Research Computing Usage Policies and Guidelines

General Conditions of Use

The use of Research Computing facilities is subject to the Privacy Policies, Computer Usage Regulations and Security Policy of Information Technology Services (ITS). When requesting an account on ITS Research Computing (ITSRC) facilities, all users have to agree to abide by these policies and guidelines.

 

Acceptable Use Policy

Accounting Policy

  1. All research computing facilities (HPC/AI/HTC) are for access by registered users only who have to observe the usage policies. Users are responsible for taking reasonable precautions to protect their own account from unauthorized access.
  2. Principal Investigator (PI) should apply for a group account on research computing resources such that his/her research group members can apply individual user account under the group account.
  3. User accounts are personal to individual users. User are prohibited from sharing their account(s) or credentials with others; neither students nor other collaborators. This includes the prohibition in sharing the password of the account, providing access via a .rhost entry or other means of sharing. As such, users are also prohibited from using others’ logon ID and password to gain access to the research computing systems.

Compute & Storage Resources

  1. Compute resources are allocated in a fair manner. Resource allocation is defined based on the share and usage history. Usage accounting is performed in terms of core-hours per user, which are grouped according to PI.   
  2. Each user account will have free access to limited disk quota of home storage and/or short-term working storage on research computing system(s). For more disk space requirements, they shall use the PI group storage.
  3. Each PI group has an initial 5TB group storage (up to 15TB at no charge) on research computing system(s) to be shared among the authorized PI group members. Upon request and subject to ITS discretion, additional storage may or may not incur a cost.
  4. PI is ultimately responsible for all use of ITSRC resources (compute, storage, etc) by members in the PI’s group. 

Research Computing Usage Policy

All research computing systems are shared use among multiple users, thus your actions can have serious impacts on the research computing system(s) can affect other users. The following policies and rules are in place to ensure a fair use of the computing resources and enable the access from unauthorized or malicious use. Jobs/accounts may be suspended if any misuse of the system is identified.

  1. The use of research computing system(s) is restricted for academic and research purposes only. It must NOT be used in relation to any commercial activities, consultancy services, or creating any nuclear, biological or chemical weapons or military products capable of delivering weapons.
  2. Users are responsible for using research computing facilities (HPC/HTC clusters, AI Platform) in an efficient, effective, ethical and lawful manner.
  3. Access to research computing system is to be via secure communication channel(e.g. ssh) to respective frontend/login nodes. Compute nodes are intended for handling heavy computational work, and must be accessed via the resource management system or dedicated Web portal only. Direct access to compute nodes is not permitted.
  4. Users are requested to report for any weaknesses in computer security and incidents of possible misuse or violation of the account policies to the Information Technology Services.   
  5. Users shall not attempt to access any data or programs contained on the research computing system for which they do not have authorization or explicit consent of the owner of the data/program.
  6. Users shall not make copies of system configuration files (e.g. the password file) for unauthorized personal use nor to provide such information to other people/users.
  7. Users shall not purposely engage in activities to circumvent computer security or system administrative measures (for example batch queue control settings).
  8. Users shall not download, install or run security programs or utilities which reveal weaknesses in the security of research computing systems.
  9. Installation of software on research computing systems must include a valid license (if applicable). No software will be installed on the system without prior proof of license eligibility.
  10. Users are requested to acknowledge the use of ITS Research Computing facilities (HPC/HTC/AI Platform) in their research publications. Please see the Acknowledgement for more information.

For High Performance Computing (HPC) service

  1. Frontend/login nodes are used for interactive work required to prepare computational tasks, as well as pre-processing and post-processing works such as source code editing, compilation, program testing, job submission and data analysis. There is a 15-minute CPU time limit for any process on the login nodes. All processes that use more that 15 minutes may be terminated without notice.
  2. All computational jobs run on the HPC cluster systems must be submitted via the resource management system (Torque/Slurm). This enable resources to be sensibly allocated and most efficiently used.

For High Throughput Computing (HTC) service

User executables include any runnable code/script which accompany the Condor submission, including but not limited to batch files (.bat), executable program (.exe), dynamically-linkable libraries (.dll) and any scripts. These files will be run on the HTC machines.

  1. Users are required to scan their user executables using the Universities’ specified Anti-virus program before copying them into the HTC system(s).
  2. User executables should not excessively consume local computing resources. This includes the use of CPU time and disk space, as well as spawn of threads/processes.
  3. User executables should not make network connections. If it is unavoidable, users shall request prior approval from the Research Computing team. Such requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Network connection beyond HKU campus network is STRICTLY PROHIBITED.

Research Computing team try to plan and inform users of system maintenance (via ITS webpage or email announcement), however the computing systems may require shutting down without prior notice in case of an emergency or unavoidable maintenance.

This policy will be amended and reviewed periodically.

Getting Help

For any questions regarding this access policy or resources misuse report, please send an email to Research Computing team.