The Research Computing Center (RCC) is an auxiliary unit within the Information Technology Services organization at Florida State University (FSU). It tries to enable research and education by maintaining a diverse campus cyberinfrastructure and by providing training opportunities and dedicated consulting.

This page details the policies that govern the use of the resources of RCC. By using any RCC resource, you agree to abide by the following policies and to use the RCC resources in a responsible manner. In addition to these policies, you must also agree to abide by all technology policies at Florida State University.

If you have any questions or remarks about this document, please contact the RCC Director.

A. General Usage Policy

  1. You understand that RCC resources are shared with other users, and your actions can impact the work of those users. Many practices that are acceptable on your personal devices can have serious impacts on our systems and may affect many other users.
  2. The following is a list of general guidelines that you agree to follow.
    1. You must abide by all University Information Technology Policies. These include, but are not limited to:
      1. 4-OP-H-5  FSU Information Security Policy
      2. 4-OP-H-8  Wireless Data Communications
      3. 4-OP-F-7  Safeguarding of Confidential Financial and Personal Information
      4. 4-OP-H-10  Information Technology Disaster Recovery and Data Backup Policy
      5. 4-OP-H-11  Network Access and Use Policy
      6. 4-OP-H-12  Information Privacy Policy
    2. You are responsible for the proper use of all tools that the RCC provides and for the confidentiality of any sensitive information entrusted to you.
    3. You will not attempt to subvert or circumvent any system that allocates resources.
  3. RCC resources are provided by the University for research and educational use only.  Commercial, administrative, or non-University related use of RCC resources is prohibited unless explicitly agreed upon with the RCC director.

B. Account Policy

  1. We grant each person a unique account on our systems. This account is managed by the RCC and is separate from other accounts (e.g. your FSUID).
  2. You must have an active FSUID account before you can request an RCC account.
    1. Guest users not affiliated with FSU must apply for a Sponsored FSUID account.
  3. Each RCC account may be used only by the person who registered for the account.
  4. Each RCC account holder is responsible for keeping his or her login credentials secret. This includes, but is not limited to, passwords and private SSH keys.
    1. Users are not permitted to share account credentials with anyone under any circumstance.
    2. RCC systems provide many mechanisms for sharing data and compute resources with collaborators without the necessity of account sharing.
  5. The Research Computing Center provides two types of system accounts: Faculty and Sponsored accounts.
    1. If you do not have a faculty affiliation with FSU, you may register for a Sponsored Account only with the explicit approval of a faculty sponsor.
    2. Faculty Accounts
      1. Any person affiliated with FSU in a currently employed faculty position is eligible to apply for an RCC Faculty Account.
      2. Faculty account holders are eligible to sponsor accounts for student, staff, or outside collaborators.
      3. A faculty account holder who wishes to sponsor an account must provide explicit approval for any non-faculty person.
      4. A faculty account holder must confirm approval for accounts that he or she sponsors on an annual basis.
      5. Upon separation from FSU, a faculty account will be converted to a non-faculty account. Subsequently, the account holder and any accounts sponsored by this account will be required to find a new sponsor in order to be able to continue using RCC resources.
    3. Sponsored Accounts
      1. Any person can apply for an RCC Sponsored Account. This includes FSU students, staff members, and collaborators not otherwise affiliated with FSU.  Upon registration, a faculty sponsor must be selected.
      2. We void all account requests that have not been approved by sponsors after 14 days. In this case, the person requesting the sponsored account must login to the RCC website and select a new sponsor or resubmit the sponsorship request.
      3. A sponsored account holder may request a change in sponsorship at any time. The new sponsor must approve the request within 14 days.
      4. Upon separation from FSU, no change occurs to a sponsored account status.
      5. The account holder’s sponsor may revoke approval for the sponsored account at any time. If this happens, the sponsored account holder must select a new sponsor in order to continue using RCC resources.
      6. Sponsors must verify approval for all sponsored accounts at least once every 365 days.  If a sponsor has not verified approval for an account within this time period, RCC will revoke approval. In such case, the sponsored account holder must either obtain re-approval from the current sponsor or select a new sponsor in order to continue using RCC resources.
  6. Non-System Accounts
    1. FSU Faculty members who do not wish to use system resources but need to sponsor other users can indicate that they would like a non-system account.
    2. Non-System Accounts do not have access to any RCC resources.
    3. A Non-System Account holder can request system access at any time, and vice-versa.
    4. Upon separation from FSU, a faculty account will be converted to a non-faculty account and therefore this account and any accounts sponsored by this account will be required to find an alternative sponsor to be able to continue using RCC resources.
  7. Passwords
    1. Your RCC system account password must meet minimum complexity requirements.  RCC uses an entropy score to determine how complex your system account password is.
    2. RCC staff reserve the right to require you to change your system account password at any time.
      1. If RCC staff determines that a password reset is warranted for security purposes, we will lock your account until you change your password.


