Computing Services

Getting Started

Supercomputing Services at Penn State

Penn State ICS operates and continuously improves ICS-ACI, the university’s high performance research cloud. Here’s what you you need to know and do to get started using the system.

What You’ll Need to Use ICS-ACI

We recommend that ICS-ACI users have:

  • Knowledge of the Linux/UNIX command-line interface
  • Knowledge of how to use Environment Modules
  • A basic understanding of how high-performance computing (HPC) or “supercomputing” works

ICS-ACI Accounts and Allocations

Getting Started Checklist

1. Do you have a Penn State Access Account?  Slim Access account?

  • If you are a Penn State researcher, you should already have a Penn State Access Account.
  • If you are an external collaborator you will need to set up a sponsored access account. While Full Access Accounts are available, a basic (and less expensive) Slim Access Account is adequate to gain access to ICS-ACI.

2. Is Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) set up?

To keep ICS-ACI secure, we require two-factor authentication. Penn State uses a 2FA service from Duo Security. Follow these instructions to enroll.

3. Did you apply for an ICS-ACI account?

To log in to the ICS-ACI systems, you will need an ICS-ACI account. To apply, visit the Account Setup page.

4. Will the default computing and storage resources meet your needs?

Once you have an ICS account, you will be able to submit jobs to the Open Queue. If the Open Queue will not meet your needs, you should obtain an ICS-ACI allocation. Your allocation on ICS-ACI determines the number of cores and amount of storage on ICS-ACI you can access. Jobs that run using the Guaranteed Response Time (GReaT) model will count against your allocation.

For storage services: By default, every ICS-ACI user receives access to two free storage directories:

  • Home: Up to 10 GB or 500,000 files.
  • Work: Up to 128 GB of shared storage or 1 million files.

If additional storage is required or you need to store large amounts of data, you will need to purchase an allocation. To see current service rates, please see Service Details.

If you are a principal investigator (PI), contact to purchase an allocation. If you are part of a research group, you will need to ask the PI to add you to the existing allocation.

Want to try out ICS-ACI before purchasing an allocation? Request a 30-day trial.

5. Do you have PuTTY Secure Shell (SSH) Client (if using Windows)?

Windows users may use the PuTTY SSH client or another SHH client to connect to ICS-ACI. PuTTY is available here.

Mac and Linux users can use SSH utilities in the command line to connect to ICS-ACI.

6. Do you have WinSCP Secure Copy Protocol Client (if using Windows)?

Windows users may use the file transfer client WinSCP or another file transfer client to move files between your storage on ICS-ACI and your local computer. WinSCP is available here.

Mac and Linux users can move files with the scp command in the command line.

Performing Basic Tasks on ICS-ACI:

The ICS-ACI User Guide contains instructions for performing basic tasks:

  • Logging in
  • Submitting jobs
  • Checking jobs
  • Cancelling jobs
  • Transferring files

You can also consult our collection of online, on-demand ICS-ACI Training Videos, attend an ICS-ACI Training Series workshop, or check out other training resources.

ICS-ACI Support:

Need help? If you can’t find answers to your questions in the ICS-ACI User Guide, you can contact our  i-ASK Center by phone or email, or submit a ticket.