Daily Bulletin Archive

May 31, 2012

CISL recently became aware of an issue related to the accounting information associated with a large number of HPSS files. We learned that, due to some HPSS changes performed in January to allow CISL to maintain consistent group information across the Yellowstone environment, the "billing information" -- the project to which a file is charged -- was also inadvertently changed for some files.

While not all users or files were affected, many were, so we are extending this information to all HPSS users. In addition, the cause has been identified and, although CISL will avoid similar changes in the future, users need to understand the cause because you can affect your own files in the same way using standard HSI commands.

The following key points should help users understand the problem and whether they might have been affected:

1. We emphasize that NO files were altered or lost due to these changes. For some files, only the project to which the files were being charged was changed.

2. If you have only one project to which you can charge HPSS usage, your files were not affected. You can view your available projects and change your default project by visiting the CISL Portal (https://cislportal.ucar.edu/).

3. For users with more than one valid HPSS project, files charging to a non-default project may now be billed to your default project. Users with significant HPSS holdings may want to to check the account/project information for their files. CISL has some information about which users were affected and how many files for each user were affected. However, we do not know exactly which files may have been affected. Please contact cislhelp@ucar.edu for these details.

4. In most cases, the most efficient fix is to use the "chacct" command yourself on affected files or directories. Please see the HPSS documentation at https://www2.cisl.ucar.edu/docs/hpss/projects. Users with very large numbers of files (hundreds of thousands) can contact cislhelp@ucar.edu for assistance.

5. All users should review the HPSS documentation for the "chgrp" and "cp" commands and for setting your "default project." In HPSS, the normal behavior of the chgrp or cp commands also changes the account (i.e., project) for the associated file(s) to the user's HPSS default project. Given the volumes of data likely to be produced from Yellowstone, all users are strongly encouraged to become more familiar with the HSI commands related to accounting.

We regret the error on our part and will provide assistance wherever possible.

Please contact cislhelp@ucar.edu if you have any questions or concerns.

May 30, 2012

Although Bluefire's decommissioning has been postponed until at least Sept. 30, 2012, CISL recognizes that the overlap between Bluefire and Yellowstone will be short, with Yellowstone's acceptance currently slated for the beginning of August.

While Yellowstone's priority in August and September will be supporting the university and NCAR Accelerated Scientific Discovery (ASD) projects, about 4% of the resource will be available to the rest of the user community. (For comparison, 4% of Yellowstone is expected to provide approximately the computational capacity of the entire Bluefire system.)

During August, as soon as practical after Yellowstone has been accepted and the ASD projects have gotten under way, CISL will be extending access to the rest of the user community. In August and September, non-ASD work will run at lower priority, so users should plan accordingly and focus on porting, testing and smaller-scale preparatory work.

Starting in October, the Yellowstone resource will become more generally available to all users as the ASD projects ramp down.

Delays in Yellowstone's being accepted may cause us to revisit this access schedule (and potentially Bluefire's decommissioning date).

May 30, 2012

Responses to a CISL user survey that was conducted in late 2011 and early 2012 are helping shape the new Yellowstone environment. We have just posted our response to the survey, summarizing suggestions, comments, and service ratings from more than 160 supercomputer users. It also describes how the information is being used, actions that have already been taken based on user feedback, and others that are planned or being considered.

To read the report, go to CISL's Yellowstone User Environment Survey Results web page or download the PDF file.

May 23, 2012

Several workshops are being held around the country this summer, aimed at educators who want to introduce or expand the use of computational resources in their classrooms. Faculty who are teaching at the college level, especially Minority-Serving Institutions, are encouraged to apply. Applications from secondary school teachers in appropriate disciplines will be accepted on a space-available basis.

A limited number of travel scholarships are available to interested faculty. The scholarships will provide partial or full reimbursement of travel costs to and from the workshops and/or local housing costs. Preference will be given to faculty from institutions that are formally engaged with the education program of XSEDE – Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment – and those institutions that can provide some matching travel funds. Recipients are expected to be present for the full workshop.

