LSU HPC Usage Policy

1. Introduction

The HPC@LSU computing facilities, encompassing its hardware, software, network connections, and data, are a vital but limited resource. Therefore HPC@LSU is obligated to protect its facilities and ensure they are used properly. Allocations are used to assure equitable consumption of system resources, while personal access to the systems is controlled via user accounts. You, personally, are constrained by legal and other obligations to protect resources and the intellectual property of others on the systems.

Given the extensive nature of these resources, responsibilities are attached to the right of access. Responsible user conduct is required to assure fair access by all researchers. Failure to use these resources properly may result in various penalties, including, but not limited to, loss of access, administrative, academic, civil and/or criminal action.

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2. Requirements

2.1. Individual Account Management

You have the responsibility to protect your account from unauthorized access, and for the proper expenditure of allocated resources. Tools are provided to help you manage your resources, but you are responsible for using these tools properly.

2.1.1. Valid Contact Email

Every account has a contact email address associated with it. Email is used as the primary communication channel between LSU@HPC and the user. The user is responsible for keeping this address up to date. In the event that an address is discovered to be invalid, the associated user account will be locked.

2.1.2. No Account Sharing

Your account is for your use only. It is not to be shared with others; neither students nor other collaborators. Others who need access must request their own account. User authentication certificates, if they are used, are considered personal accounts and not to be shared.

2.1.3. Protecting Passwords

Passwords and certificates are the keys to account access. You are responsible for their protection and proper use. Protective behavior includes

  • never sharing passwords
  • never writing passwords down where they can be easily found
  • never using applications which expose passwords on the network (e.g. telnet).

See Guidelines, below, for more information.

The private key portion of an authentication certificate is the equivalent of a password. If you use certificates, you are responsible for ensuring that file and directory permissions prevent others from reading or copying any private keys.

2.1.4. Mailing List Membership

While an account is active, the user is required to be a member of the mailing list. This list is used to notify everyone of important changes and events. List membership is automatic upon creation of the account, and persists until the account is deactivated. Anyone wishing to be removed from the list should send an email to and request that their account be terminated. This will result in removal from the email list the next time an active account scan is performed.

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2.2. Fair Use

Access to a system does not grant you blanket authorization for any and all activity. You must recognize that reasonable use may vary from machine to machine within a system, depending on the function of the machine. Machines in a cluster serve one of two basic functions.

2.2.1. Computational Nodes

These are the nodes which perform the intended heavy computational work of a cluster. They are accessed via the job scheduler (e.g. LoadLevel or PBS) through the submission of job control scripts. Computational tasks are never to be run on the cluster head nodes, as this has the potential of impairing operation of the entire system.

2.2.2. Head Nodes

Head nodes are used for the interactive work required to prepare a computational task. Appropriate work on the head nodes includes: light editing, compiling, post analysis previewing, and job script creation. Extensive post processing should be done on the compute nodes. Any processing on the head nodes which adversely impacts system operation is subject to preemptory termination. Repeated abuse may result in the locking of user accounts or other administrative action as deemed appropriate.

2.2.3. Authorized Use

Authorized use of the system is defined by the purpose outlined in the research proposal on which the usage allocation is based. Any resulting use is limited to activities reasonably required to accomplish that purpose.

2.2.4. Unacceptable Behaviors

The following activities are explicitly deemed unacceptable and are subject to the penalties outlined below:

  • using, or attempting to use, computing resources without a valid allocation and user account
  • usage for purposes other than those stated in the allocation proposal.
  • tampering with or obstructing the operation of the facilities.
  • reading, changing, distributing, or copying others' data or software without their explicit permission.
  • using HPC@LSU resources to attempt to gain unauthorized access to other (non-LSU) sites.
  • activities in violation of local or federal law
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2.3. Reporting Suspicious Activity

You are responsible for reporting, as soon as possible, any suspicious activity you notice on your account, and exposure or compromise of passwords, passphrases, or certificates. See Section 5 for reporting procedures.

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2.4. Data Confidentiality

You are responsible to ensure the confidentiality of any data you use on HPC@LSU resources that is restricted from general public access. Technologies are provided to preserve the confidentiality of data, but it is your responsibility to use that technology appropriately. Such data may include:

  • Intellectual property, such as report drafts or research in progress,
  • Proprietary data, such as data owned by a specific company, or licensed applications.
  • Regulated data, such as medical, personal identifying information, or student records.

It is your responsibility to be aware of any requirements on a particular data set.

