NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery for 50 Years

2000 User Survey Results

Response Summary

NERSC extends its thanks to all the users who participated in this year's survey. Your responses provide feedback about every aspect of NERSC's operation, help us judge the quality of our services, give DOE information on how well NERSC is doing, and point us to areas we can improve. Every year we institute changes based on the survey; the FY 1999 survey resulted in the following changes:

  • We created a long-running queue (12 hours maximum) for jobs using up to 256 PEs on the Cray T3E. Last year 7 users asked for longer T3E queues; this year only one.
  • We opened a Cray SV1, Seymour, for interactive use. As highlighted below, this change was well appreciated.
  • We created new email lists to keep users better informed of NERSC announcements and changes. This change wasn't reflected in this year's survey results.
  • We enhanced the HPCF website; overall satisfaction with the website was higher this year.
    • Made it easier to find information on the web concerning running batch and interactive jobs.
    • added an NERSC Glossary and Acronym List.
    • placed automated machine up/down information on the bottom of HPCF Home Page.

In FY 2000, 134 users responded to our survey. The respondents represent all 5 DOE Science Offices and a variety of home institutions: see User Information.

On a 7-point scale, with 7 corresponding to Very Satisfied to Very Dissatisfied, the average scores ranged from a high of 6.7 for our training classes and the PVP Fortran compilers to a low of 4.3 for PVP and T3E batch job wait time. Other areas with very high user satisfaction are consulting advice and SP availability (uptime). The areas of most importance to users are the available computing hardware (the number of cycles), the overall running of the center and its connectivity to the network. See the Overall Satisfaction and Importance summary table.

This year, the largest increases in user satisfaction came from the PVP cluster. Following the conversion of Seymour last year to an interactive machine, user satisfaction for the ability to run interactively on the PVP increased by almost one point. Five other PVP ratings increased by 0.6 to 0.8 points. See the hardware and software sections. Other areas showing a significant increase in satisfaction are HPSS performance and response time, hardware management and configuration, the HPCF website, and the T3E Fortran compilers. Only two scores were significantly lower this year than last: T3E batch wait time and consulting services (the latter still received high scores overall).

When asked what NERSC does well, 34 respondents focused on NERSC's excellent support staff and 29 pointed to our stable and well-managed production environment. Other areas singled out include well-done documentation, good software and tools, a very useful storage environment, and well-managed migrations and upgrades that "make supercomputing easy". When asked what NERSC should do differently the most common responses were to provide more resources, especially more cycles and inodes. Of the 47 users who compared NERSC to other centers, 53% said NERSC is the best or better than other centers. Several sample responses below give the flavor of these comments; for more details see User Comments.

  • "Very responsive consulting staff that makes the user feel that his problem, and its solution, is important to NERSC"
  • "Provide excellent computing resources with high reliability and ease of use."
  • "The announcement managing and web-support is very professional."
  • "Manages large simulations and data. The oodles of scratch space on mcurie and gseaborg help me process large amounts of data in one go."
  • "NERSC has been the most stable supercomputer center in the country particularly with the migration from the T3E to the IBM SP".
  • "Makes supercomputing easy."

Below are the survey results. You can also see the survey text.

  1. User Information
  2. Overall Satisfaction and Importance
  3. All Satisfaction Questions Ranked and FY 1999 to FY 2000 Changes
  4. Consulting and Account Support
  5. Web and Communications
  6. Hardware Resources
  7. Software Resources
  8. Training
  9. Comments about NERSC