Those interested in a travel scholarship should register for the desired workshop, and then create an account and complete the scholarship application at:

As part of its education program, XSEDE is co-sponsoring these workshops with the National Computational Science Institute to provide professional development for faculty interested in integrating computational science education into their classes and curriculum. XSEDE also is working with institutions interested in creating formal undergraduate and graduate degree, certificate, and concentration programs in computational science.

Workshop list, including details and application links:

The National Computational Science Institute provides workshops covering a wide range of subjects relating to computational science. These workshops are for educators at all levels, giving them ideas and resources to use in their classrooms.
NCSI: http://www.computationalscience.org/

May 17, 2012

At the request of NSF, CISL is relaying the message below to our user communities. --Daily B.

We want you to help guide EarthCube, a bold new NSF initiative to create an integrated data and knowledge management system for the geosciences. Researchers funded by NSF want to know your views on the needs in data and cyberinfrastructure across the geosciences. Because data discovery, access, and use is such an integral part of what we all do now, we encourage you to click the following link and take the survey ASAP http://sgiz.mobi/s3/EarthCube-Stakeholder-Consent-PA *

We also encourage you to register on the EarthCube website (http://earthcube.ning.com/) and get involved in the conversations that are taking place about EarthCube. Survey results will be shared with NSF, posted on the EarthCube website, and presented at the EarthCube community meeting this June.

* This link takes you to a survey to capture your view on how to best advance data-enabled geoscience. Your participation is voluntary. Your identity will be kept separate from your responses and be kept strictly confidential. Only aggregate findings will be reported. As for all surveys of this kind, it starts with a voluntary consent form. Please share your views by clicking on the above link and tell us what you think.

May 17, 2012

The CISL User Services Section has published new “quick start” documentation for NCAR users who are working with the Janus cluster managed by the University of Colorado's Research Computing group. It includes details about logging in, which node to use for compiling, a sample job script, and other information that NCAR users need to know. See Quick start for NCAR users.

May 16, 2012

No Scheduled Downtime: Bluefire, HPSS, Lynx, DAV, GLADE

May 16, 2012

Bluefire login nodes outage for May 15 has been cancelled.

Bluefire login nodes may not be accessible between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. this coming Tuesday, May 15 while system administrators try to tune some network parameters as part of solving the recent GPFS performance problems. We are working closely with IBM on the exact settings for the network configuration, and we may have to postpone this change.

We apologize for the inconvenience and uncertainty created due to this change.

We will make every effort to minimize both. Please note that Bluefire batch nodes will continue running jobs throughout the outage.

May 9, 2012

Over the past few weeks, many users have experienced and have submitted tickets reporting intermittent periods of slow response times on the Bluefire login nodes, the Mirage DAV nodes, and other systems, as well as slow file system performance from the Bluefire batch nodes.

CISL staff from the high-end services section, the networking section, and the consulting group have been continuously pursuing every possible cause of this performance degradation since the April 14 data center power-down. Networking and computing vendors have also been engaged. In fact, the problem became more pronounced after the power-down, but actually seems to have surfaced on or about April 9.

All recent downtimes and changes for Bluefire and other systems have been made to track down and eliminate the root cause of the problem. Please monitor email from Notifier to keep apprised of changes and downtimes. (Subscribing to the "CISL Status" service at http://notifier.ucar.edu/ will get you all key notices.)

We have narrowed down the possible problem locations to the networking connections and interfaces between the compute systems and the GLADE servers, but to date have not yet isolated the cause of the problem. Our current monitoring shows that changes to date have mitigated the problem and the incidents have been less frequent and shorter, but the issue has not yet been eliminated.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this problem has caused. Rest assured that we are continuing to give the problem our full attention.

May 9, 2012

To help you prepare for the transition from Bluefire to the new Yellowstone environment, we've put together some information about the most notable differences between these systems: Transition from Bluefire. We hope it will answer some questions for you.

When more details become available, we will expand that page and also let you know when other new documentation is published.

As announced recently, Bluefire will be shut down on or shortly after September 30, 2012. Review that CISL Daily Bulletin item for more information.