Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

Advancing the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing,
communications and data analytics.

The PSC Grant Management System

The simple, easy to use PSC Grant Management System is available to all PSC users to retrieve detailed information regarding their PSC allocation, job runs, and grant status. PIs and Co-PIs can use its powerful tools to manage their grants, including making some changes.

Acknowledgement in Publications

All publications, copyrighted or not, resulting from an allocation of computing time at PSC should include an acknowledgement. Please acknowledge both the funding source that supported your access to PSC and the specific PSC resources that you used.

We ask that you use the following text:

XSEDE supported research:

"This work used the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number OCI-1053575."

followed by an acknowledgement of any PSC resources that you used. For example:

"Specifically, it used the Blacklight system at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC)."

National Institutes of Health supported research:

"This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health through resources provided by the National Resource for Biomedical Supercomputing (P41 RR06009), which is part of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. "

followed by an acknowledgement of any PSC resources that you used. For example:

"Specifically, it used the Blacklight system at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC)."

Allocation and Affiliation Information

PSC welcomes resource requests for allocations of supercomputing time from qualified scientists, engineers, and science educators, and strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its research and research-related programs.

PSC provides free allocations for non-proprietary research in several categories. Users conducting proprietary research who are interested in using PSC systems can do so by establishing an affiliation through the center's Corporate Affiliates Program.

The policies documented here are evaluated regularly to assure adequate and responsible administration of PSC systems for users. As such, they are subject to change at any time.

There are several tools you can use to track your account usage data. User accounting data is available with the xbanner command. Account information including the initial SU allocation for a grant, the number of unused SUs remaining for a grant and the date of the last job that charged to a grant are displayed.

Accounting information is available at the Web-based PSC Grant Management System. You will need your PSC Kerberos password to access this system. This system provides more detailed information than xbanner, although some of the information is only available to PIs, co-PIS and individuals designated by the PI to see accounting data. The system has extensive internal documentation.

You can use the xdusage command on blacklight to see your blacklight accounting data. You can also use the -r option to xdusage to check your accounting data on other XSEDE resources. A man page is available for xdusage as well as online documentation.

Finally, the Portal login dashboard displays your accounting data for all your XSEDE resources.

Types of allocations

Proprietary research

PSC contracts with U.S. and foreign institutions for the direct purchase of supercomputing time for proprietary research. Please contact the PSC Corporate Affiliates Program to inquire.

Non-proprietary research

Funding from the NSF and the NIH enables PSC to provide allocations of free supercomputing time to researchers and educators affiliated with academic and non-profit research institutions in the United States. Projects must be nonproprietary and awardees are wholly responsible for conducting their research project activities and preparing results for publication.

PSC welcomes resource requests for allocations of supercomputing time from qualified scientists, engineers, and science educators, and strongly encourages women, minorities, and persons with disabilities to participate fully in its research and research-related programs.

To apply, you must be a researcher or educator at a Pennsylvania or US academic or non-profit research institution. A principal investigator (PI) may not be a high school, undergraduate or graduate student; a qualified advisor must serve in this capacity. Postdocs are eligible to serve as PI.

If you are eligible to apply for an allocation under both the Pennsylvania and the NSF Cyberinfrastructure programs, we recommend that you apply under the NSF program.

NSF Program

Researchers or educators affiliated with academic or non-profit research institutions in the United States may apply to use PSC resources through the NSF's XSEDE program.

Allocations are given in three categories: Start-up allocations, which explore the use of high-performance computing in research; Research allocations; and Coursework allocations, which  supplement undergraduate courses that benefit from the use of high-performance computing.

See the Coursework section below for information on Coursework allocations.

Start-up or Research allocations are managed through the XSEDE program. Apply through the XSEDE portal. You will need an XSEDE portal account to request an allocation. If you do not have an account, you can create one on the XSEDE portal site.

Resource requests are reviewed and allocations awarded on regular intervals throughout the year. For specific deadlines and additional information, see the XSEDE web site.

Biomedical research

Research that is biomedical in nature is supported by the Biomedical Appliations Group at PSC.  Application materials can be found  on the PSC grant application site.

Coursework grants

A primary mission of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is to train students, including undergraduates, on the proper use of supercomputers. To this end, PSC offers Coursework allocations which are grants of free supercomputing time to supplement other teaching tools.

Typically, Coursework allocations have been used in heavily quantitative courses, such as numerical methods, computational fluid dynamics, and computational chemistry. But we encourage faculty members from all fields, including the social sciences and humanities, to take advantage of Coursework allocations.

Requests for biomedical Coursework accounts should be made through the PSC grant application site

Requests for non-biomedical Coursework accounts should be made through XSEDE.

Managing your Accounts

On this page, you will find information to help you manage your allocation of computing time. 

Responsibilities of Principal Investigators

In addition to following the policies laid out for all PSC users, PIs are responsible for adding all members of the research team to an account, and for renewing accounts when necessary.

Adding users to an account

Each member of your research team should be provided with their own individual account. Such accounts charge against the PI's research grant. The PI's billing statements will show the usage and charges incurred by each account under the grant, providing additional administrative control. With each research team member documented, papers published under the name of any member of the team will be readily attributable to the PI's research project and PSC allocation.

Additional user accounts must be authorized by the PI. To add a user, the PI must complete an online form.

If you are renewing an allocation, keep in mind that all active users are automatically reactivated when the allocation is renewed.

Applicable forms

  • Information and the form to add users to an NSF Cyberinfrastructure allocation is online from the XSEDE web site.

Renewing your allocation

All allocations except Coursework Allocations are for a one-year period and are renewable annually.   The duration of a Coursework Allocation is specified when the allocation is awarded.