C. High Performance Computing Policy

  1. The High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster is a shared resource, and you must consider other users when using the system.
  2. The cluster is divided up in sets of nodes and are accessible through the job scheduler via a queueing system (Slurm).
    1. Any person with an RCC System Account can submit jobs to general access nodes made available through general access partitions. This is a courtesy resource provided by RCC. These partitions are listed on the RCC website.
    2. People and research groups that have purchased Normalized Computing Units (NCU) will receive priority access to the appropriate number of cores via a dedicated partition.
  3. The following is a list of general rules that you agree to follow:
    1. You will execute all long-running interactive or non-interactive jobs using the job scheduler (Slurm).  
      1. You may not run any long-running or compute-intensive jobs on the login nodes.
      2. RCC staff reserve the right to kill any process on login nodes that we judge to be using excessive resources.
    2. You will allocate parallel jobs within the resources (processors and RAM) that you have requested or reserved via the job scheduler (Slurm).
    3. You will not over-allocate resources for any job you submit.
    4. You will execute software in a responsible manner by not running highly experimental code that may compromise the usability or integrity of the RCC resources, including, but not limited to the login nodes, network fabric, compute nodes, or shared storage system.
  4. The objectives of the job scheduler are as follows:
    1. Provide predictable, responsive, and flexible means for a person or members of a research group to access compute resources (CPU, memory, disk) that have been purchased under an owner agreement
    2. Provide fair and equitable access to the general access computer processors and idle owner-based processors in order to maximize the cluster applicability to the FSU research community.

D. Shared Storage Policy

  1. The RCC provides several shared storage resources. RCC cannot guarantee complete security of data stored on any RCC system.
  2. No systems shall be used for any data classified as protected or private.  
    1. While RCC Staff strive to ensure that data on RCC systems is secure and confidential, neither the RCC nor the Florida State University shall be held liable for any breach of security resulting in the compromise of sensitive or confidential data.  
    2. It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure proper measures have been taken to classify and protect his or her data.
  3. Data stored on RCC resources may be subject to the FSU policy on Record Management; including, but not limited to OP-F-3:
    1. It is up to the user to classify the type of data that is being stored and what retention and maintenance policy should apply.
    2. RCC staff will assume data is obsolete in case it needs to delete it as described by this policy; for example, if a file is stored for a longer period of time on a temporary scratch location or if an expired account gets deleted.
  4. You will store only data in compliance with FSU Policies.
  5. RCC does not provide any backup mechanism.   
    1. RCC staff will assist users with backing up to outside services if you wish to do so.
  6. RCC will allocate each system account with a home directory on our parallel storage system (GPFS).
    1. RCC will purge data no sooner than three months after your account has expired.
  7. RCC may provide scratch space on some storage resource, and this is accessible for all RCC users to temporarily store data.
    1. Data that you store in scratch space is subject to deletion at any time.

E. Violations and Enforcement

  1. RCC Staff may take the following actions if we identify any abuse or willful neglect to follow the policies described herein:
    1. RCC staff will suspend or delete compute jobs in violation of these policies;
    2. RCC staff will delete any data in violation of these policies; and/or
    3. RCC staff may disable any System Account in violation of these policies with approval from the RCC Director.
  2. The RCC Director reserves the right to temporarily or permanently bar access to any or all RCC resources.
  3. The RCC Director will communicate any disciplinary action with the System Account owner and, if applicable, the sponsor of the account.
  4. The System Account holder has the right to submit an appeal concerning the enforcement of any policy described herein to the RCC Director.
    1. If the RCC Director and the System Account holder cannot identify a mutually agreeable resolution, then System Account holder may appeal in writing to the HPC Advisory Panel chair.
    2. The Advisory Panel Chair will bring appeals to the members of the Advisory Panel for discussion and resolution. All Advisory Panel decisions are final.


F. Support Policy

  1. RCC staff will make a reasonable effort to ensure systems and services remain available at all times.
  2. RCC staff periodically plan downtime for maintenance. In these cases, we will make efforts to notify all users as far in advance as possible.
  3. RCC staff will resolve service failures in a reasonable time during regular operating hours.
  4. RCC staff will provide support for services only during regular operating hours
    1. Regular operating hours are defined as Monday-Friday, 8am - 5pm, excepting University holidays.
  5. RCC staff will respond to support requests within one business day of request submission.