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Procedural Guidelines

This document describes the policies and procedures governing access to Northwestern University’s high performance computing (HPC) and storage facilities. These facilities are managed for Northwestern research activities by Northwestern IT's Research Computing Services in conjunction with Northwestern IT Cyberinfrastructure.

The guidelines below are intended to ensure that Northwestern’s HPC facilities are shared fairly, effectively used, and support Northwestern research programs that rely on computational resources not available elsewhere at the University. Failure to abide by these guidelines may result in the suspension or cancellation of the project and associated allocation along with the deletion and removal of all associated logins.

  1. Access to the HPC cluster (Quest) requires a valid Northwestern NetID. Researchers with affiliate and temporary NetIds may access an allocation on Quest however, only those directly associated with the University can act as Computational Investigators (CI’s). Passwords cannot be shared, and must be changed immediately after a suspected compromise.
  2. CIs are responsible for notifying Research Computing Services when user accounts should be deactivated due to the departure of the project owner or termination of the project. In the event that someone associated with a project account leaves the University, the CI of the account must remove data associated with the user and if necessary, request that the stewardship of the data be moved to another user in the project.
  3. All software used on Northwestern HPC systems must be licensed and used according to the licensing agreements. Possession and use of illegally-pirated software is not permitted.
  4. The CI must ensure that Northwestern University’s HPC resources are only used to store data that is not subject to regulatory or compliance requirements, including but not limited to: HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act), FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act), Personal Information Protection Act of Illinois, or any other restrictions on data handling as required by research grants and projects.
  5. Scheduled maintenance on Quest is typically announced to active users of Quest via email at minimum seven days in advance of a down time. Planned maintenance will be announced 30 days in advance if the work requires down time in which job queues are completely drained.
  6. Unexpected downtime may occur such as a power outage to the building where Quest is housed.  If you are unable to reach Quest, visit the Status of University IT Services for up-to-date information.
  7. Users are prohibited from accessing information by unauthorized means to access private data, perform denial of service actions, and cause any of the University’s HPC systems to function incorrectly by interfering with other users accessing Northwestern HPC system resources.

Last Updated: 19 April 2017

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