User Certification

SHARCNET has developed a certification procedure for users. The intent is to ensure that users acquire a degree of expertise that is appropriate for the level of resources to which they have access. It has been driven in part by the need to demonstrate to funding agencies that their investments are used effectively and is also one mechanism that we can use to ensure that our heavily used, shared systems remain useful for the large community that accesses them.

There are three certification levels, zero (the entry level), one (the default level), and two (the highest level). Starting in September 2008, every user will be assigned to one of these levels based on their need and demonstrated HPC competence. All existing users will be grandfathered to level one; all new users will be assigned to level zero. New users will be required to attend our introductory seminar and complete a brief quiz in order to graduate to level one. Level one users can request promotion to level two by sending email to Level two certification will normally require a clear demonstration of the following:

  • that level two resources are needed (note that run-time is effectively capped at 7 days globally; in order to complete a job that will run for longer than 7 days you will need to be checkpointing your job and resubmitting it---certification level is not a method by which you can exceed the 7 day run-time)
  • implementation of checkpoint/restart for long-running applications
  • efficient use of resources, including:
    • proper code design
    • execution efficiency
    • parallel scaling
Certification of a user to level two may be initiated by a SHARCNET staff member.

The following usage limits apply to the three certification levels. "Ncpus" refers to the number of CPU cores used simultaneously across all SHARCNET systems. "Job Length" is the wallclock job duration. For example, a Level 0 user can utilize up to 8 CPU cores for up to 24 hours at a time.

LevelNcpusJob Length
0824 hours
1256168 hours
2unlimited168 hours

New users can register for a new user seminar by logging onto the SHARCNET web portal and navigating to their account details tab. After attending the seminar, users can access the online quiz by navigating to My Account > Certification Quiz.