Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

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

PSC Policies for User Accounts

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.

See also PSC policies on:

Email Settings

Email is a critical part of PSC's means of communicating with users. It is therefore very important for you to make sure your email arrives in a location that you read often.

By default, email sent to you at a PSC machine is sent to username@psc.edu. Email sent to this address will be forwarded to the account specified on your initial grant application or additional user form.

To change this forwarding address at any time, send notification to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

File Retention

PSC provides file archive system, where users are expected to store most of their files.

Files archived on the PSC archival system are retained for 3 months after the affiliated grant has expired.

Charges for Resources

PSC charges are intended to encourage efficient and productive use of the center's resources. With that in mind, the policies documented below are subject to change as necessary to accomodate efficient and productive use.

Service Units

Users are charged in terms of "Service Units", or "SUs". In general, we try to maintain the following definition of a service unit across our machines:

One Service Unit = the charge for a batch job requiring an average amount of memory and running for 1 CPU hour

The number of service units charged then closely approximates the number of CPU hours used.

Requesting a Refund

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.

Maintenance Downtimes

The following times are reserved for system maintenance.

Note that the machines will not always be down at these times. However, PSC reserves the right to use these scheduled times for maintenance as necessary.

SGI UV System (Blacklight)    Wed 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Archiver (HSM) Wed. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
AFS Tue 7-9 a.m.
Unix platforms Thu 7-9 a.m.
Gigapop Tue & Fri 7-8 a.m.
PSC production network Tue & Fri 7-8 a.m.

PSC password policy

Computer security depends heavily on maintaining secrecy of passwords.

PSC uses Kerberos authentication on all its production systems, and your PSC password (also known as your Kerberos password) is the same on all PSC machines.

Set your initial PSC password

When you receive a PSC account, go to the web-based PSC password change utility to set your password.  For security, you should use a unique password for your PSC account, not one that you use for other sites.

Change your PSC password

Changing your password changes it on all PSC systems. To change your Kerberos password, use the web-based PSC password change utility .

Please note that changing your password on the XSEDE Portal does not change it on PSC systems and will not prevent your PSC password from expiring.

PSC password requirements:

Your password must:

  • be at least eight characters long
  • contain characters from at least three of the following groups:
    • lower-case letters
    • upper-case letters
    • digits
    • special characters, excluding apostrophes (') and quotes (")
  • be different from the last three PSC passwords you have used
  • be changed at least once per year

Password safety

Under NO circumstances does PSC reveal any passwords over the telephone, FAX them to any location, send them through email, set them to a requested string, or perform any other action that could reveal a password.

If someone claiming to represent PSC contacts you and requests information that in any manner would reveal a password, be assured that the request is invalid and do NOT comply.

PSC policies

PSC policies regarding privacy, security and the abuse of PSC resources are documented here. Questions about any of these policies should be directed to PSC User Services.

See also policies for:

Security Measures

Security is very important to PSC. These policies are intended to insure that our machines are not misused and that users' data is secure.

What We Will Never Do:

  • PSC will never send you unsolicited emails requesting confidential information.
  • We will also never ask you for your password via an unsolicited email or phone call.

Remember that the PSC help desk is always a  phone call away to confirm any correspondence at  412-267-6350.

If you have replied to an email appearing to be from PSC and supplied your password or other sensitive information, please contact the help desk immediately.

What You Can Expect:

  • We will send you email when we need to communicate with you about service outages, new HPC resources, and the like.
  • We will send you email when your password is about to expire and ask you to change it by using the web-based PSC password change utility.

Other Security Policies

  • PSC password policies
  • Users must connect to PSC machines using ssh in order to avoid remote logins with clear text passwords
  • We vigilantly monitor our computer systems and network connections for security violations
  • We are in close contact with the CERT Coordination Project with regard to possible Internet security violations

Reporting Security Incidents

To report a security incident you should contact our Hotline at 412-268-6350. To report non-emergency security incidents you can send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

PSC resource abuse policy

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center's computing resources are vital to the scientific community, and we have a responsibility to ensure that these resources are utilized in a responsible manner. The term computing resources in this case refers to all computers owned or operated by PSC and all hardware, data, software, storage systems and communications networks associated with these computers. Improper use of PSC systems is generally referred to as resource abuse.

Users of PSC's systems are subject to applicable Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and federal laws. Abuse of resources will be referred to the PSC User Services manager and/or the appropriate local, state and federal authorities, at PSC's discretion. Furthermore, PSC may terminate or restrict any user's access to its systems, without prior notice, if such action is necessary to maintain computing availability and security for other users of the systems.

Resource abuse includes, but is not limited to:

  • using, or attempting to use, the center's computing resources without prior authorization or for unauthorized purposes
  • tampering with or obstructing the operation of the computing resources, or attempting to do so
  • inspecting, modifying, distributing, or copying privileged data or software without proper authorization, or attempting to do so
  • supplying, or attempting to supply, false or misleading information or identification in order to access PSC's computing resources.

If there is any doubt regarding the legitimacy or authorization of any action, contact PSC User Services.

Privacy

Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center is committed to preserving your privacy. This privacy policy explains exactly what information is collected when you visit our site and how it is used.

This policy may be modified as new features are added to the site. Any changes to the policy will be posted on this page.

  • Any data automatically collected from our site visitors - domain name, browser types, etc. - are used only in aggregate to help us better meet site visitors' needs.
  • There is no identification of individuals from our aggregate data. Therefore, unless you choose otherwise, you are totally anonymous when visiting our site.
  • We do not share data with anyone for commercial purposes.
  • If you choose to submit personally identifiable information to us electronically via the PSC feedback page, email, etc., we will treat it with the same respect for privacy afforded to mailed submissions. Submission of such information is always optional.

PSC respects individual privacy and takes great effort in supporting web site privacy policy outlined above. Please be aware, however, that we publish URLs of other sites on our web site that may not adhere to the same policy.