1. Learn about XSEDE resources and services
  2. Sign up for an XSEDE User Portal (XUP) account
  3. Get an allocation
  4. Access your allocated resources
  5. Transfer your files
  6. Computing Environment
  7. Sign up for training
  8. Get Help
  9. The Mobile User Portal

Step 1. Learn about XSEDE resources and services

 View current XSEDE resources

XSEDE is a single, virtual cyberinfrastructure that scientists use to interactively share computing resources, data, and expertise. XSEDE resources may be broadly categorized as follows: High Performance Computing, High Throughput Computing, Visualization, Storage, and Data Services. Many resources provide overlapping functionality across categories. For more information visit the list of XSEDE resources.

XSEDE New User Training

This recently recorded webinar presentation provides an overview of XSEDE and it's services and capabilities. The second half of the presentation details each of XSEDE's compute resources.

XSEDE New User Training
Recorded April 11, 2014
Run time: 1:18:53

Find your Campus Champion

Your Campus Champion is your local source of knowledge about high-performance computing opportunities and resources. Your Campus Champion can direct researchers and educators to national high-performance computing resources and services that are available to you and that will help you to advance scientific discovery.

Get to know your campus representative!
Search the campus champions directory to find your local Campus Champion

Your representative will:

  • Provide you with information about high-performance computing resources to researchers and educators, including resources available from XSEDE
  • Assist you to quickly get access to allocations of high-performance computing resources
  • Facilitate awareness and training workshops about the use of high-performance computing resources and services
  • Provide you with contacts within the high-performance computing community for quick problem resolution
  • Provide you with timely information on new resources, services, and offerings

Step 2. Sign up for an XSEDE User Portal (XUP) account

Visit XSEDE User Portal at https://portal.xsede.org

In order to get access to XSEDE resources you must create an XSEDE User Portal (XUP) account. The XSEDE User Portal (XUP) is a web-based, single point-of-entry to the XSEDE system providing:

  • Allocation request submission capability
  • Access to all your XSEDE accounts and allocated resources
  • Up-to-date information on your accounts and and allocation usage
  • Interfaces for data transfers, data collections, and other user tasks and resources
  • Subscriptions to user news & announcements
  • Training class registration and schedule
  • Access to the XSEDE Help Desk and User Forums

User Responsibilities and Security

Log in to XSEDE User Portal and accept your user responsibility

The first time you login to the XSEDE User Portal you will be asked to accept the User Responsibilities form. This form outlines acceptable use to protect shared resources and intellectual property.

You are responsible for your account and for protecting your passwords. This means:

  • Do not share passwords, do not write passwords down where they can be easily found, and do not use tools that expose passwords on the network. This includes private keys: make sure they are password-protected.
  • Close SSH terminals and log out of the User Portal when finished
  • Report Suspicious Activity. If you have any suspicion that your account or personal computer has been compromised, email or call, 24/7, 1-866-907-2383 immediately.

Step 3. Get an allocation

Learn about requesting an allocation
View sample allocation requests

Compute time on XSEDE resources is granted via the allocations process. You may apply for a new allocation or get added to an existing allocation. Please consult the detailed information in the XSEDE User Portal in the Allocations section.

Allocation types

A user may apply for one of the following allocation types:

  • Startup: The fastest way to get started on XSEDE, Startup allocations require minimum documentation, are reviewed all year long, and are valid for one year.
  • Education: Also lasting one year, an Education allocation provides time for academic or training classes.
  • Research: Research allocation requests are reviewed quarterly and require more formal documentation. Research allocations will be granted for one year and may be renewed or extended.

In addition to requesting a new allocation, a Principal Investigator (PI) may add users to an existing allocation through the portal. Click "Add User" under the "My XSEDE" tab. Once your Startup or Education allocation is submitted, you should hear back from the Allocations committee within two weeks.

How to Write a Successful XSEDE Proposal

This recently recorded presentation details all the steps and requirements needed for successful research allocation requests. Topics covered include Computation Methodologies, Justification for SUs requested and many others.

Writing and Submitting a Successful XSEDE Proposal
Recorded April 9, 2014
Run time: 1:17:16

XSEDE offers an array of computing resources including both HPC and high throughput (data intensive) machines. We also offer visualization resources and XSEDE has the expertise to help you set up tiled clusters. Please peruse the resource user guides to obtain specific system information. If you already have an allocation, then skip to step 4 to start using XSEDE.

Some preliminary questions to help determine which resource is for you:

Read the XSEDE user guides - learn more about our XSEDE resources

View the XSEDE Software Search - What software do you need? Check to see if it's already installed on an XSEDE system using our Software Search

How does your software/code function? Serial or parallel? How well does it scale? Are there specific hardware, OS or memory architecture requirements?

What are your typical job characteristics? Running time? Total number of jobs? Disk space required for I/O?

We realize selecting the optimum resource can be daunting. We are here to help! Submit a ticket to the help desk to ask for recommendations on which resource(s) to use for best performance.

