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How to use XSEDE

This page is a summary of information provided by XSEDE in January 2017. For a description of the process of getting started use the XSEDE getting started guide. We provide an overview that points users to webpages of how to use XSEDE as a faculty and student. It also includes one sample of running on a particular XSEDE resource.


The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) is a collection of integrated advanced digital resources and services. It is a single virtual system that scientists can use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise.

The XSEDE partnership includes: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Carnegie Mellon University/University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas at Austin, University of Tennessee Knoxville, University of Virginia, Shodor Education Foundation, Southeastern Universities Research Association, University of Chicago, University of California San Diego, Indiana University, Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Purdue University, Cornell University, Ohio State University, University of California Berkeley, Rice University, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It is led by the University of Illinois’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Researchers may submit allocation requests for resources at any of these sites for a period of 1 year. The resources available are listed here. In general, the XSEDE User Portal can be used to monitor account and usage.

For Faculty

The first step in the process is requesting an XSEDE account. If you do not already have account you should create one here.

Request Allocations

To submit a request go here. Or, to learn how to submit a request here or to view sample requests here.

Full information on XSEDE allocation policies is here. There are three types of allocations: Startup, Educational, and Research. Startup allocations are small scale projects meant to get researchers started on XSEDE. Education allocations are small scale projects for class instruction or training. Research allocations are for full scale projects for computational research.

For all three request type you will need information about supporting grants, PI, and co-PI are necessary. Additionally, information about the project such as project title, fields of science, project abstract, and keywords are necessary. In the case of a research allocation you will also need the items listed below. For full information go here.

  • Main document: up to 10 pages, 15 pages for large requests (>10 million SUs) and 5 pages for supplemental request. If refereneces do not fit in the page limit they may be submitted as an additional document.
  • Progress report: Summary of work completed with previous allocations. Only for renewal or supplemental requests, up to 3 pages.
  • Code performance and scaling document: no more than 5 pages.
  • Also need CVs (recommended 2 page NSF format), publications list from work with XSEDE support, and an optional 1 page document indicating any special needs outside of standard user or usage environment.

The XRAS system is used for submission of allocation requests. The key part of any request is to determine which resources, how many service units (SU), and how much storage is necessary. Factors such as number of nodes, type of hardware, software, and memory usage required should be taken into consideration when choosing which platform to use. There is some variation in how systems charge for SUs, but an SU typically corresponds to a CPU hour. In that case, running a serial job on 1 core for 1 hour would use 1 SU and running a parallel job on 16 cores for 5 hours would use 80 SUs.

Startup and education allocation requests are accepted and reviewed continuously, while research allocations are reviewed quarterly by the XSEDE Resource Allocation Committee (XRAC). The schedule for research allocations is here.

In addition to these allocations, requests may be submitted for supplements, advances, transfers, extensions, and justifications. More information on these requests is included in the allocation policies.

Sponsor a Student

Faculty should first ask that a student make an XSEDE account, we reference the student to the create account page below. The faculty may add or remove a student from an allocation click here.

Manage Allocations

To submit and edit allocation requests click here. To manage profile information, distinguished names, and publications on XSEDE click here. To request supplemental or transfer requests click here. To renew an allocation click here.

For Students

Request Faculty Add You to an Allocation

To create a XSEDE user portal account click here.

View Allocation Details

To view details on project usage click here.

Sample Usage

We provide a simple example of how to formally use the Stampede cluster, part of the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). At the time of this writing the Stampede cluster hardware was being phased out and upgraded. It is possible that instructions could become out of date, so we point you to the main user guide for Stampede and the matching instructions to those included here.

Request a TACC account

In order to access the hardware, you must have a TACC user account. The home page for TACC shows login option in the upper right portion of the page with option to create account if you do not already have one. Or, you can go directly to the TACC create account page. Note that TACC includes not only Stampede, but also Ranch, Corral, Lonestar 5, and other systems.

Multi-factor authentication is required for TACC users, instructions to explain and indicate how to configure this are here.

Login to Stampede

You can login and use the systems you have allocations on through the XSEDE Single Sign On Hub. This applies to Stampede as well. It is also possible to ssh directly to the cluster. For the regular Stampede cluster use: ssh, and for the KNL cluster use: ssh You will use your TACC account password and other factor authentication.

Upon login you will see a number of messages including an account summary that looks something like the one below. It shows your current projects and status as well as your disk quotas.

——————— Project balances for user tg832620 ———————-
| Name           Avail SUs     Expires |                                      |
| TG-DMS160009        2253  2017-04-28 |                                      |
———————— Disk quotas for user tg832620 ————————
| Disk         Usage (GB)     Limit    %Used   File Usage       Limit   %Used |
| /home1              0.0       5.0     0.11         1027      150000    0.68 |
| /work               0.4    1024.0     0.04        24294     3000000    0.81 |
| /scratch            0.0       0.0     0.00            1           0    0.00 |

In your home directory you will see two default directories, intel and testing. Inside the testing directory there are a number of account tests that you may run. In the basicHellos directory you will find a serial hello world program and parallel hello world program.

If you run into issues with your account you should contact user support for the resources you are using. For example on Stampede, you would go here.