Compute Canada

What is the usage policy?

Please note: The FAQ pages at the HPCVL website are continuously being revised. Some pages might pertain to an older configuration of the system. Please let us know if you encounter problems or inaccuracies, and we will correct the entries.


HPCVL provides computing resources and services to researcherss (and their authorized students and employees) to help them do research. Every user has responsibilities that will ensure the maximum availability of HPCVL's resources, reduce risk, minimize liability, and protect other users. This policy lists the rights and responsibilities both of users and of HPCVL as the provider of services. Each user must agree, in writing, to abide by the policies governing the use and operation of HPCVL facilities. These policies will be available and maintained on the HPCVL web site for easy access.

All researchers in member institutions, including postdoctoral associates, graduate students, undergraduate students (if doing research), research associates, and research staff are eligible to apply for accounts on HPCVL systems. Principal Investigators (PIs) must pay the appropriate access fee for their research groups. When the fee has been paid, accounts will be issued. Researchers from other institutions are welcome to apply for access at the appropriate fee. All users, whether internal or external, are subject to the same policies.

Projects that emphasize parallel computation or that have large memory requirements are strongly encouraged. HPCVL reserves the right to allocate serial jobs to a serial batch pool.

HPCVL acknowledges that high-quality research projects often require large resource allocations and encourages researchers to tackle problems that require as much computing as can be delivered. Nevertheless, HPCVL's resources must be shared equitably.
HPCVL seeks to balance the two goals fairly.

  • Normally, all users have equal access to HPCVL's resources.
  • Users may increase their priority by paying a high-priority access fee.
  • Users who need and can use all of HPCVL's computing resources on a large-scale problem should arrange with the Executive Director for appropriate access.

HPCVL is presently in an 'under construction' period during which policies and regulations governing access and use of HPCVL resources may change rapidly. The rules and regulations will be posted on HPCVL's home page ( Users must keep apprised of the current policies and regulations as posted.

Because of differences Beowulf cluster and SUN environments, differences in operational requirements may apply.

Usage policy

HPCVL's Rights and Responsibilities
HPCVL reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

1. Systems connected to HPCVL's resources must be configured according to its security policy.

2. HPCVL is responsible for supporting only software that it has explicitly agreed to support. The list of supported software will be reviewed periodically and will be posted on the HPCVL Web site. Requests for new software should be forwarded to the Executive Director.

3. HPCVL exercises no control over the content of the information passing through HPCVL's equipment. HPCVL makes no warranties of any kind for the service it provides.

4. HPCVL will not be responsible for any damage a user, or any other person, suffers in connection with use of HPCVL's facilities. This includes damages resulting due to delays or service interruptions.

5. Effort is made by HPCVL staff to prevent the loss of data in the event of hardware or software failure, or through human error. In rare cases, it may not be possible to restore the latest version of every data file from backups, and some data may be lost.
HPCVL will not be liable to any person for any loss or corruption of any data, records or information placed on the system. Users agree to indemnify, and save HPCVL harmless, from all liability in connection therewith.

6. HPCVL will maintain an up-to-date registry of all HPCVL computer resources, licensed software, and the location of those resources.

7. In the event that HPCVL has actual knowledge, or there are reasonable grounds to believe, that the user may be in violation of any of the restrictions under this policy, HPCVL shall have the unrestricted right to terminate or suspend the user's rights under this policy.

8. HPCVL's resources must not be applied to unlawful purposes. Use of HPCVL's resources in violation of applicable law or regulation is prohibited. Such prohibitions include, but are not limited to: data that are threatening, obscene, or defamatory; hate propaganda; data that belong to a third party, and data that are protected by copyright, trade secret, patent, or other intellectual-property laws.

9. Each user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless HPCVL from any claims resulting from user's use of the service.

10. HPCVL reserves the right to refuse extra computing resources to users if their code cannot use the extra resources efficiently. Users are encouraged to attempt problems that require large resources, but the onus is on such users to ensure that their code can use the resources efficiently.

Access to HPCVL Facilities

1. Access to HPCVL is limited to access, and authorized users. All other access is prohibited, unless authorized in advance by the Executive Director.

2. HPCVL accounts will terminate when the researcher is no longer a user, or authorized user, of HPCVL.

3. A user may not permit any other person, including other authorized HPCVL users, to access HPCVL facilities through his or her account. Authorization to use HPCVL resources may not be loaned, or given to others, except for temporary access by HPCVL staff for the purpose of diagnosis or problem correction.

4. Providing false, or misleading, information for the purpose of obtaining access to HPCVL facilities is a violation of this policy.

5. Access to HPCVL will be denied to users who violate this policy.

User's Rights and Responsibilities

1. Above all, users are responsible at all times for using the HPCVL facilities in a manner that is ethical, legal, and consistent with the terms of this policy.

2. Users shall not harass, intimidate or threaten others by means of HPCVL facilities. Users are responsible for reporting to HPCVL all instances of harassment, intimidation or threats. Such conduct may constitute a violation of law and is a violation of this policy.

3. Programs, objects, and information created on HPCVL by a user are the property of the user, subject to the policies of the user's University.

4. Files controlled by individual users and residing on HPCVL, computers are considered to be confidential, whether or not they are accessible by other users.

5. Accounts issued on HPCVL facilities should not be utilized for e-mail by users unless for systems queries and assistance.

6. Users must not send proprietary or confidential information to any unauthorized party. Lending confidential information to an unauthorized party is a breach of this policy.

7. HPCVL's facilities are provided to enable users to conduct research. All other use is strictly prohibited unless by approval of HPCVL.

