The First 19 Boxes PIII/Linux Cluster Homepage

Over 1,750,000 CPU Hours served

Usage Summaries

08/00 09/00 10/00 11/00 12/00
01/01 02/01 03/01 04/01 05/01 06/01
07/01 08/01 09/01 10/01 11/01 12/01
01/02 02/02 03/02 04/02 05/02 06/02
07/02 08/02 09/02 10/02

Important: The information contained below is subject to change without warning. Please e-mail Matthew Choptuik immediately if you encounter problems using the cluster. Please check here FREQUENTLY while using the system.


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Status & News [News Archive]

System Overview


System Access

All users MUST login to the cluster machines using ssh (the secure shell). Note that the cluster is now running Open SSH Version 3.9p1, Protocols 1.5 and 2.0.

System Use

Please also see the Warnings below.

At least while the cluster is under construction (and possibly after that), the cluster will be operated essentially as a cluster of workstations. To this end, you will be able to ssh directly to any of the compute nodes, as well as the front end nodes, and do pretty much everything on a compute node that you would on a front end node.

There is currently NO BATCH SYSTEM on the cluster. Users should feel free to interactively start a reasonable number of production jobs on whatever machines(s) are available. Use ruptime on one of the nodes to see load averages on all machines in the cluster.

In order to maximize the usefulness of the cluster, users should abide by the following guidelines:

  2. Please ensure that you have a valid .forward file in your home directory on the cluster so that mail sent to you will actually get to you.
  3. Minimize the amount of network traffic to and from the cluster. The cluster's current link to the outside world is 100 MegaBIT/s maximum---about 10 Mbyte/s. Extremely large files should definitely be moved to and fro during off-peak hours Pacific Time.
  4. Treat the cluster as a remote computing environment:
  5. DO NOT use the front-end nodes for long jobs (more than a few CPU minutes), except by arrangment with the management.
  6. If demand for the compute nodes is high, minimize the amount of development work you do on those nodes.
  7. DO NOT start long jobs (more than a few minutes) if there are already two jobs running on the node. Use top to determine the number of CPU intensive jobs that are currenly running.
  8. DO start one additional job on a node that is currently running a job, unless there are completely free nodes. (Again use ruptime and top.)
  9. DO NOT start a job that will result in total memory usage on a node exceeding 90%. (Once again, use top to see what percentage memory a currently running process is using)
  10. WATCH YOUR DISK USAGE, particularly on the front end nodes. This is not a system for computing neophytes, and users unable or unwilling to keep /home directories under control will be [severe punishment to be determined later].
  11. SCRATCH SPACE: Each user has a scratch directory /scratch/$USER that should be used for local storage on the compute nodes. PLEASE DO NOT WRITE LARGE DATA FILES TO /tmp ITSELF and PLEASE WATCH YOUR SCRATCH USAGE, ESPECIALLY IF /scratch's PARTITION IS 80% FULL OR MORE. Scratch should be used especially in those cases when a user has many I/O intensive jobs running simultaneously since, in such instances, writing to the NFS mounted partitions can easily swamp the front-ends.


Send mail to Matthew Choptuik, if there is software you wish to have installed. Please include a description of the software, and, if possible, a distribution site from which it can be downloaded.

Unless otherwise specified, all software is available on all machines (both front-end and compute nodes)

Tips & Tricks


Maintained by Supported by CIAR, CFI and NSERC.