The PI Computing Allowance (PCA) is a new program that provides up to 300K Service Units (SUs) of free compute time per fiscal year to all qualified Berkeley Lab PIs, where one SU is equivalent to one compute cycle on the latest standard hardware. The purpose of the PCA program is to outreach to to areas of science where the use of computing to accomplish science is relatively new. Groups that already use HPC for their science are also encouraged to apply. Think of a PCA as a Lawrencium 300K SU gift card.
Allowances are prorated based on month of application during the allowance year. PIs can also pool their allowances if their groups are working together; however, this must be specified when the allowance is initially setup or during the annual renewal period. Please note that allowances can be shared but are not transferable. People needing more compute time beyond their allowance should review the options for getting more computing time for a project. Lawrencium cluster project names for these allocations start with a ‘pc_’ prefix; for example pc_projectname.
PIs wanting to obtain access to an PCA for their research will need to complete the Requirements Survey and include an initial list of anticipated users, as indicated on that form. A Lawrencium-cluster specific project will be set up using a unique name and all user accounts will be created under that project name. The project name will also be used to set up (SLURM) scheduler accounts, for running computational jobs and tracking cluster usage.
Once a project (and its associated Lawrencium scheduler account) has been created, any LBNL researcher who wants to open an additional Lawrencium cluster account, to be associated with that existing project, can do so by submitting the Additional User Account Request Form. Accounts are added upon approval of the PI for the project. Usernames must be unique and are allocated on a first-come, first served basis. This means that users may need to choose an alternate username for their accounts, if the one that they originally want has been taken.
For security reasons, access to Lawrencium will be through the use of two-factor authentication using Google Authenticator one-time password tokens. This greatly reduces the risk of a security compromise due to stolen user credentials.
As a service provided at no cost to researchers, an PCA does not guarantee access to the full amount of SUs. SUs spent on jobs killed due to unplanned outages cannot be reimbursed.
Adding Additional Users to Your Project
Berkeley Lab researchers who want to request new user accounts on the cluster, to be associated with an existing project should send an email to email@example.com asking for an account. In the email please specify the existing Lawrencium project name and the PI’s name. All user account requests require the approval of the PI for the relevant project on the cluster, and are added on a first come, first served basis. Note: each first-time user will also need to complete a User Access Agreement Form. (For convenience, this access agreement form is linked from the user account request form, above.)
Renewing Your PI Computing Allowance
Each year, beginning in August, you can submit an application form to renew your PI Computing Allowance. The renewal form is considerably simpler and briefer than the form used to request a first-time Allowance. Links to this renewal application form are typically emailed to Allowance recipients (and to other designated “main contacts” on such accounts) by or before mid-Sep each year. (There are often some at least modest differences in the renewal application process from year to year, so there is no permanent online location for this form.) Renewal applications submitted during Aug will be processed beginning Sep 1st. Those submitted and approved later in the year, after the Aug/Sep period (i.e. after Sep 30th), will receive pro-rated allowances of computing time, based on month of application during the allowance year.
Charges for Running Jobs
Each time a computational job is run on the cluster under a Faculty Computing Allowance account, charges are incurred against that account, using abstract measurement units called Service Units (SUs). Please see Service Units on Savio to learn more about how these charges are calculated.
Please acknowledge Lawrencium in your publications. (Such acknowledgments are an important factor in helping to justify ongoing funding for, and expansion of, the cluster.) A sample statement is:
This research used the Lawrencium computational cluster resource provided by the IT Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231)
The Scientific Computing Group (also known as High-Performance Computing Services) under Science IT supports the mission of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory by providing technology and consulting support for science and technical programs, in the areas of data management, HPC cluster computing, and Cloud services.