Groups and Allocations

The procedures guiding the interaction between investments, research groups, and allocation groups are outlined below. In a nutshell:

  1. A faculty member with a Research Computing investment is known as an investor. The investor may sponsor other users to work with the resources.
  2. Every user of Research Computing resources must have a sponsor. Every user’s primary group will be that of their sponsor.
  3. Access to the resources of other investments is granted through secondary membership in an allocation group. Allocation groups have no primary members.
  4. All groups must have at least one Orange Storage Unit (OSU) in order to be functional.

A University of Florida faculty member may purchase Research Computing resources, at which point that faculty member becomes an investor.

  • All investments have a beginning date and an end date. There are no restrictions on when an investment is allowed to begin.
  • It is not uncommon for an investor to have multiple investments spanning different time period.
  • Investors may sponsor a group of other users to work with their investment, including students, post-docs, or other collaborators.

Groups

SPONSOR GROUPS

Each sponsor has an associated Linux/LDAP group. Sponsored users will be added to the sponsor’s group, which becomes their primary group.

  • The name of the sponsor’s group will generally be the last name of the sponsor, or something similar.

ALLOCATION GROUPS

For accounting and collaboration purposes, investors may request that additional groups be created under their sponsorship, and that some portion of one or more of their investments be allocated to those groups. Such groups are referred to as allocation groups.

  • Allocation groups have no primary members. In other words, a user’s primary group will always be that of his or her sponsor.
  • Through secondary membership in an allocation group, users can gain access to any resources that have been designated for that allocation group.

A research collaboration, department, college, center, or institute may invest in Research Computing resources. In such a case, a faculty member will be designated as the investor (and therefore sponsor) of the collaborative allocation group.

  • A faculty member must be associated with the investment for contact, management, and accounting purposes.
  • Access to collaborative allocation groups is still through secondary group membership. Any user of these resources must still have a faculty sponsor, whose group will serve as the user’s primary group.

In the special case that an investor wants to sponsor a user to be a member of an allocation group, but not the investor’s primary group, a new group will be created in order to record the association of the user with the sponsor. The name of this group will be the same as the sponsor’s associated primary group with a “0” added to the end.

Allocations

When a UF faculty member invests funds with Research Computing, their investment is converted to a resource allocation. That allocation determines the quantity of a particular resource that can be used at a given time by the members of that faculty’s research group. If the investment is for computational resources, then the allocation will be in terms of NCUs (Normalized Computing Units.); for scheduling purposes, NCUs are expressed on the system as “processor equivalents” (memory-weighted cores). If the investment is for storage, the allocation will be in terms of OSUs (Orange Storage Units) and/or BSUs (Blue Storage Units), and expressed in terabytes on the system.

A group’s allocation can consist of one or both of two investment types:

  • Hardware investments, wherein a group purchases equipment for the full extent of its useful lifetime (5 years)
  • Service investments, wherein a group purchases the use of resources for a fragmentary period of the equipment’s lifetime

Allocation Types

Research group allocation

Every faculty member who has sponsored a user within Research Computing is assigned their own distinct group on our system. Users sponsored by a given faculty member will be members of their  group. If the faculty member has invested funds in the Research Computing facilities, there will be one or more resource allocations associated with the group. The allocation will be commensurate with the level of investment. The larger the investment, the more resources (NCUs, NGUs, etc) will be available. Each member of the group will have equal access to the group’s resources unless other arrangements are made in advance.

Research organization allocation

Occasionally, a department, college or other entity on campus invests in Research Computing resources that are intended to be shared. In this case, a distinct group is created and the resources in question are allocated to that group.

Allocation loan (trial allocations)

A faculty member who is not an investor in Research Computing resources and has never invested before, such as a new faculty member to the University of Florida, can request a short-term try-and-buy allocation for computing or storage in HiPerGator or ResVault as a loan. Such a loan can only be given once. The allocation will give the same privileges an investor has. The size of the allocation and the duration needs to be negotiated with Research Computing staff. The duration varies typically between one and six months.

It is possible for a faculty member who is an investor to request an additional short-term allocation for one or two months to complete some special computational task in preparation of a proposal or submission of a final report or publication. The size and the duration of the allocation must be negotiated with Research Computing staff. This type of expansion loan can be granted only once per year; the try-and-buy loan can only be granted once per investor.

Teaching allocations

A special short-term allocation can be created for the duration of one semester to support faculty teaching a course or workshop that involves data intensive or computing intensive work, including homework assignments. The procedures for setting up such an allocation are explained under Help – Advanced Support – Teaching Support. Students need to apply for separate RC accounts to take the course, even if they already have an account associated with the research group of some faculty member. All accounts associated with the teaching allocation are deleted at the end of the semester or at the end of the workshop.

Accessing allocations of groups other than your own

Users who are eligible and wish to use the resources of a group other than their own must:

  • Send a Help Request to ask for the secondary membership in the specified group.
  • Add the following the following directive to their submission scripts:

#SBATCH --account=<groupname>
#SBATCH --qos=<groupname>

Example

The Statistics department invests 100 NCUs in Research Computing on behalf of several of its faculty. Research Computing in turn creates a new group called statistics and assigns the resulting allocation to it. If your adviser is one of the faculty members in question, you may submit a request to become a secondary member of the group statistics. You may then run jobs using the statistics group allocation by adding the following to your job submission script:

#SBATCH --account=statistics
#SBATCH --qos=statistics