8. Although HPCVL has no obligation whatsoever to monitor, review, inspect, screen, audit or otherwise verify content of the information passing through HPCVL's facilities, HPCVL reserves the right to undertake any such activities concerning compliance with this policy.

9. Users are responsible for complying with the HPCVL security policy. Failure to do so shall constitute a breach of this policy. In particular:

  • Users are responsible for selecting a secure password for their account, and for keeping that password secret at all times. Passwords should be changed regularly. Passwords should not be written down, stored on-line, or given to others. If it is necessary to give the password to support personnel for fixing a problem with the user's machine, the password must be changed as soon as the need for others to know the password is passed.
  • Users are responsible for protecting their own files and data from reading and/or writing by other users, using whatever protection mechanisms are provided or approved by HPCVL.
  • Users must not transmit confidential information in un-encrypted form over publicly accessible media, e.g., the internet or broadcast mechanisms such as those used for wireless communication. Users who need to send confidential information across public media must contact the Executive Director for an appropriate encryption solution.

Users are responsible for reporting any system security violation, or suspected system security violation, to HPCVL staff immediately.

Failure to adhere to any of the above provisions constitutes a fundamental and material breach of this policy. Users must notify HPCVL immediately of any use of HPCVL's facilities of which the user has actual knowledge that would, or could reasonably be considered to, constitute a violation of this policy.

Although HPCVL's security efforts are consistent with best practice, complete privacy, confidentiality, and security is not guaranteed. Users agree that HPCVL shall not be responsible, or liable, for any damage that the user may suffer in connection with communication of private, confidential or sensitive information using HPCVL's equipment.

Proper Use

1. HPCVL facilities are a service provided to users to conduct research. All users are responsible for seeing that these computing facilities are used in an effective, efficient, ethical, and lawful manner.

2. Many resources, including disk space, CPU cycles, and software licenses, are shared among all users. Users shall not monopolize these resources without prior authorization from the Executive Director.

3. Users should not load the system in such a way that hinders others from performing useful work.

4. For software with a shared license, users should relinquish their licenses when no longer using the license.

5. Users must never leave their login sessions open and unattended.

6. Files controlled by individual users are to be considered as private information, whether or not they are accessible by other users.

7. The ability to read a file does not imply permission to read that file.

8. Under no circumstances may a user alter a file that does not belong to him or her without prior permission of the file's owner or other appropriate authority. The ability to alter a file does not imply permission to alter that file.

9. Any access to HPCVL's records, files, information or other data contained on any database or the HPCVL, or the use of such records, files, information or such other data when the USER has no proper, contractually related need for such information is prohibited.

10. Because the operation of HPCVL relies on the integrity and trust of its users, users are generally not blocked from perusing and investigating computer systems. Such access must not be abused either by attempting to harm the systems, or by stealing/copying copyrighted or licensed software.

11. System-level files (not owned by individuals) may be used and viewed if their access permissions so allow.

12. Most system-level files are part of copyrighted or licensed software, and may not be copied, in whole or in part, except as allowed by the license.

13. The same standards of intellectual honesty and plagiarism apply to software as to other forms of published work.

14. Intentionally making copies of software having a restricted-use license is theft as well as copyright infringement, unless permission to copy the software has been granted by the copyright holder.

15. Deliberate alteration of system-level files is gross misconduct and can lead to termination of any and all use of HPCVL's facilities.

16. HPCVL's facilities may not be used for the purpose of making unauthorized connections to, breaking into, or adversely affecting the performance of other systems on any network, whether these systems are HPCVL-owned or not. The ability to connect to other systems via the network does not imply the right to make use of, or even to connect to these systems, unless properly authorized by the owners of those systems.

17. HPCVL recognizes the value of computer security for both network operation and product development. Users may not intentionally develop or use programs that

  • Use resources that the user doesn't have the authority to use.
  • Harass, intimidate or threaten other users.
  • Attempt to bypass system security mechanisms, steal passwords or data, or crack passwords.
  • Attempt to consume all of an available system resource (memory, swap space, disk space, network bandwidth, dial-up ports, etc.).
  • Replicate themselves, or that attach themselves to other programs, in the manner commonly called worms or viruses.
  • Are designed to evade software licensing or copying restrictions.
  • Scan the network to identify security holes.
  • Block HPCVL in its attempts to collect information about, and manage its systems and network traffic. Users who believe that they have a legitimate reason to use or develop programs in the above categories to perform their contractual obligations must obtain permission from the Executive Director before developing or using these programs.

Failure to adhere to these provisions represents a fundamental breach of this policy.

Copyrighted Material and Software

1. Any software to be installed on any device in HPCVL must be original and properly licensed from an authenticated source authorized to distribute the software. Software obtained via a public connection (except as specified below), or from unauthenticated sources, may not be used on HPCVL's equipment.

2. Users who import software will be held fully responsible for all consequences that result from the use of that software. Users hereby indemnify, and save HPCVL harmless, for all damage, cost, expense, loss and liability arising from all acts and omissions related thereto.

3. Copyrighted material must not be knowingly imported, or otherwise copied, without permission from the author. If copyright material is obtained in a manner inconsistent with the rights granted by the author, it must not be stored on HPCVL-owned resources, and all copies must be destroyed. Failure to adhere to this provision constitutes a material and fundamental breach of this policy. Users hereby agree to indemnify, and save HPCVL harmless, for all liability in connection therewith.

4. Software on HPCVL's equipment may not be exported from HPCVL without the permission of the copyright holder.

5. Software licensed for academic non-profit use may not be used for non-academic purposes.

6. It is against this policy to violate the copyrights or patents on computer software. It is against this policy and may be a violation of provincial or federal law to violate software licenses.