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Center for Integrated Research Computing

Policies

Introduction

In support of the University of Rochester’s mission of scholarship, the Center for Integrated Research Computing (CIRC) provides access to information technology and its associated personnel for the purpose of serving research activities which involve high performance computing and big data technologies and methods. CIRC is governed by the general Information Technology policies outlined by the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and the research policies outlined by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of Research and Project Administration (ORPA) at the University of Rochester. Please read the University of Rochester Information Technology Acceptable Use policies and the ORPA policies page prior to conducting research using CIRC systems.

Definitions

A user of CIRC's resources is a student, staff, or faculty member who holds a valid University of Rochester NetID for the purposes of accessing information technology resources at the University of Rochester and who has a computer account on one or more of CIRC's computing systems.

A faculty sponsor of a user is a member of the faculty at the University of Rochester who oversees the research work of a student, research staff, or faculty user of CIRC computing systems. A faculty sponsor typically serves the role of a research advisor for a student or supervisor of a staff user. Faculty sponsors may be their own users if interacting directly with CIRC's systems.

Faculty sponsors are investigators in a sponsored research project, which must fit at least one of the following defining criteria as defined by ORPA:

  • the proposed work binds the University or the investigator to a specific line of inquiry;
  • funding is contingent upon the University’s acceptance of a specific commitment, such as the stated level of personnel effort, stated deliverables (i.e., a report, patient case report, device or prototype), or the achievement of specific performance targets or milestones;
  • there is a line-item budget detailing or limiting expenses by activity function, or project period or by limiting the University’s freedom to transfer funds among expenditure categories;
  • a detailed financial status report or external audit is required;
  • any unexpended funds must be returned to the sponsor at the end of the budget period;
  • the proposed activity involves the use of human subjects, laboratory animals, radioactive materials or isotopes, biological hazards or recombinant DNA;
  • the proposed agreement with the sponsor provides for the disposition of intangible property (e.g., rights in data, copyrights, patents, licenses, inventions, etc.), which may result from the sponsored activity or for the disposition of tangible property acquired during the project (e.g., equipment, supplies, drugs, materials, etc.)

Purpose

The primary purpose of CIRC is to support faculty-led sponsored research projects through the access of resources for computation and analytics, the assistance and training for using such resources, the consultation necessary for applying computation and big data analytics to research problems, the fostering of interdisciplinary collaborations, and the facilitation of the dissemination of research results. CIRC may occasionally permit access to scientific computing tools for faculty, student, and staff use for instruction and training to users who have been assigned a faculty sponsor at the University of Rochester.

User Responsibilities

Accounts are assigned to individual users and it is forbidden to share NetID access to accounts on CIRC systems with another user. Accounts created by CIRC staff are for use only by the individual with the NetID for whom the account was created.

Users are expected periodically to present research results and findings resulting from the use of CIRC systems at one of the monthly CIRC Symposia, participate in annual poster sessions, and to acknowledge CIRC resources in publications and presentations.

All users are expected to acknowledge the responsibilities of using a shared system, where every user has access to the same quality of service. Deliberate attempts to degrade the performance of the systems, or circumvent the limitations, security, and/or privacy measures in place on CIRC systems is prohibited. Users must use the queuing system for running computationally-intensive programs and are restricted from running compute-intensive or memory-intensive applications on the head (log in) node of CIRC systems.

Users must not attempt to use CIRC systems to access system or user information for unauthorized means, such as imitating another system, impersonating another user or person, attacking the system, or deliberately causing some system component to function incorrectly. Users must not introduce or use malicious software, deliberately interfere with other users accessing system resources, or take unauthorized actions to intentionally modify or delete information or programs. Users may only use the systems for activities related to the research project that is submitted with an account request.

Storage of files on CIRC systems should be limited to source code, software libraries and applications, and data for processing, analysis, and visualization. Data which contains any classified, legally or confidentially restricted information, or any protected health information (PHI) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or other information which is classified as identifiable cannot be stored on CIRC's BlueHive, Blue Gene, and NX systems. Ensuring compliance for proper data management is the responsibility of the individual investigators. CIRC personnel are available for data management consultation if needed.

CIRC provides temporary storage space for user settings, software code, configuration data, etc. as well as temporary scratch space for data and results. Please note that the CIRC does not currently have the resources to provide long-term data storage at this time. Please do not store critical research data or results on CIRC systems that has not been backed up elsewhere. Users are encouraged to discuss a data management plan with CIRC staff. CIRC does not provided backups for research data at this time.

All software used on CIRC systems must be appropriately acquired and used according to the licensing. Possession, use, or transmission of illegally obtained software is prohibited. Users shall not copy, store or transfer copyrighted software or data, except as permitted by the owner of the copyright.

Any unauthorized or malicious use of CIRC computing systems may result in suspension or termination of a user’s access to the systems. Users are accountable for all their actions.

Faculty Sponsor Responsibilities

While the operational and maintenance costs of CIRC are graciously provided by the Deans, we encourage faculty investigators to include any possible hardware, software, or personnel contributions to any future grant applications when appropriate. Faculty should contact the Director of CIRC to plan for future computational needs.

Many scientific and technical software packages are licensed for a specific number and/or type of users. Faculty should discuss their software needs with CIRC staff, who help evaluate the number of licenses that will be needed, and whether additional licenses will be required. In general, it is the responsibility of the faculty sponsor or department requesting access to obtain funding for additional software licenses.

Faculty sponsors are responsible for ensuring that sponsored student and staff users are in compliance with all CIRC policies and all other information technology and research policies at the University of Rochester as related to CIRC systems usage.

CIRC Responsibilities

CIRC is responsible for providing access to hardware, software, and consultation support for users and faculty sponsors.

Users may obtain technical assistance and support by directly contacting the CIRC staff at circ@rochester.edu. CIRC staff will promptly respond to support requests before the end of the next business day during normal business hours, generally 9am – 5pm Monday through Friday.

In order to achieve a goal of fair usage of shared computational resources, CIRC may limit the amount of computational resources available to each user. The scheduling system may temporarily impose or lift restrictions as resources come in and out of service or if overall usage is relatively heavy or light for a given time period.

CIRC staff retain the right to monitor all activities on CIRC systems and networks without prior knowledge or consent of users to ensure an acceptable level of quality of service.

CIRC communicates notices to users via mailing lists and direct emails. Any expected downtimes or service outage notices are distributed prior to the service interruption via the mailing lists.

Any questions regarding CIRC policies should be addressed to the Director of CIRC.