Service Units unused at the allocation expiration or renewal date are forfeited.

All active users are reauthorized when an allocation is renewed.

PSC requests that a copy of any publications (preprints or reprints) resulting from reseach done on PSC systems be sent to the PSC Allocation Coordinator. All publications resulting from work done on a PSC allocation should include an acknowledgement.

Renewing an NSF Cyberinfrastructure Allocation

Visit the XSEDE web site to renew an NSF allocation.

Renewing a Coursework Allocation

To renew a Coursework Allocation, send email to the PSC Allocations Coordinator which includes the same information needed to apply for a new Coursework allocation. Be sure to justify any significant increase in the service units requested.

Responsibilities of all PSC Users

Usage Charges

Information about charging algorithms and tracking the charges on an allocation are given in the documentation for each PSC computing resource. See the PSC machine specific pages for details.

When appropriate, PSC provides refunds for jobs that failed due to circumstances beyond your control.

To request a refund, contact a PSC consultant or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the case of batch jobs, we require the standard error and output files produced by the job. These contain information needed in order to refund the job.

Users are responsible for knowing and following PSC policies on passwords and on computer abuse.

Acknowledgement in publications

All publications resulting from a PSC allocation should include an acknowledgement.

In addition, PSC requests that a copy of any publications, preprints, or reprints resulting from research done on PSC systems be sent to the Allocations Department.

Following PSC policies

All users are responsible for knowing and adhering to PSC policies, especially those on passwords and abuse of computing resources.

Users must also be aware of and follow other PSC policies, including allocations policies and those on security and file retention after a grant expires.

See the PSC policy page.

PSC Allocation Policies

General policy information is given here. If you have questions, please contact the PSC Allocations Coordinator.

  • Allocations are awarded for a one-year period and are renewable annually.
  • The PI must authorize all users that should be given access to the allocation. See the additional user policy.
  • Service units unused at the allocation expiration or renewal date are forfeited.
  • All currently active users are renewed when an allocation is renewed.
  • Copies of any preprints or reprints of publications from allocation-related work should be forwarded to the Allocations Coordinator.
  • Please verify that support from PSC and/or other supporting agencies is acknowledged as required under the terms of your allocation.

Frequently Asked Questions about PSC Allocations

How do I apply for an allocation at PSC?
Instructions, eligibility guidelines and applications are available on the PSC website.
What kinds of allocations are available?
Start-up Allocations are available for system exploration, feasibility studies, benchmarking and code optimization. This is often a preliminary step to requesting a full Research Allocation.

Larger Research Allocations are available to support the computational requirements of research projects.

Coursework Allocations are available to faculty of teaching institutions at all academic levels to supplement traditional teaching methods in all curricular areas.

More information is available on the PSC web pages.

How long does an allocation last?
All allocations except Coursework Allocations are for a one-year period and are renewable annually.  Coursework Allocations last for the period of the course, as specified by the instructor in the application materials.
If I get a small Start-up Allocation must I wait a year to get a Research allocation?
No, you may apply for a Research Allocation at any time. Start-up Allocations are typically used to do test runs, obtain code performance measurements, and collect other information needed in a request for a Research Allocation.
Can I have more than one allocation at a time?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of allocations for which you can apply. However, each must be for a scientifically distinct project.
Does it cost anything to apply?
No. Eligible projects receive free allocations of computational resources. To be eligible, projects must be nonproprietary and sponsored by a U.S. institution. Projects not eligible for free allocations may purchase system time by contacting the PSC Corporate Programs Office.
What is the deadline for resource requests?
Resource requests for Start-up Allocations and Coursework Allocations are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Resource requests for larger amounts of time through the NSF XSEDE program are considered at regular intervals. Please see https://www.xsede.org/allocations for specific dates.
Can an allocation be renewed?
Yes, except for small Start-up Allocations, which are for one year only. Research Allocations are renewable annually. Allow enough time for a renewal request to be considered before the allocation expires.
Is there a minimum or maximum I can ask for?
There is no minimum or maximum. Your resource request should ask for and include a detailed justification for the resources needed to support the research project for a one year period.
How are resource requests judged and what percent are approved?
Resource requests are reviewed on the basis of scientific and computational merit, potential for significant progress, and appropriateness of the requested resources for the proposed research. For a number of reasons, it is not possible to say any certain percent are approved. Some resource requests, for instance, strongly justify the resources requested and are awarded in full. Some resource requests are awarded only a part of their request. A very small percentage are denied any resources. In general, the more carefully you justify your request and the more fully you prove the efficiency of your code, the better your chance of being awarded an allocation. Detailed instructions for constructing a resource request are provided on the XSEDE web site.
How long does it take to get reviewed and how will I be notified if approved?
Coursework and Start-up Allocations are generally reviewed in 2-4 weeks from receipt and notice is provided by email within 2 weeks from review. If you have not heard anything within one month after submitting your resource request, you may wish to contact the PSC Allocations office to check on the status.

Research Allocation requests are reviewed as specified on XSEDE web site. Notice is provided by email within 2 weeks from review. If you have not heard anything within a month of the resource request deadline, you may wish to contact the PSC Allocations office to check on the status.

How can I change my PSC password?
You can change your Kerberos password by using the web-based PSC password change utility.
Where can I find help or documentation?
The PSC home page can be found at: http://www.psc.edu.

Information and the online application for NSF Cyberinfrastructure allocations is available at the  XSEDE User Portal.

Information about the Biomedical Applications group at the PSC, which supports computational biomedical research, can be found at index.php/biomedical-applications-group.

Email support for various topics is also available.

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