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2.5. Acknowledgment

Papers, publications, and web pages of any material, whether copyrighted or not, based on or developed under LSU-supported projects must acknowledge this support by including the following statement:

  • Portions of this research were conducted with high performance computing resources provided by Louisiana State University (
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2.6. Software Development

Software developed with allocations approved by HPC@LSU is subject to the guidelines published by the LSU Office of Intellectual Property, Commercialization, and Development.

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2.7. Publication

Work performed under a peer-reviewed allocation must be published in the open literature.

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2.8. Non-Academic User Requirements

Non-academic (corporate/industrial, government, etc.) users frequently have more stringent usage requirements than those that might be provided by HPC@LSU. It is the user's responsibility to assure the resources used satisfy the requirements of their organization.

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2.9. Software Licenses

All software used on HPC@LSU systems must be appropriately acquired and used according to the specified licensing. Possession or use of illegally copied software is prohibited. Likewise users shall not copy copyrighted software or materials, except as permitted by the owner or the copyright. Some installed software may require special authorization in order to be used. Users must abide by any licensing requirements and protect it from misuse.

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2.10. Final Reports

Requests for subsequent allocation awards will not be allowed until an end of project report has been received for all prior awards. It is recommended that continuing projects also include a copy of prior award final reports as an attachment to the submitted proposal.

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2.11. Additional Requirements

Individual sites may be subject to organizational policies with additional requirements beyond this policy. Those organizations will make those policies available. It is your responsibility to be aware of and abide by those policies.

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3. Penalties

Failure to abide by these policies may result in a variety of penalties imposed.

3.1 Account Suspension/Revocation

Accounts may be temporarily suspended or permanently revoked if compromised or abused. Your account may be suspended without advance notice if there is suspicion of account compromise, system compromise, or malicious or illegal activity.

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3.2. Loss of Allocation

Unauthorized behavior can result in loss of your current allocation, and may lead to the inability to obtain future allocations.

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3.3. Administrative Action

Unauthorized activity may be reported to your PI, your advisor, or LSU authorities for administrative review and action.

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3.4. Civil Penalties

Civil remedies may be pursued to recoup costs incurred from unauthorized use of resources or incident response due to compromise or malicious activity.

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3.5. Criminal Penalties

Activities in violation of university, federal, state, or local law may be reported to the appropriate authorities for investigation and prosecution.

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4. Disclaimers

4.1. Support/Diagnostic Access

HPC@LSU site personnel may review files for the purposes of aiding an individual or providing diagnostic investigation for HPC@LSU systems. User activity may be monitored as allowed under policy and law for the protection of data and resources. Any or all files on HPC@LSU systems may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized site or law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both foreign and domestic. By using HPC@LSU systems, users acknowledge and consent to this activity at the discretion of authorized site personnel.

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4.2. Access Notification

Access to user data and communications will not normally be performed without explicit authorization and/or advance notice unless exigent circumstances exist. Post-incident notification will be provided in such cases.

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5. Guidelines

The following are suggestions for helping maintain the security of your account.

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5.1. Password Management

  • Do not write down your password where it can be easily found and/or associated with your account.
  • Do not tell anyone your password, not even HPC@LSU support staff. Support staff will never need your password, will never ask for it, and will never send a password in e-mail, set them to a requested string, or perform any other activity which could reveal a password.
  • If someone insists they need your password to do something, report it to the HPC@LSU helpdesk:
  • Do not store your password(s) in unencrypted files or even in encrypted files if possible.
  • Pick passwords that are difficult to guess. Birthdays, family names, and single dictionary words are examples of easily guessed passwords.
  • Change your password periodically, even if you have no reason to believe that anyone else has it.
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5.2. Password Exposure

If you think your password may have been compromised or exposed, but have no reason to believe that your account has been used, change your password immediately.

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5.3. Account Compromise or Suspicious Activity

If you believe your account has been compromised or find signs of suspicious activity, take the following actions:

  • notify the HPC@LSU helpdesk immediately (
  • do not modify files found in your account
  • do not execute unknown programs you might find
  • if possible, do not use your account until the issue is resolved

Some indications of account compromise include:

  • files in your home directory or project areas which you did not create
  • alteration or deletion of your files not done by you
  • discrepancies between your allocation balance and what you think you have used
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6. Contacts

The central point of contact for any problems and concerns with regards to this policy is the HPC@LSU help desk which can be reached at Other modes of contact are listed on the HPC@LSU web site contact us page.

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Last revised: 11 December 2009