Research Computing Systems at the Geophysical Institute provides advanced computing, storage, data sharing solutions and research IT support to University of Alaska research communities, collaborators and supporters.
| Elvey Building Suite 511
RCS is in the office. We are happy to meet in person by appointment. Call x8602, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or click one of these links to schedule a time:
Masks are required per current UAF policy. We can also use Zoom or Google Meet for a virtual visit.
Equipment can be dropped off or picked up from the cart outside our door.
- Service Rates
High Performance Computing Condo Model - Chinook
Service Description Price $HOME Quota $CENTER1 Quota Tier 1 Open to UA research community using community nodes and unused portions of shareholder nodes. $0 for UA faculty, staff, and students User: 50 GB Project: 1 TB Additional: $0.15/GB/yr* Tier 2 For projects requiring runtimes beyond what is offered by Tier 1 or priority access to HPC resources. ~$10500 / std node; 3-yr membership User: 50 GB Project: 1 TB + 1 TB per node or equivalent investment ~$10750 / std node; 4-yr membership ~$11000 / std node; 5-yr membership Additional: $0.15/GB/yr* Tier 3 For projects requiring dedicated HPC resources. Contact RCS Contact RCS Contact RCS
Online Spinning Disk Option 1 - Lease Disk
1 TB or less: $.12/GB/year ($120/TB/year)
1.1 to 29.9 TBs: $90/TB/year
30 TBs or more: $60/TB/year
Option 2 - Purchase Disk Price of hardware, 20 hours labor install first year Under Warranty: $5/TB/yr Out of Warranty: $5/TB/yr + cost of replacement parts/drives + hourly labor for repair time Additional copies on tape $0.05/GB/yr* Offline Tape Archive ($ARCHIVE) PI Quota 10 TB $0 for any UA PI to distribute among their projects Additional Quota $0.05/GB/yr* for any UA PI to distribute among their projects
Linux Server Support
Price** Basic - RCS assists w/ system administration. A work authorization for a minimum of 80 hours / year Standard - RCS performs all system administration.
First year - a work authorization for 20 hours to install & support.
Each year thereafter - $1,000 or $5/TB, whichever is greater.
CPU Memory Image Storage Price/year** Subsidized
Limit: 1 per PI.
1 1 GB 20 GB $0 Small 1 2 GB 20 GB $180 Medium 2 4 GB 20 GB $360 Large 4 8 GB 20 GB $720
Web Hosting Options
Price UA Google Sites
$0; provided by UAF OIT
RCS Hosted Drupal or WordPress Site
Cost of Virtual Machine or Server + $300/year
Initial site development or significant changes/upgrades by RCS require a separate work authorization.
Minimum VM Size: Small
Non-UA domains are available at additional cost.
*Offered in 100 GB increments.
**Includes backup of standard directories within system image.
Please contact RCS at email@example.com for assistance assessing your research project IT needs.
RCS services are for research projects and groups. Colleges, administrative offices and academic departments should contact OIT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All services are subject to availability and rates are subject to change.
A minimum $25 per year will be charged for any unsubsidized services utilized.
Services are invoiced upfront annually at the start of the fiscal year.
Additional labor to support project development or implementation may be coordinated between a PI and RCS, and direct charged to an award fund/org with permission granted by the PI through a Work Authorization.
- Facilities Statement
Access to the RCS Facilities Statement (requires UA login).
- RCS Citation
Has your recent work using RCS resources resulted in publication? Please include the following text in your publication(s):
This work was supported in part by the high-performance computing and data storage resources operated by the Research Computing Systems Group at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.
- Proposal Support and Cost Estimates
Please contact RCS if additional proposal support or information is needed. Any project subject to data restrictions such as ITAR or NIST standards should also contact RCS for assistance. For current service rates please refer to our current Service Rates above.
- New Users
Access to RCS resources requires that you be a member of a project established by a UA principal investigator. Tenured or tenure track faculty, research faculty and emeritus faculty are normally allowed to serve as a principal investigator. Other university employees, including staff, research associates or post-doctoral fellows, may not serve as principal investigators unless granted an exception by their institute director or academic dean with the approval of the UAF Office of Sponsored Programs.
UA Principal Investigator
To establish a new project please fill out the project account application form.
