High Performance Computing

  • Chinook

    Penguin Computing Community Cluster

    Chinook is the foundation for a new energy-efficient, condo-style HPC cluster for UA researchers. The computing environment hosted on Chinook includes:

    • 100+ Relion 1900 Compute Nodes each with dual Intel Xeon 12- or 14-core processors (24 or 28 cores per node) and 128 GB memory
    • 3x Relion 1900 Compute Nodes each with dual Intel Xeon 14-core processors (28 cores per node) and 1.5 TB memory
    • 2x Relion 1903GT Compute Nodes each with dual Intel Xeon 14-core processors (28 cores per node), 128 GB memory, and 3 dual GPU Tesla K80m accelerators
    • Multiple login nodes with dual Intel Xeon processors and 48 or more GBs memory
    • CentOS operating system, Slurm open-source workload management software, and Scyld ClusterWare HPC management software
    • Compute and login node access to the 307 TB Lustre scratch file system
    • Login node access to the 7+ PB long term tape storage file systems

    Are you interested in using the Chinook HPC cluster in your computational work? Please read our directions on how to obtain RCS project and user accounts.

    In 2016, the Geophysical Institute launched Chinook as an energy efficient linux cluster purchased from Penguin Computing, Inc. Chinook is named in honor of long time GI colleague Kevin Engle's unique, strong, collaborative nature and passion for salmon and Alaska. In 2016 and 2017, Chinook expansions were supported with funding from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. Chinook is also made possible by the Geophysical Institute, IARC, the Institute of Arctic Biology, the Vice Chancellor of Research, and your fellow colleagues who contribute shares.

  • XSEDE/Campus Champions

    Members of RCS staff are part of XSEDE's Campus Champions program, providing support and contacts for XSEDE systems and XSEDE startup allocations. Please contact RCS if you are interested in pursuing XSEDE resources.


High Performance Computing Storage

High Performance Computing storage ($CENTER1) is fast, high throughput, scratch storage available to Chinook users. $CENTER1 is a Lustre filesystem best used for large files. Reading or writing many small files may result in a noticeable performance reduction. As a scratch workspace, data in $CENTER1 is not backed up. Files that need long-term storage should be copied to a different system or filesystem, such as $ARCHIVE.

Projects are subject to a quota in $CENTER1. Quotas may be checked using the “show_storage” command. Always check to see if there is storage available for your file to be written as files written that go over the quota may be truncated, unwritten, or block move and write access to the filesystem.

Subsidized quota: 1 TB

HPC service rates

Online Spinning Disk

Online spinning disk is used to share data and VM storage. Data may be backed up automatically to $ARCHIVE for an additional service fee or Principal Investigators may back up online spinning disk data manually to their $ARCHIVE account using their subsidized 10 TB or any additional purchased $ARCHIVE storage. Online spinning disk storage will generally perform slower when used with high performance computing.

Online spinning disk rates

Offline Tape Archive

The offline tape archive ($ARCHIVE) is a long-term storage solution for infrequently accessed data, such as retention of completed work or an archive of data. Data stored in $ARCHIVE is written out to magnetic tape and must be retrieved when copied to another filesystem, resulting in very slow access times. Files in $ARCHIVE should be copied or moved to another filesystem before modifying or using the files.

Principal Investigators in $ARCHIVE are subject to quota. When quota is reached files may no longer be written, and a file that is currently being written to the filesystem may be truncated or deleted, and access to writing and moving files may be lost. It is always recommended to check that there is enough space to write your file. Quotas and current usage can be viewed with the “show_storage” command.

Subsidized quota: 10 TB

$ARCHIVE storage rates

Restricted Data Services

Launching in Summer 2018

Restricted data services are for data with specific data guidelines such as NIST or ITAR requirements, and cover file sharing and additional online spinning disk and $ARCHIVE storage. The restricted file share is available at no cost to UA faculty, staff, and students, but all data will be purged after 60 days. Restricted $ARCHIVE is subsidized at 2 TB, and additional restricted online spinning disk and $ARCHIVE can be purchased according to RCS service rates.

If you are unsure if a project's data needs require the restricted data service, please contact RCS (

Labs and Classrooms

RCS maintains three labs and classrooms on the UAF campus.

  • Remote Sensing Lab

    WRRB 004. This lab contains 16 student workstations running Windows 10 Pro plus an instructor's station and projector. Installed software supports GIS and Remote Sensing exercises and learning.

    WRRB 004 Schedule
    Schedule Request
    Software List

  • Mac Classroom

    WRRB 009. RCS is hosting 12 Mac Pro Systems in the 009 West Ridge Research Building. Use of these systems is available to staff, faculty and students affiliated with a UAF class or project. Access to the room is available 24 hours a
    day, 7 days a week, upon request. Room access is controlled via PolarExpress card entry.

