NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

Allocation Year Transition: 2020 to 2021

The NERSC 2020 Allocation Year (AY20) ends at 7 a.m. Pacific Time on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. AY21 runs through Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Below is information related to the Allocation Year Transition plans. All times listed are Pacific Time, and all dates are in 2021 unless otherwise specified.

Changes Prior to the Transition

The following changes will be implemented in preparation for the AY transition. 

Account Creation/Validation Moratorium January 13-19

No user accounts will be created between Wednesday, January 13 at noon and Wednesday, January 20 at 8 a.m.

No More New Project (ERCAP) Requests for AY20 after October 5, 2020

ERCAP requests for AY2020 projects are no longer being accepted.

Allocation Year Transition Process

IRIS Banking and Account Management System Downtime

The IRIS accounting web interface will be unavailable from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 20.

Web browser sessions that are active in the IRIS web interface before the downtime must be refreshed by logging out and then logging back in, in order to display accurate information for the new allocation year.

Scheduled System Downtimes

Cori will be unavailable during maintenance from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 20. After the maintenance, the following queued jobs on Cori will be deleted:

  • jobs associated with non-continuing projects
  • jobs associated with a continuing project that the user is no longer a member of for AY21
  • "premium" jobs from users who no longer have access to the "premium" QOS
  • "overrun" jobs
  • held jobs older than 12 weeks

Jupyter will be degraded during the Cori maintenance, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on January 20.

AY 2020 Charging Begins on January 21

Charging for AY21 will begin on Thursday, January 21 at midnight (the first moments of the day). Any jobs run after the maintenance concludes but before January 21 will not be charged for the time they used on January 20.

Updates for AY21

"premium" QOS Access Limitations

The "premium" qos will not be available by default for all users. PIs and/or PI Proxies will be required to manually authorize each user in their projects to use the "premium" qos.  Please note that at the AY21 start on January 20, any "premium" jobs in the queue that were submitted in AY20 by continuing users who no longer have "premium" access will be deleted.

"premium" QOS Charge Changes for High "premium" Utilization

The charge factor for "premium" will double (from 2x of "regular" QOS to 4x) once a project has used 20% of its allocation on "premium". The 20% threshold is based on the project allocation's high-watermark.

Same Default CDT and Intel Compiler Versions

Default versions for Cray Programming Environment (CDT) and Intel compiler will remain the same as AY20 for the first part of the new AY. We anticipate potential default version changes later in the year when an OS upgrade is performed on Cori.

Changes to Python Module Pip Behavior & Python PATH

At the allocation transition on January 20, the behavior of Python pip in the default Python module (python/3.8-anaconda-2020.11) and Python3 module (which is an alias to the default Python module) will be changed by prepending  PYTHONUSERBASE/bin to PATH.  As a result, binaries installed by some pip-installed packages will now be added to PATH.  Users depending on the current structure of PATH need to adjust their code accordingly.  No changes will be made to the legacy, non-default Python modules.

This change is made to better align with standard provisioning practices.  Note that Python users who use conda init will not be affected by this change as they are not using a Python module. Please see here for details.

No Charging for Perlmutter in AY21

Users will not be charged for any utilization on Perlmutter in AY21. Perlmutter charging will begin in AY22.

Allocations in AY21

AY21 Allocation Awards

The AY21 allocation award letters were emailed to project PIs during the week of December 7, 2020. On January 20, 2021, new allocations of CPU time and mass storage will be in effect. Unused allocations from AY20 do not carry over into the new allocation year, except for ALCC projects. (ALCC projects should see the remainder of their 2020/21 ALCC awards reflected in their NERSC 2021 allocation. It may take one or two days for the continuing balance to be updated on our systems. 2020/21 ALCC time expires on June 30, 2021.)

PIs and/or PI Proxies for renewing projects must manually authorize each user in their project that should continue to be a member in AY21 and to enable selected users for using "premium" QOS. Authorizations must be completed by Friday, January 15, 2021. Instructions for performing the Continuing User and "premium" QOS authorization are available in the Iris documentation.

New Projects

When a new project is created, its initial membership consists only of the PI designated in the ERCAP proposal. The PI (and any users designated as Proxies) may add other users to the project after the new AY starts and the project has been activated. Instructions for adding users to projects can be found in IRIS Guide for PIs. In addition, new users may now request to have themselves added to projects; these user-initiated additions must then be approved by the PI or by a Proxy. See How to Get a NERSC Account. Users will not be able to request accounts in new projects until after the new AY starts.

New Users

Requests for new users for both the renewing and new projects may incur a delay while their identities are being vetted per DOE requirements.

Discontinued Users

After the new allocation year starts, a user will be considered "discontinued" if that user is not an authorized user in at least one active AY21 project. (Note: Users in 2020 projects are not automatically authorized for 2021; a PI or PI Proxy must authorize each user for 2021 via the Continuing User process. Instructions for this process will be emailed to PIs/Proxies when the process is available.)

All discontinued users will have limited login access to their authorized systems until February 22, 2021. Such users will be unable to submit batch jobs, but will be able to perform limited interactive tasks. The intent of this access is to allow discontinued users the ability to "clean up", e.g., transfer files back to their home institution or archive them in HPSS.

All discontinued users will continue to have write access to HPSS until February 22, and then read-only and delete access for another five months (until July 22, 2021).