Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

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

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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