Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

High Performance Computing Penn Medicine Academic Computing Services

Account Process

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PennHPC Account Policy

December, 2014


Summary:  The PennHPC system is a collection of computational and storage resources that are available to the University of Pennsylvania faculty, staff, and students on an ad-hoc, as-requested basis.  System access is granted based upon the requestor’s affiliation with the University, as well as other requisite information and approvals.  This policy outlines the request, creation, use, and deletion of these accounts, and this policy applies to all PennHPC users and those authorizing the system’s use. 

System Access Methods:  Users of the PennHPC system access the system via usernames and passwords, as well as via Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) key pairs.  Information on key pairs can be found on our PennHPC Wiki here

System Charges:  The PennHPC system is a fee-for-service operation similar to an analytical core.  While there is no charge to create or maintain an account, charges are assessed based on each user’s consumption of PennHPC resources.  Current pricing is as follows:

  • Virtual Core-Hour (Includes 6GB memory allocation):  $0.035/hour
  • Disk Storage:  $0.055/GB/month
  • Tape/Archive Storage:  $0.015/GB/month

Core-hours are charge as-used, and partial hours are billed as partial hours, and are not rounded up or down to the nearest hour.  Memory usage is coupled to each core, and one virtual core and 6GB of system RAM are billed as a block of resources, based on hours (or partial hour) of usage.

Disk and tape storage charges are assessed daily an aggregated monthly to ensure accurate billing. 

Charge Assessment:  Charges are assessed based on actual usage, as described in the “System Charges” section.  All system use is charged at the rates described in the “System Charges” section, regardless of purpose.

Account Creation Requirements:  The PennHPC system is maintained and housed in the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), and is available to all University of Pennsylvania Faculty, Staff, and Students, as well as University affiliates.  Affiliates and other requestors not enrolled nor employed by the Penn organization are granted access on a case-by-case basis, as permitted by PSOM administration.  Accounts can be requested by e-mailing Account requirements include:

  • Requestor’s Name
  • Requestor’s Penn e-mail address
  • Requestor’s PennKey
  • Requestor’s PennID
  • Requestor’s Status: Faculty/Student/Post-Doc Fellow/Staff
  • Does the data the user intends to transmit to/from, store, or process on the PennHPC require HIPAA, FISMA, or 21 CFR Part 11 compliance?  Yes/No
  • PI or Faculty Member Name
  • PI or Faculty Member’s Penn e-mail address
  • Business Administrator who will administer the PennHPC charges
  • Business Administrator’s e-mail address
  • 26-digit Budget code to bill HPC usage

Account Deactivation Process and Data Policy:  Accounts for the PennHPC system are individually and discretely requested by the requestor’s sponsoring department, and must also be individually and discretely disabled at the request of the sponsoring department.  Please e-mail to to request an account be moved to another department or deactivated.  Until an account is deactivated, any HPC charges will be billed to the budget code on file. 

Data stored in a deactivated user’s home directory may be addressed in several ways, and must be specifically requested by the supervising principal investigator, BA, or school administration official:

  1. Delete:  The data can be permanently and irrevocably deleted.  Once this occurs, the data cannot be recovered and is lost.  Storage charges cease at the data are deleted, pro-rated to the day. 
  2. Move and Delete:  The data can be moved to another location.  This location may be another user’s directory, a shared lab directory, or a USB key or other external storage device.  PMACS staff can assist in detailing this process, however PMACS staff cannot move the data; this must be done by the new data owner.  Storage charges cease at the time data are deleted, pro-rated to the day. 
  1. Archive:  Data can be moved to the PennHPC archive system, which is a tape-based system for long-term data storage.  This may be a good option if the data is important, and should be stored in a secure and redundant manner (unlike an external hard drive, for example) but may not be needed for immediate use.  Archive storage is much less expensive than disk storage, at $0.015/GB/month, as opposed to the disk storage price of $0.055/GB/month.  PMACS staff can assist in detailing this process, however PMACS staff cannot move the data; this must be done by the new data owner.  Storage charges cease at the time data are deleted, pro-rated to the day.