Step 4. Access your allocated resources

Once you have your allocation, please go to the XSEDE User Portal and login using the account information you created in Step 2. If at any time you don't remember your password, use the password reset tool on the user portal homepage. XSEDE resources can be accessed using several methods, but we highly recommend that you use the default method, Single Sign On, or the XSEDE User Portal for command line access to resources.

Single Sign On (SSO) through XUP portal

Single Sign-On (SSO) allows you to use your XUP username and password combination to log into every digital resource where you have an account. After you authenticate using SSO you'll be recognized by all XSEDE services on which you have account, without having to enter your login information again for each resource. The easiest way to use SSO is via the XSEDE User Portal, but you can also use SSO via a desktop client or with an X.509 certificate. Detailed instructions for installing the SSO stand-alone client can be found on the Accessing Resources page.

SSO steps:

  1. Sign into the XSEDE User Portal
  2. Go to the "My XSEDE" tab & and click on the "Accounts" link
  3. Resources you have access to will be indicated by a "login" link. Click on the "login" link of the resource you would like to access. At this point a Java Applet will talk and you may be asked permission to allow it to run. After the applet starts, a blank terminal window will appear in your web browser. The window will fill with text indicating that you have been successfully logged into the resource of your choice.

  4. You can now work on this machine and connect to other machines from this terminal using the gsissh command:

gsissh <machine-name>

e.g.

gsissh trestles.sdsc.edu

Single Sign on via SSH Login Hub

XSEDE now has a single sign on login hub that you can use to access your XSEDE resources with your portal username and password. You can login to the single sign on hub login.xsede.org using your favorite ssh client with your portal username and password. For detailed instructions please visit the Single Sign on Login Hub page.

Direct login access via command line

The traditional method of accessing supercomputing resources is via command line. Each hardware resource on XSEDE may be accessed via SSH username/password or with your single sign on username and password (the same as your portal username and password). To use a single XSEDE resource, login using your username and host name of the resource. Please note: you must submit a help ticket requesting a password to that resource in order to login directly. Once you have your resource-specific password, Linux and Unix users may use the built-in Unix ssh command. Windows users may download one of many ssh clients, free ones include "putty".

Command line steps:

ssh [-l <username>] <machinename>

e.g.

ssh -l slindsey stampede.tacc.utexas.edu

Step 5. Transfer your files

Learn to transfer your files using XSEDE Data Transfers & Management services Once your accounts are set up, you'll probably want to start transferring your project files to your allocated resource. XSEDE offers several easy, reliable file transfer mechanisms briefly detailed below. For more in depth information please consult the XSEDE Data Transfers & Management page.

XUP File Manager

Globus Online

globus-url-copy, uberftp

scp, sftp

XUP File Manager

The built-in XSEDE User Portal File Manager transfers both small and large files. When logged into the portal, go to Resources -> File Manager and wait for the Java Applet to load. You'll see a list of all machines including your local machine and XSEDE$Share: 2GB of space for you to share files with any collaborators.

  1. Click the checkbox next to "Stripe Transfers" and click OK
  2. Repeat for the other panel using the destination resource
  3. Repeat this every time you change Resources
  4. Drag and drop the file from source to destination to transfer.

Globus Online

Globus Online is a web client that implements the GridFTP protocol, providing reliable data movement service between resources. Researchers with no IT background can easily move large quantities of files, or move files of large size, using the Globus web GUI, and developers who want to automate workflows can use the Globus command-line interface (GO CLI).

Please consult the Globus User Guide for complete instructions on how to use this service.

globus-url-copy and uberftp

globus-url-copy and uberftp are command-line implementations of the GridFTP protocol, which underlies all XSEDE transfer mechanisms. Use these commands to transfer large files.

Here's a sample transfer from PSC's Blacklight to TACC's Ranger optimized for large files:

$ globus-url-copy -stripe -tcp-bs 8388608 \
    gsiftp:// gridftp.blacklight.psc.teragrid.org/scratcha/joeuser/file \
    gsiftp:// gridftp.stampede.tacc.teragrid.org/scratch/joeuser

Visit the Data Transfers & Management page to get the GridFTP endpoints for each site.

scp, sftp

You may also use one of these command-line tools to transfer small (< 2 GB) files between XSEDE resources and/or your local machine. From Linux or Mac, you can run these commands directly from the terminal. From Windows, use your ssh client ("putty" is freely available). Both scp and sftp are easy to use and secure, but may provide poor performance for large files.

Step 6. Computing Environment

A computing environment refers to the components of a compute resource such as the operating system, basic hardware infrastructure, and software characteristics.

  1. File Systems
  2. Modules
  3. Running jobs

File Systems

Learn about XSEDE File Systems & Storage options

Where your data resides on XSEDE and the appropriate storage is your responsibility. In general, all resources provide the following file systems:

  1. HOME: Permanent space, but small. A good choice for building software and working file collections of small to medium sized files, where a medium sized file is less than 50 MB.
  2. SCRATCH: More space, but temporary; use while you are running your jobs. Scratch space is temporary; it is not backed up and has limited redundancy, and is periodically purged of old files!
  3. Archival Storage: Long term storage of large amounts of data (often tape); slower access, accessible from all sites.

