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Introduction to TAMU Computing Accounts

There are two types of accounts needed for each MitchComp users:

  1. The campus-wide “NetID”: Which is associated with your A&M e-mail address, student or staff ID, and so on
  2. HPRC Computing Account: Which gets you access to the login and compute nodes, the HPRC OnDemand Portal, home and scratch directories, etc.

In order to use HPRC, you must have both accounts set up and active, and the accounts must be renewed annually before 1 September.

If you are a Texas A&M student, faculty, or staff, you should already have a NetID.

Getting a NetID for Remote Collaborators

Creating your NetID:

Before we can get you a NetID you need a Sponsor, typically Prof. David Toback, and you need an official affiliation with both the Department and the University which will need to be renewed yearly. To start this process we need you to fill out the 3 forms below as well as send some some documentation.
If you want to use Mitchcomp resources at the HPRC, you probably want it to be Toback for administrative purposes so he can handle all the paperwork even if you are working with someone else in the department.

This process is done in 4 Steps

  1. Items we need from you:First, start by emailing these documents to Mitchcomp Help (mitchcomp_help@physics.tamu.edu). (Please fill in the first 3 forms)
    1. Fill in our unofficial “Basic Information” form: Link to the form. Make sure you have the updated form (last update was at 8/10/2020, and you should be able to see it as the header of the form)
    2. Fill in the guest NetID Request Form (Use this example to fill in the form and make sure to check the “Subject’s UIN (Universal Identification Number) needs to be created” field)
    3. Fill in this form so we can draft a Letter of Invitation (Use this example to fill in the form). DO NOT send this letter on edit mode. When you filled it, go for printing it, then choose “Print to PDF” and send us the saved file. This way your information will be readable by us.
    4. A copy of your CV
    5. An image of your government-issued Photo ID (for example your driver’s license or passport)

    We will use these documents to create an Invitation letter and a Visitor Request Form for you. These will be sent to you and signed in Steps 2 and 3.

    Please keep a copy of what you send since you will need it for Renewal.

  2. Sign the Invitation letter after we send it to you:
    After you send us these forms, Toback will work with the administrators to create a Letter of Invitation from the department for you. After he and a representative of the department sign it, you will receive the invitation from the department. When you receive it, you should sign it and send it back to the person who sent it and CC Prof. Toback (toback@physics.tamu.edu).
  3. Sign the Visitor Request Form after we send it to you:
    We will fill out a Visitor Request Form to create your affiliation with the University, and you have to sign it. Then we can send it back to the Department who will begin your NetID creation process with the University.
  4. Claim your NetID after you have been approved for it:
    It usually takes several weeks to get the invitation approved. Then, it usually takes about 5 days for the Texas A&M NetID Identity Manager System Registration Authority to process the NetID request. Once it is done you need to follow these three steps to get your NetID and UIN (we recommend writing both down to save them for these steps as well as for your yearly renewal):
    1. When you receive a notification email from Texas A&M Identity Management indicating that the account has been created, you will need to call 979-862-4300 to claim your UIN. They will ask you to provide the following: (a) the keystone number provided in the email, (b) your name, (c) your date of birth. An Identity Manager assistant will attend your call. If you have any problems contact Mitchcomp Help (mitchcomp_help@physics.tamu.edu) and we will get things sorted out.
    2. Claim your NetID: Go to http://gateway.tamu.edu/. Click Claim NetID. Enter new UIN and select birthdate. Click Log in. On the next screen, enter your chosen NetID and click Submit, next create a password.

NetID Annual Renewal for Remote Collaborators

Each year you will get an email from Account Life Cycle Monitor (with email address: alc-monitor@tamu.edu) which will ask you if you want to renew your NetID. You should send an Email to Prof. David Toback (toback@physics.tamu.edu) saying if you want to renew you account or not.

After your confirmation, the process of renewing your NetID is similar to the above, but only requires new versions of the first three steps:

  1. Items we need from you:
    First, we will need documentation. For the first three items we will need new versions of documents from your initial affiliation since the department and University need updated information even if it hasn’t changed. For the last two, if they have expired or need to be updated, we will need them as well. Start by emailing these documents to Mitchcomp Help (mitchcomp_help@physics.tamu.edu):
    1. Fill in our unofficial “Basic Information” form: Link to the form. Make sure you have the updated form (last update was at 8/10/2020, and you should be able to see it as the header of the form) (This likely the same as you did last year. You can typically send the same document if there are no changes)
    2. Fill in the guest NetID Request Form. While it looks like you are requesting a new NetID, you can use an old document and just change the information, or create a new one. If you want to use the old one, note that in “Subject Information” (at the top) you should remove the X from “Subject’s UIN needs to be created” and add a Check to “Subject already has UIN”. Add your UIN number. Let us know if you don’t have it. (Use this example to fill in the form and make sure to check the “Subject already has UIN” field and enter your UIN)
    3. Since we will need to draft a new Letter of Invitation, you can use the form you filled out from last year or create a new form using this template (Use this example to fill in the form). DO NOT send this letter on edit mode. When you filled it, go for printing it, then choose “Print to PDF” and send us the saved file. This way your information will be readable by us.
    4. Your CV
    5. An image of your goverment-issued Photo ID (for example your driver’s licence or passport)

    We will use these documents to create your new Invitation Letter and Visitor Request Forms which will be sent back to you for signature in steps 2 and 3.

  2. Sign the Invitation Letter after we send it to you:
    Sign the Invitation Letter after we send it to you following the instructions for Step 2 above.
  3. Sign the Visitor Request Form after we send it to you:
    Sign the Visitor Request Form after we send it to you using the instructions for Step 3 above.

Getting a Mitchcomp Membership

If you are a Remote Collaborator, and you followed the instructions to get a NetID, you don’t need to do anything and you will be a Mitchcomp member automatically in the process.

