Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center 

Advancing the state-of-the-art in high-performance computing,
communications and data analytics.


Allocation requests now being accepted.     More information  

Frequently Asked Questions about PSC Allocations


How do I apply for an allocation at PSC?
Instructions, eligibility guidelines and applications are available on the Allocations page.
What kinds of allocations are available?
Start-up allocations are available for system exploration, feasibility studies, benchmarking and code optimization. This is often a preliminary step to requesting a full Research Allocation.

Research allocations are available to support the computational requirements of research projects.

Coursework allocations are available  at all academic levels to supplement traditional teaching methods.  Coursework allocations can be granted for all subject areas and in educational activities ranging from workshops to semester courses.

More information is available on the Allocations page.

How long does an allocation last?
All allocations except Coursework allocations are for a one-year period and are renewable annually.  Coursework allocations last for the period of the training, as specified by the instructor in the application materials.
If I get a small Start-up allocation must I wait a year to get a Research allocation?
No, you may apply for a Research allocation at any time. Start-up allocations are typically used to do test runs, obtain code performance measurements, and collect other information needed in a request for a Research allocation.
Can I have more than one allocation at a time?
Yes, there is no limit to the number of allocations for which you can apply. However, each must be for a scientifically distinct project.
Does it cost anything to apply?
No. Eligible projects receive free allocations of computational resources. To be eligible, projects must be non-proprietary and sponsored by a U.S. institution. Projects not eligible for free allocations may purchase system time by contacting the PSC Corporate Affiliates Program.
What is the deadline for resource requests?
Resource requests for Start-up allocations and Coursework allocations are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Resource requests for larger amounts of time through the NSF XSEDE program are considered at regular intervals. Please see https://www.xsede.org/allocations for specific dates.
Can an allocation be renewed?
Yes.  However, small Start-up allocations are for normally one year only. Research allocations are renewable annually.   Information on how to renew an allocation is on the XSEDE User Portal.  Allow enough time for a renewal request to be considered before the allocation expires.
Is there a minimum or maximum I can ask for?
There is no minimum or maximum. Your resource request should ask for and include a detailed justification for the resources needed to support the research project for a one year period.
How are resource requests judged and what percent are approved?
Resource requests are reviewed on the basis of scientific and computational merit, potential for significant progress, and appropriateness of the requested resources for the proposed research. For a number of reasons, it is not possible to say any certain percent are approved. Some resource requests, for instance, strongly justify the resources requested and are awarded in full. Some resource requests are awarded only a part of their request. A very small percentage are denied any resources. In general, the more carefully you justify your request and the more fully you prove the efficiency of your code, the better your chance of being awarded an allocation. Detailed instructions for constructing a resource request are provided on the XSEDE web site.
How long does it take to get reviewed and how will I be notified if approved?
Coursework and Start-up allocations are generally reviewed in 2 weeks from receipt and notice is provided by email within 2 weeks from review. If you have not heard anything within 2 weeks after submitting your resource request, you may wish to contact the PSC Allocations office to check on the status.

Research allocation requests are reviewed as specified on XSEDE web site. Notice is provided by email within 2 weeks from review. If you have not heard anything within a month of the resource request deadline, you may wish to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to check on the status.

How can I change my PSC password?
You can change your Kerberos password by using the web-based PSC password change utility.
Where can I find help or documentation?
The PSC home page can be found at: http://www.psc.edu.

Information and the online application for NSF Cyberinfrastructure allocations is available at the  XSEDE User Portal.

Information about the Biomedical Applications group at the PSC, which supports computational biomedical research, can be found on the Biomedical Applications group page.

Email support for various topics is also available.

Technical questions      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Allocation issues      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Refund requests      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.