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HPC clusters

There are multiple HPC clusters with thousands of cores and hundreds of CPUs. They can be used for serial, parallel, GPU and large memory workloads. HPC clusters are configured with a variety of pre-installed software you can use for your research projects. Cluster computing is easy to use and simple to access:

  • Login to a shared HPC cluster.
  • Choose the software you want to run.
  • Upload your data onto the cluster. (n.b. or your calculations will not compute)
  • Submit your jobs into a queue and your computations will run when it's your turn.

Cluster storage

Cluster storage is available for researchers using an Alliance HPC cluster. This type of storage makes your data accessible from the compute resources you're using for your research.

  • Can store up to 10TB per research group in long term storage; additional storage options available for temporary data and archived data.
  • Data is automatically backed up nightly.
  • Service located in secure data centres in Canada.
  • Used for research data accessible to HPC cluster resources.
  • Supports multiple ways to transfer data.
  • File sharing options are available.


HPC cluster resources are available to all Canadian researchers with an Alliance account. We put together a helpful resource page that covers Alliance account creation and support information.


HPC cluster resources are free for all Canadian researchers. Every Alliance member gets access to the same default computing allocation. This means users have a standard priority when waiting for their submitted computation requests to be processed. For high resource requests, or when resources are requested frequently, users will have to wait longer for their jobs to be processed.

Examples of high resource requests are:

  • Using many computing cores simultaneously (e.g. 48+)
  • Long computing times (24h+)
  • GPUs (demand is high!)
  • More than 10TB of storage required.

If your computations require a significant amount of resources, and/or you will be requesting resources very frequently, you can submit an application to the resource allocation competition (RAC). We've put together some resources to help you with your RAC application.


You can login to the HPC clusters by command line using SSH or through a web browser using JupyterHub. Both options use your Alliance account information.

For example, if you needed to access software on the Cedar cluster the login credential would be

There are multiple ways to store your data in cluster storage. The Alliance uses Globus, which is a file transfer service used to move research data between cluster storage and other devices. Globus includes a web portal and desktop client.

Both options require some technical configuration. The Alliance support wiki has walkthrough instructions for using the web portal and setting up the desktop client.


Technical support for HPC clusters and cluster storage is provided through the Alliance. Your support ticket might be resolved by research computing staff from other Canadian universities.

 Cluster storage related tickets can also be sent to the Alliance's Globus support team.

For more tech support topics, see the Alliance tech support wiki page.