You should be able to access mitchcomp directory if you are a mitchcomp member. If not, you can follow these steps (for both group members and remote collaborators) to request for a membership:

  1. Fill in our unofficial “Basic Information” form: Link to the form. Make sure you have the updated form (last update was at 8/10/2020, and you should be able to see it as the header of the form)
  2. Attach the “Basic Information” form to an email and send it to Mitchcomp Help (mitchcomp_help@physics.tamu.edu)

Getting an HPRC Account

WARNING: This documentation is for MITCHCOMP group members. If you are not a Mitchcomp member, please go to HPRC New User Information or User Services guides.

Step 1: Read the policies
The last thing you want to do in any computing resources is violate a policy. This step may sound trivial but it keeps getting ignored by users, which causes them trouble in future. Read the policies carefully to avoid account suspension.
Go to HPRC Policies webpage to read the relevant policies.
See also the Cluster Policies webpage and read the small text (Terra and Curie have the exact same policies too). They are important as the text contains data storage policies.
It is important to read the Resource Allocations Policy as it will be needed in next step.

Step 2: Get an account

In order to get an HPRC account, you need to fill an application form at https://hprc.tamu.edu/apply
You will need to enter your TAMU account. If you are a student (not a research associate) choose the ‘student’ option and apply a for a basic account.

It will ask for your PI’s email, phone, and NetID but all mitchcomp users should list David Toback as their “PI” for HPRC, so that we can easily allocate more CPU to you, as well as provide unified support to all Mitchell Institute users. On the HPRC application form, list:
David Toback, toback@tamu.edu, NetID toback, phone (979) 218-7130
This will make you a part of Mitchcomp group so we can easily allocate more CPU to you

Now you need to fill in a simple form. As a ‘research description’ example, here is something a member of Dr. Toback’s group might write (DO NOT copy the text below directly; describe your own research project. You also DO NOT need to mention Dr. Toback here if you’re in another group; give your actual PI’s name):

I am working under Dr. Toback(toback@tamu.edu) in CDMS experiment group. CDMS experiment studies the physics of the dark matter detector. Detector Monte Carlo software has been developed by Super CDMS to simulate phonon and charge propagation within the detectors in addition to detector read out (for both charge and phonons).
I will contribute to CDMS by simulating the response of the dark matter detector to known sources. The results from this monte carlo simulation will be used to analyze real experiment data. We expect to find evidence of dark matter, possibly in the form of WIMPs.
Computational tools I will use:

• Running i-Python (interactively or submitting a script)
• processing CDMS data (CDMSbats)
• running SCDMStools for matlab (matCAP)
• Root by CERN
• Geant4
• I also write my own software in shell, C, and python.

You will receive an e-mail when your account is created (probably within a day or two). It will be from help@hprc.tamu.edu, and probably in your NetID@tamu.edu address. Be sure to check your spam folders if you can’t find it.

Step 3: Login
In order to login into any HPRC cluster, you need to connect to campus internet. If you are on campus, you’re good. If not, you need to connect to campus VPN (see this page. You may have to install Cisco AnyConnect).
After you got connected to TAMU VPN (connect.tamu.edu), or if you were on campus already, use the following command:
$ ssh YOUR-NET-ID@terra.tamu.edu (if you want to connect to Terra)
$ ssh YOUR-NET-ID@grace.tamu.edu (if you want to connect to Grace)

Then you need to enter your howdy portal (NetID) password.

After that you need to choose a method for the two-step authentication. If you are not enrolled yet, enroll at https://gateway.tamu.edu/duo-enroll/
Terra has 3 login nodes: terra1~3
Grace has 5 login nodes: grace1~5
It’s a policy of HPRC NOT TO USE MORE THAN 8 CORES ON THE LOGIN NODES.
You CANNOT USE SUDO COMMANDS ON HPRC. To install software, you need to contact HPRC help.
Login sessions that are idle for 60 minutes will be closed automatically.
Processes run longer than 60 minutes on login nodes will be killed automatically.

Annual HPRC Account Renewal

Each year, HPRC closes each fiscal year at September 1st. For all users, regardless of whether you are TAMU person or a Remote Collaborator, this means that you can no longer submit jobs using your allocations after August 31, 2020. Therefore, each year about 2 weeks before September 1st (or sooner) you should submit your applications for next fiscal year.
The procedure to renew your account is the same for all users. To do so, you’ll use the same application form as described at Step 2. The application process is relatively like Step 2 even though it looks like you are creating a new account

    1. If you are a Remote Collaborator, first make sure your NetID is renewed! You can use NetID Annual Renewal for Remote Collaborators instructions to do that!
    2. Go to application form and login using your NetID
    3. Your user information should’ve already been filled in. Make sure they are correct and click on “Next” button
    4. In the “Renew using information from a previous High Performance Research Computing application” section, click on “Renew for FYXXXX” (replace XXXX with the NEXT year!)
    5. All the information should be already filled in. Double check all of them. Mitchcomp users should make sure that their allocation and PI have been listed right:
      • The MitchComp users should do a renewal for the same “basic” allocation they got this year (5000 SU).
      • The MitchComp users and Mitchcomp group should make sure they are listed as toback’s PI group for SU allocations

Mithcomp users should send an e-mail to Mitchcomp Help (mitchcomp_help@physics.tamu.edu) when they have renewed their HPRC account to help us to keep track of our group users to support them better.

You will automatically get 5000 SU. If you expect to use more than your 5000 SU of personal allocation, please send an e-mail to Mitchcomp Help (mitchcomp_help@physics.tamu.edu) with your guess of what you need for the year (and why) so we can transfer what you expect from the MitchComp group allocation into your account.