NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

2000 User Survey Results

Software Resources


SatisfactionAverage ScoreSignificance of Change
Very Satisfied 6.5 - 7   significant increase
Mostly Satisfied 5.5 - 6.4 not significant
Somewhat Satisfied 4.5 - 5.4  

Software Satisfaction

Topic   PVP   T3E   SP
N1Avg. (1-7)Std. Dev.Change from '99N1Avg. (1-7)Std. Dev.Change from '99N1Avg. (1-7)Std. Dev.
User environment 32 6.25 1.11 0.17 57 6.18 1.04 0.03 46 6.07 1.22
Fortran compilers 32 6.66 0.60 0.62 60 6.40 0.72 0.20 46 5.96 1.43
C/C++ compilers 13 6.00 1.08 0.55 30 5.93 0.98 -0.04 25 5.72 1.24
Application software 18 5.83 1.29 0.29 23 5.78 1.09 -0.07 18 5.67 1.03
Programming libraries 16 5.81 1.33 -0.13 39 6.18 0.82 -0.24 30 6.00 0.87
Vendor documentation 16 5.69 0.95 0.66 29 5.59 1.24 0.10 26 5.50 1.30
Local (NERSC) web documentation 21 6.38 0.67 0.70 42 6.00 1.01 0.17 39 6.05 1.12
Performance and debugging tools 16 6.06 0.68 0.60 39 5.56 1.45 0.11 29 4.69 1.61
General tools and utilities 14 5.93 1.21 0.04 37 5.65 1.21 -0.26 25 5.72 0.94
Accounting tools 20 5.90 0.79 0.16 36 5.75 1.25 0.03 26 5.31 1.54
Software bug resolution 10 5.10 1.10 -0.52 30 5.70 1.15 -0.21 22 5.45 1.34

1 - Number of responses.

Summary of Comments

Comments about NERSC's software resources, suggested improvements, future needs: 13 responses

3 tools
3 libraries
2 compilers

Comments about ACTS Toolkit: 8 responses

2 please enhance
2 mentioned software not in ACTS

The following ACTS tools are currently installed at NERSC. Select all the ones that you currently use here.

34 none
13 Scalapack
6 Petsc
5 Superlu
3 Tau
1 Aztec

The following ACTS tools are not currently installed at NERSC. Select all that you would like to use at NERSC.

23 none
9 Global Arrays
7 Paws, Pvode
6 Pooma
5 Atlas
3 Globus, Pete, Siloon
2 Overture, Tulip
1 Hypre, Nexus, Opt


Individual Comments about NERSC's software resources, suggested improvements, future needs: 13 responses


Try to employ some leverage on IBM to get better debuggers for the IBM-SP. It would be nice to have a GUI for scp --- i am a novice user with it but it seems to involve an ungodly amount of typing! actually, it would be nice to have a GUI scp that could transfer multiple files, accept wildcards, etc.

We have not yet found any useful performance analysis tools for our complex C++/Fortran90 code.

Suggestion: add GNU tools such as gdb and ghostview.


The latest version fo the FORTRAN compiler is causing problems. Maintaining access to earlier versions would be very helpful if possible. This would guarantee that a user could still compile their code. [SP user]

NERSC response: We maintain versions of previous compilers on the Crays. Unfortunately, the IBM SP does not support multiple versions of the compilers so we are not able to provide this service on the SP. We have informed IBM of the need to provide this functionality.

I would like to be able to use HPF on gseaborg. Though I can achieve higher performance using F90 with MPI, HPF is extremely useful in terms of my overall productivity in code development. I can quickly write an HPF code to answer "what if" questions, then decide if I want to develop an optimized F90/MPI version.


I'm not an expert, but I hear that the latest version of HDF has advantages over NetCDF. I'd like to try it out, but only if there is a strong commitment to keep it current on NERSC machines. [...]

NCAR/NCL has been a poor substitute for DISSPLA/MAPPER over the last ~2 years

I am not sure whether NERSC could ask vendors to improve specific software if we encounter the needs, such as more flexible (to assign nodes and processors) IBM loadleveler, and parallel io with netcdf on IBM SP.


[...] It would be nice if a more standard interface to AFS were available on the supercomputers.

Please install AFS on the IBM SP!!!!


Need improved documentation

This section is too convoluted.

We mainly use and develop our own software.

Very adequate!


Individual Comments about ACTS Toolkit: 8 responses

Please enhance

Please add Globus to the toolkit - it is very helpful in managing job submission and data handling on remote computing resources, such as NERSC.

The version of PETSc on the SP and (I think) T3E are at 2.0.24. There are several later versions -- 2.0.28 which I use in production on the SP and 2.0.29 which my colleagues in petsc have recently installed. Can NERSC provide support for PETSc on these later versions?

Mentioned software not in ACTS

By PAWS I assume you mean PAW (Physics Analysis Workstation) from CERN.

NERSC response: No, PAWS stands for Parallel Application WorkSpace.

I would like to use TAO at NERSC. (I believe this is also part of the ACTS toolkit although it isn't listed above. It has a confusingly similar name to TAU.)

NERSC response: TAO is not part of the ACTS toolkit. TAU stands for Tuning and Analysis Utilities.


I'll wait till the blood dries on the cutting edge users...

Useless for us.

Don't use it.

The passed workshop is a good start for more people to use the toolkit. At least, I am starting.