directories, groups, and permissions; and adding you to a database, cluster accounting system and mailing list. When your account is ready you will receive an email with your account information.

I forgot my password. How can I reset it?

HPC does not have access to passwords and cannot reset them. You can reset your USC NetID password at the Forgot your password? page or contact the ITS Customer Support Center at 213-740-5555 for assistance with resetting your account password.

What is a quota?

A quota can refer to any one of the following:

  • disk quota — the maximum allowed disk space available to you in your home or project directories.
  • file quota — the maximum allowed number of files you can store in your home or project directory.
  • computing (core hours) quota — the maximum allowed number of core hours available to you for running jobs.

Every project is configured with default quotas. Disk and file quotas for user home directories are permanent. Project principal investigators (PIs) may submit a request to increase their project, file, and computing quotas through the [? website]. For more information on quotas, see Getting Started with HPC.

You can check the quota on your RCF home directory by running the myquota command while logged into a head node.

You can also check your RCF home directory quota and your allocation’s project directory quota on the Checking Your Quotas page.

If your allocation’s project directory has become full, please send an email to for assistance.  Please note that HPC is unable to increase your RCF home directory’s quota.

To check your compute (core) hours, run the mybalance -h command.

How long will I be able to use my HPC account? Will my account access need to be renewed?

If you are a member of an HPC account, the PI can remove you at any time. Before the end of each fiscal year, the PI must renew the account to keep it active. Compute hours will expire mid-July and login access will expire around August. All members of non-renewed accounts will be removed approximately mid-October.

Will my account remain active if I leave USC?

If you are no longer working on an HPC project, your account will close around the start of the next semester after you leave. If you are a member of a HSDA, once you are no longer active with the university, your account will be disabled. Your data will not be deleted until your project’s PI requests that it be deleted. If you wish to continue working with someone on a project at USC, it’s possible to keep your account active. You will need to register for a USC guest account through iVIP with the support of the PI. Your department’s iVIP administrator can help with this.

My project collaborator is not at USC. Can they apply for an account?

A PI may request a USC guest account for a collaborator outside of the university through the iVIP system. Once an iVIP account has been created, the PI may then add the collaborator’s iVIP account to their HPC project.

How do I request more compute time and/or disk space for my project?

If you run out of compute time or project disk space, your PI can request more using the account application on the HPC project website.

How do I add someone to my project?

The PI of your project can add a user to the project’s account on the HPC project website.

Additional Questions?

For questions regarding HPC cluster resources, software on HPC, or education and training on HPC resources, click one of the following links: