FSL Operations and Principles of Use

Mission

To facilitate and enhance computationally-intensive research at BYU by providing reliable, state-of-the-art, high performance computing resources to faculty and students.

General

The Fulton Supercomputing Lab (FSL) Advisory Committee oversees system resources and operations. The committee is composed of the BYU Associate Academic Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, the Vice President of Information Technology/CIO, the Assistant Vice President of Information Technology, the Deans of the Colleges of: Engineering and Technology, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Life Sciences, a High Performance Computing (HPC) oriented Faculty Advisor, and the FSL Operations Director.

All users of FSL resources are expected to adhere to the "BYU Computer and Electronic Communications General Use Procedures" linked below. Specific operational procedures, resource offerings, and expectaions pertaining to FSL follow.

Systems Use

FSL accounts are privileges to be used in conjunction with and in support of BYU courses and research activities. FSL resources are not to be used for non-BYU research programs.

Resources requested should be resources needed, both in terms of account requests and job submissions, e.g. Individuals should not "game" the job scheduler.

FSL reserves the right to monitor user accounts, data, and system activity. Individuals who are unwilling to follow or who are actively in violation of use policies will have account privileges revoked. Abuse and/or illegal use of resources will be reported to appropriate authorities.

Cost

FSL resources are provided at no cost to eligible users.

User Eligibility

To be eligible for an FSL account you must have a justifiable compute resource need and be an active BYU employee, a BYU student, or an external research collaborator working closely with BYU researchers.

Undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral employees are required to have a full-time BYU faculty member sponsor and approve their account to validate the need and legitimacy of the account.

External Collaborators require a full-time BYU faculty member sponsor and the approval of the department chair to validate the need and legitimacy of the account. External users are only to use FSL resources for the computational needs associated with collaborative research.

Eligibility ceases when a user leaves the university due to graduation, termination of employment, or completion of a collaborative research project.

User Accounts

New Accounts

FSL Administrators evaluate and approve (or deny) all new account requests.

Student account requests also require approval from a sponsoring faculty member.

Collaborator accounts are requested by a BYU faculty member, and also require approval from the sponsoring faculty member's department chair.

Web-only, or Sponsor Accounts, are available to faculty who do not need a system login, but need to validate and approve student account requests and renewals.

Account requests require a brief explanation of the research being done and a justification of why FSL resources are needed.

Account Renewals

Accounts are valid for one year, and can be renewed annually upon providing an updated explanation of ongoing research and justification of need.

Web-only account renewal requests do not require a password change. All other account renewal requests require a password change.

FSL administrators approve faculty account renewal requests.

Faculty or FSL administrators may approve student account renewal requests.

Expired Accounts

Users receive an email warning notice prior to account expiration, and again at expiration.

Logins to FSL compute resources are suspended for expired accounts. Student and Collaborator account logins are suspended if the account of the sponsoring faculty member has expired.

Expired Accounts can be renewed for up to six months from the date of expiration.

Accounts AND associated data that have been expired for more than six months are subject to deletion.

Account Expectations

User accounts are not to be shared. Each user should use only their assigned login name and associated password to access FSL resources.

Passwords should be kept private and safe.

Some very limited exceptions may warrant generating a group account, e.g. a large class required to use the system for relatively few job submissions, or for facilitating an approved Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) mechanism.

The need to share datasets is not a valid reason to share an account (see Group File Sharing below).

FSL expects that users have at least basic skills in unix/linux command line utilities (e.g. basic text editor, ssh, scp, sftp). Support and training in these areas are not actively provided by FSL, but FSL does provide basic online tutorials and will point users to other training resources.

Users should provide an accurate, actively used email address when requesting an account. Users should be willing to receive and read email from FSL regarding system outages, user meetings, training, use procedures, or disciplinary issues.

Data/Storage

Users are responsible for their own data. FSL will take precautions to preserve data integrity but provides no guarantee against data loss, corruption, or accidental disasters.

All filesystems are controlled with user and group quotas. Quotas can be adjusted, within reason, based on need.

FSL provides Home Directory, Scratch, Group, and Archive storage:

Home Directory Storage is intended for storing source code, processing results, and other critical data.

Scratch Storage is to be used for data processing done during job execution. Scratch Storage is not to be used as a long-term data archive or harbor. Aging user data on Scratch Storage is subject to automatic migration and/or deletion.

Group Storage is for sharing data between multiple user accounts.

Group Scratch Storage is for sharing scratch data between multiple users accounts, and like Scratch Storage, is not to be used as a long-term data archive. Aging Group Scratch data is subject to automatic migration and/or deletion.

Archive Storage is intended to store large amounts of data that is impractical to stage across campus networks, but is inappropriate to harbor in Scratch and/or Home Directory Storage. Archive Storage IS accessible from interactive login nodes. Archive Storage is NOT accessible from compute processing nodes.

FSL DOES perform routine backups of data in Home Directories.

FSL DOES perform routine backups of Non-Scratch Group Storage.

FSL does NOT perform backups of Group Scratch Storage.

FSL does NOT perform backups of Scratch Storage.

FSL does NOT perform backups of Archive Storage.

Application Software

FSL pays for and manages some applications that are widely used across systems, e.g. compilers.

FSL may contribute to software costs if multiple departments are also contributing - budgets permitting and at the discretion of the FSL Operations Director.

Users may install software in their home directories or scratch space as appropriate.

FSL administrators will do their best to assist users to install and manage applications that are widely used, where system level access is required, and/or where license servers must be setup or accessible.

General Calendar

System wide planned outages typically occur 3 times per year during the first couple of weeks of Fall, Winter, and Spring semesters. Additional outages are sometimes required.

User Training sessions are offered to new users and generally as needed.

All-User meetings are held at least once per year to present a system operational report, provide a department roadmap, answer questions, and obtain feedback from users.

FSL periodically holds seminars to provide training and exposure to HPC skills, technologies, and resources.