Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC)

The University of Innsbruck is a member in a strategic cooperation named Vienna Scientific Cluster of major Austrian universities with the goal to satisfy the demand for High Performance Computing of the participating institutions.

As of early 2015, two computational systems (VSC-2 and VSC-3) are in operation. These systems are large clusters of Infiniband-connected X86-64 machines, similar in architecture to the existing LEO systems at the University of Innsbruck.

The University of Innsbruck holds a share of 5.4% of the total VSC-3 system. Users from the UIBK are entitled to apply for projects on VSC-3. Existing VSC-2 accounts should be moved to VSC-3 as soon as possible.

How to apply for a project on VSC

In contrast to UIBK procedures, users will not receive individual accounts for long-term usage. Instead, accounts are provided on a project-by-project basis. If you are a group leader1 and your group needs access to VSC resources, you may apply for a VSC-project. After the project has been approved, you will be able to create accounts for yourself and each individual team member. Shared accounts are not supported with VSC.

1For funded projects, the applicant should be the person who is responsible for the grant.

The following steps describe application for regular projects. The application procedure for projects is simplified (no peer review); typical duration is one month. Test projects may be converted into regular projects.

  • Login to the VSC Service Portal https://service.vsc.ac.at/. After selecting "University of Innsbruck" and logging in with your Innsbruck user ID and password, you will be directed to a web form that allows you to request a project or list existing projects.
  • To apply for a new project, hit "request project" and fill in the form according to the VSC guidelines http://typo3.vsc.ac.at/access/project-application/. Duration is up to 1 year, but you may apply for extensions later.
    • Your project will be reviewed (see below) by one of the members of the Scientific Computing Board (SCB) of the University of Innsbruck and by its head. Please choose the first reviewer from the list given.
    • Please supply realistic estimates for the resources that you need. Typically, resource usage from 100k to 1M core-hours, a few GB up to 1/2 TB of HOME disk storage, and up to a few dozens of TB of "Global" Scratch storage will be considered as "normal". If you need significantly more, a member of the VSC team might contact you to discuss your resource needs.
  • After filling in the initial form, you will be prompted to upload files containing additional information, e.g. external grants, peer-reviews, etc.
  • The completed form will be forwarded to the VSC team in Vienna for a brief technical review.
  • After successful technical review, the project will be given to the two SCB members as described above. The final step is an approval by the central VSC steering committee.

Note that you can extend existing VSC-projects as long as external funding exists or internal review supports your usage of VSC resources. You do not need to create a new VSC-project for each of your externally funded projects, and existing accounts may be connected to more than one VSC-project by request to the VSC team.

All publications on results created with help of VSC must carry an acknowledgment similar to:

  • Die präsentierten Rechenergebnisse wurden [zum Teil] am Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC) erzielt.
  • The computational results presented have been achieved [in part] using the Vienna Scientific Cluster (VSC).

How to create accounts on VSC

After your project has been granted, you may log in to the VSC Service Portal (using your UIBK user name and password) to create individual accounts (user ID, password) for each member of your team. These accounts are activated automatically. Resources granted to the project (CPU time, data storage) are shared among the accounts of each project.

You need to supply an SMS-capable telephone number for each account. Beyond asking for the user name and password, the VSC3 login procedure will create a One-Time-Password (OTP) which will be sent to the user via SMS.

When the granted resources are exhausted, your project is not terminated, but your jobs will run with low priority. When the duration is over, you will get a one month grace period allowing you to submit your jobs at low priority, and another three months when you can still log in and retrieve your data. You may apply for an extension using the Service Portal.

Existing test projects (including user IDs) can be converted into regular projects: apply for a new project and identify the current test project in the "comments" section.

Important differences to UIBK systems

For details, please see the VSC documentation.

Upon login (ssh vsc3.vsc.ac.at) using the VSC user name and password, the system will generate a One-Time-Password (OTP), which will be SMS-ed to the telephone number provided when your account was created. After successful authentication, your OTP will be valid for 24 hours.

You can change your password by logging in to the cluster user service page (using the VSC user name and password). Note that the OTP mechanism is not a substitute for a good password.

In contrast to UIBK systems, there is no data backup on VSC, including your HOME directory.

Data backup is each user's sole responsibility on VSC.

VSC3 uses the SLURM scheduler. Use the HPC Systems Comparison Overview page as a cross reference on differences between the systems and their respective workload managers.

Documentation, Support

The main portal for VSC is http://vsc.ac.at/ .

The VSC Service Portal can be found at https://service.vsc.ac.at/. Here, you can apply for new projects and manage your existing projects. Guidelines for project requests can be found at http://typo3.vsc.ac.at/access/project-application/. As a matter of principle, regular projects will need to show some kind of peer-review, either by existing external grants or by an internal review. For test projects, no review is required.

User documentation can be found in the VSC Wiki https://wiki.vsc.ac.at/doku.php?id=start. For a limited time, access to the VSC Wiki is open for everyone. Later, you will need to login with your VSC user ID and password.

Support enquiries should be directed to service (at) vsc.ac.at

Please note that at the moment, the ZID team at University of Innsbruck are not in a position to give technical support in using the VSC. However, we are happy to help with general questions.