Principal investigators are responsible for the members, storage and other resource use of a project, and if additional resources are needed that are not covered by RCS subsidized services, procurement will be routed through the PI.
Prior to establishing a project the principal investigator should note any special data management needs such as any obligations on data security, how long data must be retained, and/or ITAR compliance, and notify RCS during the project creation process.
If you are a UA principal investigator wanting to collaborate with non-UA colleagues on RCS or UA systems, please email email@example.com with the subject: "Guest Account Application." Please include your project name and the collaborator's first name, last name and email address. Sponsored user accounts expire annually on June 30.
UA Classes and Course Instructors
Instructors may request a project for their classes. Please complete a project account application form and user account application form, and provide a list of students and their UA usernames to be added to the class project. One TB of long-term, offline tape storage ($ARCHIVE) is provided for class projects. Student data stored in the high performant online spinning disk ($CENTER1) will be deleted annually at the end of the spring semester. Class accounts must be renewed annually.
UA Staff or Student
You will need to fill out a user account application form and the PI of your project must email RCS and request to add you as a member of their project.
- High Performance Computing
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 the foundation for an energy-efficient, condo-style HPC cluster for UA researchers. The computing environment includes:
- 105 Relion 1900 Compute Nodes each with dual Intel Xeon 12- or 14-core processors (24 or 28 cores per node) and 128 GB memory
- 10 Relion XE1112 Compute Nodes each with dual Intel Xeon Scalable 20-core processor (40 nodes per node) and 192 GBs 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
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 UAF vice chancellor for research, and your fellow colleagues who contribute shares.
WiFi is available to UA students and employees through the eduroam or UAlaska networks. Visitor access is available via the UAGuest network.
To connect to the eduroam network from Linux, see these instructions (UA login required).
Access to some GI and RCS resources is restricted to the UA network and VPN. To connect to the VPN, see OIT's Remote Connectivity (VPN) page.
For Ethernet port activations, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
High-Performance Computing Storage
High-Performance Computing storage ($CENTER1) is 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 requiring long-term storage should be copied to a different system or filesystem such as $ARCHIVE. Data in $CENTER1 is not purged, but if files are deleted or overwritten or the filesystem crashes or is corrupted, there is no restoring the data if there isn't a copy elsewhere except to regenerate it.
Projects are subject to a quota in $CENTER1. Quotas and utilization may be checked using the “show_storage” command. Always check to see if there is storage available for your date to be written as files that go over the quota may be truncated, unwritten, or block other write access to the filesystem. If you need to temporarily use more than your project's quota of scratch space, contact email@example.com to request a temporary increase for up to 30 days. Include how much additional space is needed and a paragraph justifying the need for additional space.
Subsidized quota: 1 TB per project
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 $ARCHIVE storage. Online spinning disk storage will generally perform more slowly when used with high-performance computing.
Offline Tape Archive
The offline tape archive ($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 per Project Investigator
Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) Data Services
Launching in Winter 2020/2021
CUI data services will be for data with specific data guidelines such as NIST requirements. They include online spinning disk, file sharing, and $ARCHIVE storage. The restricted file share will be available to UA faculty, staff and students. Restricted $ARCHIVE will be subsidized up to 2 TB. CUI online spinning disk and additional $ARCHIVE space will be available to purchase according to RCS service rates.
If you are unsure if a project's data needs require the CUI data service, please contact RCS (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Software & Operating Systems
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.
- Abaqus 2016
- IDL / ENVI
- MATLAB (please visit RCS if a node-locked license is required)
If you need assistance installing any of these, or any other software, contact RCS at email@example.com.
- 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 Drupal.org. 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 WordPress.org. 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 Yes Static Archiving / Retirement Available Available Consulting & Development Available Available Domain Registration Available Available
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
- 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 email@example.com.
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 (domains not ending in uaf.edu or alaska.edu) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for workstation support.
Administration staff should contact the OIT Help Desk for workstation support.
Supported PlatformsLinux, Windows and Mac (including Apple-certified repairs)
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.
We provide several licensed software packages for workstations. Other licensed software is provided to employees and students though OIT.
Google Backup & Sync
Google Backup & Sync is a program that allows you to automatically backup your documents and files to your Google Drive. It is currently OIT's recommended automatic data backup solution. For more information, visit OIT's Google Backup & Sync web page.