Apply for Your First NERSC Allocation
Initial Steps Needed to Apply for Your First NERSC Allocation
All work done at NERSC must be within the DOE Office of Science mission. See the Mission descriptins for each office at Allocations Overview and Eligibility.
Prospective Principal Investigators without a NERSC login need to fill out two forms:
- The online ERCAP Access Request Form. If you wish to designate another person to fill out the request form you may designate a "PI Proxy" on this form.
- Complete and submit the online Computer User Agreement form.
Once we receive your agreement form and activate your account, you will receive an email with a link that will allow you to set your initial password. That link will expire if not used within 72 hours. If the link has expired, you will need to call NERSC Account Support at 1-800-666-3772 menu 2, or 510-486-8612, to obtain a temporary password. You can call at any time, 24 x 7, and somebody will be here to assist you.
Many new NERSC projects begin with a Startup allocation, particularly if they are new to HPC or are not yet ready to run production codes on thousands of CPU cores. Startup awards are limited to 15,000 MPP hours (Cray XT4 equivalent hours) and are good for up to 18 months.
A request for a Startup project can be made at any time during the year; decisions for Startup requests are made by NERSC within one to three weeks after applying. Startup requests require only brief answers to the Code Description and Data questions on the ERCAP request form.
Startup awards are valid for up to 18 months (although they need to be renewed for a new allocation year), after which time the PI must obtain a "DOE production" award. This is accomplished by approval of the appropriate DOE allocation manager during the allocation year or by renewing the startup project as a production project for the next allocation year. Production projects are expected to have codes that can effectively use hundreds to thousands of processors.
Submitting the Allocation Request Form
Requests to use NERSC resources are submitted via a web form. The process is known as ERCAP (Energy Research Computing Allocations Process). The ERCAP form is accessed through the NERSC Information Management (NIM) web interface.
- Once you have received your NERSC login name and password, point your browser to nim.nersc.gov, and login to NIM.
- Under the action tab on the top bar, select the ERCAP requests link.
- In the page that appears, you should see a list of any previous ERCAP requests you have been a part of and a link to Start a new request at the bottom center. Note: existing NERSC users who are not yet registered as a PI will see instead a button labeled "Click here to start a new ERCAP request as a PI".
You will asked to choose between two options: "A new request for the remainder of the current year" or "A new request for next year". In general, for a startup award, it is probably ideal to have the award start immediately once approved. However, you may choose to have your award start at the beginning on the following year.
The ERCAP application form will load in a new page. The questions on the application form are divided into several pages. You start in the first page, Project Overview. If you are applying for a Startup Account, select the Project Class of Startup from the pull-down menu on question 6.
After pressing the "Save" button, you will be taken to a page with several tabs (on the yellow tab bar in the center) to choose from corresponding to sections of the application. You MUST click the "Save" button at the bottom of each section in order to save your work on that page before selecting another tab.
- If you are applying for a Startup Account:
- Select the Allocation Type of Startup from the pull-down menu on the Resources Requested page.
- Answer the questions to the best of your ability; detailed code descriptions and performance information are not required for startup requests.
- Startup requests may be made at any time. Decisions for Startup requests are made within one to three weeks after applying.
- To continue working on a proposal you have previously saved click on its edit icon.
When you have finished writing your request, be sure to select "Finished" for the Current Request Status question on the Other Info / Finish page.