Applying for an HPC Account

Please read Before Applying for an Account before submitting an application so that you understand HPC expectations for account holders.

Completing an Application

To apply for a new HPC or HSDA account, go to https://hpc-web.usc.edu/projects and complete the application. Shibboleth is required for access. If you have issues accessing the application, see the Accessing the Application Website page .

Once approved, PIs will use this site to manage their project information, add and remove members to and from a project, and request additional disk and computing resources for their projects. PIs may request more than one project if they are working on multiple projects that require HPC resources.

Application Guidelines

Applications for accounts are reviewed by HPC management and processed within two business weeks. All applications are evaluated on the basis of their technical merit and accomplishments. Proposals for large allocations are granted based on the justification of computational needs and a demonstration of effective use of the HPC computing resources.

Filling out the application form correctly is the first step to avoiding delays in processing your application. Fill out the following fields on the application, using the instructions below:

  • Project Title: The title should be descriptive.
  • Project Abstract: Describe the context and goals of your project.
  • Project Methodology: Describe your research from a computational perspective, include the nature of the data and the software you plan to use and install.
  • Project Justification: Describe how HPC computing resources will be used in your research and how they will help you achieve your goals.
  • Project Keywords: Provide search tags.
  • Initial Resource Request: If you know in advance that you will need more core hours or disk space, you may increase the default allocations now. If you are not sure, leave the defaults and increase them as needed. All members associated with an account share the resources allocated to that account. See the section “Core hours and disk quota” below, for an explanation and limits.
  • HSDA: If you are applying for an HPC secure data account (HSDA), be certain to select the secure data option on the application before submitting it for approval. The HSDA PI must submit a signed HPC Secure Data Agreement before the application will be deemed complete and processing begins.
  • Policies: Please review the policies that govern use of HPC resources.
When Your Account Is Ready

When an account is ready, the PI and all new members of their project(s) will receive email that includes:

  • Instructions for logging into HPC.
  • The location of your HPC home and project directories.
  • Links to resources to help you get started using HPC.

New PIs and members should log into HPC as soon as possible and confirm that their directories and quotas are set up correctly. See the New User Guide for help logging into HPC. See Checking Your Quotas for help on how to check your disk quota.

Please note: The email addresses provided by the account’s PI, for themselves and their account members, will automatically be subscribed to the hpc-announce-l mailing list for important system announcements. It is the responsibility of the PI to ensure that valid email addresses are provided.

Using Your New HPC Account

See HPC’s New User Guide, Documentation, and Getting Help pages for help getting started.

HPC highly recommends that all new PIs and members attend a new user onboarding session or meet (as a group or individually) with an HPC facilitator (required for HSDA members.) To request a meeting, fill out a consultation request from the Office Hours and Consultations web page. In addition, HPC offers workshops on Linux, HPC, parallel MATLAB and more.

Core Hours Quota

Time on the computing resource is allocated in core hours. To determine your core hours, multiply the total number of CPU cores you will be using, across all nodes, by how many hours you will be using them. For example, the use of 16 CPU cores for 10 hours is counted as 160 core hours. Leave the default allocation if you are unsure how many core hours to request. You may request an increase at any time.

Disk and File Quotas

There are both disk size quotas and file number quotas for your home and project directories. The 1GB storage quota for your home directory is the same for every HPC user and is non-expandable. The default for your project directory is 100 GB. There is 5TB, single account limit, and a maximum 10 TB aggregate quota for multiple accounts under a single PI.

The file number quota is based on the disk quota. Requests for increases to the number of files quota requires justification and must be emailed to hpc@usc.edu. Due to file system limitations, not all number of files quota increases can be approved.

Getting Help

If you have any questions about applying for an HPC account, please contact us at hpc@usc.edu.