    WRRB 009 Schedule
    Schedule Request
    Software List

  • Linux Lab

    WRRB 004. RCS maintains an HPC visualization lab with six workstations running Red Hat Enterprise Linux in 004 West Ridge Research Building. These machines are available to all RCS HPC users.

    Request Access
    Remote Login

  • Polar Express Access

    To request Polar Express access to a lab please fill out our WRRB Access Request Form.

  • Software Requests

    You can request for additional software to be installed in the labs by filling out Software Request Form.

WRRB Lab Software

WRRB 004 Remote Sensing Lab

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • ARCGIS 10.5.1
    • ArcMap
    • Python
  • ENVI + IDL
  • ERDAS Imagine
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Earth
  • ImageJ
  • Java
  • Matlab 2017A
  • SNAP 5.0 (Sentinel Toolboxes)

WRRB 009 Mac Classroom

  • Adobe Acrobat XI Pro
  • Adobe Creative Suite 6
  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Maya 2015 & 2017
  • MS Office 2011

Licensed / Proprietary Software

Proprietary software licenses hosted by RCS are made available to the UAF campus network. Please see the below links (log in using your UA credentials) for more information.

RCS also provides a centralized copies of software and data that are valuable to RCS or the UAF community. They are made available at as a shared resource. These are mirrored "as is" from publicly available repositories.

Here is a quick list of the packages on

  • ArchAssault
  • CentOS
  • Ubuntu



WiFi is available to UA students and employees through the eduroam or UAlaska networks. Visitor access is available via the GI Wireless network.

To connect to the eduroam network from Linux, see these instructions (UA login required).


Access to some RCS resources is restricted to the UA network and VPN. To connect to the VPN, see OIT's Cisco AnyConnect VPN Configuration Instructions page.

Contact if you need access to the Geophysical Institute VPN.

Port Activation

For ethernet port activations, please contact

Web Services

Content Management Systems


Drupal is a popular open source content management system (CMS). The Drupal community provides thousands of themes and plugins to customize the appearance and functionality of websites. Its modular architecture makes Drupal an ideal choice for rapid development of virtually any type of website. Examples of the many things that can be built with Drupal include:

  • Websites with complex access roles and editing privileges.
  • Conference websites with attendee abstract submission and review systems.
  • Audio/video content catalogs that are simultaneously served out as podcasts.
  • User-friendly databases with intricate tagging and searching systems to aid discovery.
  • API endpoints that integrate with other web applications or mobile apps.

For more information, see RCS provides full support for Drupal hosting, including consultation and development services.


WordPress is another popular CMS that is geared towards blogging. Like Drupal, the WordPress community provides thousands of themes and plugins to customize the appearance and functionality of your website. WordPress is best suited for:

  • Small-to-medium sized websites.
  • Websites with frequent blog entries and simple, static web pages.
  • Ease of use at the expense of flexibility.

For more information, see RCS provides limited support for WordPress hosting.

RCS Supported Features

  Drupal WordPress
File & Database Backups Yes Yes
Uptime & Performance Monitoring Yes Yes
Security Upgrades Yes Yes
SSL Yes Yes
Google Analytics Yes No
Static Archiving / Retirement Available No
Consulting & Development Available No
Domain Registration Available Available

Please contact to schedule a consultation to assess your website's needs.

Consulting / Development

RCS provides consulting and development services spanning many areas of web development, including:

  • Drupal
  • PHP
  • JavaScript / Node.js
  • Leaflet
  • MySQL
  • PostreSQL / PostGIS

Policies and Limitations

Limited to Research Projects & Groups

RCS web hosting services are for research projects and groups. Colleges, administrative offices, and academic departments should contact OIT at

Security Updates

Security updates are performed automatically on RCS web hosts to prevent attacks and unauthorized access. In rare cases these updates may introduce compatibility issues that will need to be resolved. RCS is not responsible for fixing issues that arise from automated security updates, but PIs may open a Work Authorization to support consultation and development as needed.


Each website hosted at RCS expires at the end of each fiscal year unless renewed by the PI. PIs may coordinate with RCS to identify available archive options if a site has reached end-of-life.

Custom Domains

Custom domains (domains not ending in or can be purchased at additional cost. These domains must be managed by RCS. New domains will need to be purchased by RCS on the PI's behalf. Existing custom domains will need to be transferred to RCS.

Workstation Support

RCS provides workstation support to facilitate Geophysical Institute research. Researchers at the Geophysical Institute should contact for workstation support.

Administration staff should contact the OIT Help Desk for workstation support.

Supported Platforms

  • Linux
  • Windows
  • Mac (including Apple-certified repairs)

Licensed Software

We provide several licensed software packages for workstations. Other licensed software is provided to employees and students though OIT.


We keep a collection of cables, adaptors, and peripherals on hand for use within the Geophysical Institute. Larger hardware components (e.g., monitors) must be checked out.