For more detailed information on file systems and storage please consult the user guide and the XSEDE Storage page.

Managing Your Software Environment Using Modules

Learn about Software Environments

The environment management package, Modules, is a command-line interface providing commands for setting and modifying shell environment variables. These environment variables define values used by the shell (e.g., bash, tcsh,...) and by programs that you execute on the shell command line. For example, the PATH environment variable commonly defines a list of directories that the shell should search to find an executable program that you have referred to on the command line - this allows you to execute that program without having to type out the entire directory path to the executable file for that program. Modules makes it easier for you to manage collections of environment variables associated with various software packages, and to automatically modify environment variables as needed when switching between software packages.

Go here for further information on the XSEDE software environment.

Simple Modules Commands

  • module avail - lists available modules
  • module list - lists currently loaded modules
  • module help foo - help on module foo
  • module whatis foo - brief description of module foo
  • module display foo - displays the changes that are made to the environment by loading module foo without actually loading it.
  • module load foo - load module foo
  • module unload foo - unloads module foo and removes all changes that it made in the environment

Running jobs

 View XSEDE User Guides for job submission capabilities on XSEDE resources

All XSEDE resources employ a job scheduler (sometimes called "batch" scheduler), software that monitors and runs programs in the background, ideally achieving optimum utilization of that resource, including processors, memory, and disk space. All schedulers basically work the same way:

  1. request number/type of nodes you need
  2. specify how long you need to run
  3. specify where your output files go
  4. submit the job script containing these specifications

A typical job script may look like the following:

#!/bin/bash
#$ -N myMPI                 # specify the job name: "myMPI"
#$ -j y                     # combine stderr and stdout output
#$ -o $JOB_NAME.o$JOB_ID    # name the output file based on the job id assigned
#$ -pe 12way 24             # request 12 tasks/node, 24 cores total
#$ -q normal                # submit this job to the "normal" queue
#$ -l h_rt=01:30:00         # specify a run time (hh:mm:ss) of 1.5 hours
mpirun ./a.out              # Run the MPI executable named "a.out"

For the most part, XSEDE systems use the Sun Grid Engine (SGE) job scheduler. Each resource will have one or more queues, a pool of jobs waiting to run. A user submits jobs to a queue via job scheduler commands. Some common SGE commands are listed below.

  • qsub <myjobscript> - submit the file 'myjobscript' to start a job
  • qstat -u <username> - display the status of all your jobs
  • qdel <jobid> - delete the job from the queue using the jobid

Step 7. Sign up for training

Learn about in person, online and webcast training courses

XSEDE offers unparalleled training on a huge variety of topics such as programming, visualization & code improvement. You may enroll in online training classes or attend classes in person.

Step 8. Get Help

Check out our help resources:

User News - keep up to date with what is happening with XSEDE and the services you use. XSEDE staff regularly sends announcements, machine status notices, notifications of upcoming training classes and more. Please login to XSEDE User Portal to manage your subscriptions here.

Knowledge Base - search for answers to your questions or read the most frequently asked questions in XSEDE.

User Forums - ask questions and interact with other users on the user forums available within the XSEDE User portal.

Visit XSEDE Help - get direct help to your questions from XSEDE consulting staff

XSEDE has numerous ways to search for information and get help on a variety of topics. Our staff can help with problems such as choosing a platform or resource, choosing a software package, improving file transfer performance, and help with visualization.

Extended Collaborative Support

Want more help? Learn about Extended Collaborative Support

Extended Collaborative Support (ECSS) is available to all XSEDE users. You may request XSEDE's advanced ECSS support at any time though the Allocations tab in the XSEDE User Portal. ECSS requires written justification and a project plan. Our highly experienced staff can help with:

  • porting applications to new resources
  • providing help for portal and gateway development
  • implementing algorithmic enhancements
  • implementing parallel math libraries
  • improving scalability of codes to higher processor counts
  • optimizing codes to efficiently utilize specific resources
  • assisting with visualization, workflow, data analysis, and data transfer
  • performance analysis

Need additional support? Visit XSEDE Extended Collaborative Support.

The Mobile User Portal

XSEDE Mobile User Portal

Access XSEDE anywhere with XUP Mobile (https://mobile.xsede.org)

XSEDE also provides a way to manage your XSEDE information via your mobile device.

  • browse all XSEDE systems
  • view and subscribe to user news
  • view and register for training courses
  • view your allocations and account information
  • monitor XSEDE resources and job status
  • download files and manage transfers
  • one-touch publishing to your XSEDE shared folder
  • simple creation of shared groups for any file/folder
  • one-click permission management

Check out XSEDE Mobile User Portal from the convenience of your mobile device anytime and anywhere.

Last update: April 14, 2014