Performance Computing and Communications Facilities
Shared Computing Cluster
The Boston University Shared Computing Cluster
(SCC) is the first Boston University high performance
computing resource located off of the Boston
University campus. The SCC is located in Holyoke,
MA, site of the Massachusetts Green High Performance
Computing Center (MGHPCC) where energy is plentiful,
clean, and inexpensive. Two 10Gigabit Ethernet
network connections between the MGHPCC and the
BU campus provide extremely fast data transfer
between the two locations.
The SCC is a heterogeneous Linux cluster composed
of both shared and buy-in components. The system
currently includes 1408 shared processors, 2212
buy-in processors, a combined 232 GPUs, 23 TB
of memory, and nearly a petabyte of storage
for research data.
The first components of the system were delivered
to the MGHPCC in January, 2013 and went into
production use on June 10, 2013. Over the summer
of 2013, the newer Katana nodes as well as various
departmental and buy-in nodes were integrated
into the system. Since then the system has been
expanded with elements of the BUMC LinGA system
and additional buy-in nodes and these expansions
will continue into the future.
The cluster includes nodes in a number of different
configurations, detailed on the technical summary
page. Two sets of nodes in the cluster incorporate
a combined 232 GPUs (graphics processing units)
for research computing use.
SCC’s operating system is Linux Centos
All users with SCF accounts can log in using
ssh to the SCC. Your login and password are
the same as on previous SCF systems and the
login nodes are scc1.bu.edu, scc2.bu.edu, geo.bu.edu
(for Earth & Environment department Buy-In
users), and scc4.bu.edu (for BUMC users with
dbGaP data). If you have a valid SCF account,
you can use either your BU Kerberos password
or local SCF Linux password (for those who have
one) to log in.
There will be regular updates posted here on
the status of the SCC. We also have a regularly
updated page listing the software installed
on the SCC.
Your home directory on the SCC has a 10GB quota.
All projects have Project Disk Space in /project/,
/projectnb/, /restricted/project/, and/or /restricted/projectnb/
allocated to them. All SCC projects have at
least 50GB of backed up space and 50GB of not
backed up space. Additional space can be requested
by the project Principal Investigator (or Administrative
Contact if there is one) by following the appropriate
link here. Requests for over 1 TB of space will
generally incur a charge.
Those with Data Archive space will also be
able to access it from the SCC starting at /archive/,
as long as access from the SCC has been granted
to your project/group’s space. This is
done on an individual project/group basis.
Usage Policies and Batch System Information
Jobs running on the login nodes are limited
to 15 minutes of CPU time and a small number
of processors. Jobs on the batch nodes have
a default wall clock limit of 12 hours but this
can be increased, depending on the type of job.
Single processor (serial) and omp (multiple
processors all on one node) jobs can run for
720 hours, MPI jobs for 120 hours, and jobs
using GPUs are limited to 48 hours. Use the
qsub option -l h_rt=HH:MM:SS to ask for a higher
limit. An individual user is also only allowed
to have 256 processors simultaneously in the
run state; this does not affect job submission.
These limitations apply to the shared SCC resources.
Limitations on Buy-In nodes are defined by their
CPU usage on the SCC is charged by wall clock
time. Thus if you request 12 processors and
your code runs for 10 hours, you will be charged
for the full 120 hours (multiplied by the SU
factor for the node(s) you are running on) even
if your actual computation only ran for, say,
The batch system on the SCC is OGS which is
an open source version of the SGE batch system.
Transitioning to the SCC
This page on porting your code to the SCC should
be particularly helpful to users of the now
decommissioned Katana cluster. Details on running
jobs and programming for the SCC are also available.
A list of available software on the SCC is
This page provides basic information on the
SCC. For additional information, please follow
the sidebar links.
For general questions or to report system problems,
please send email to email@example.com.
For more information or help in using or porting
applications to the SCC, please see our Scientific
Programming Consulting page.
If you have questions regarding your computer
account or resource allocations, please send
E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215 - tel: 617-353-6078
- fax: 617-358-2487
Page last updated on February 10, 2014. Please
send comments to Cheryl