NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

2004 User Survey Results

Services and Communications


  • Legend
  • Satisfaction with NERSC Services
  • How Important are NERSC Services to You?
  • How useful are these methods for keeping you informed?
  • Are you well informed of changes?
  • Comments about Services and Communications



SatisfactionAverage Score
Very Satisfied 6.50 - 7.00
Mostly Satisfied 5.50 - 6.49
Somewhat Satisfied 4.50 - 5.49
ImportanceAverage Score
Very Important 2.50 - 3.00
Somewhat Important 1.50 - 2.49
Not Important 1.00 - 1.49
Significance of Change
significant increase
not significant
UsefulnessAverage Score
Very Useful 2.50 - 3.00
Somewhat Useful 1.50 - 2.49


Satisfaction with NERSC Services

7=Very satisfied, 6=Mostly satisfied, 5=Somewhat satisfied, 4=Neutral, 3=Somewhat dissatisfied, 2=Mostly dissatisfied, 1=Very dissatisfied


ItemNum who rated this item as:Total ResponsesAverage ScoreStd. Dev.Change from 2003
Account support services   1 2 1 2 38 136 180 6.68 0.72 0.29
Computer and Network Operations     1 5 7 31 85 129 6.50 0.83  
E-mail lists     2 12 6 25 47 92 6.12 1.14  
Response to special requests (e.g. disk quota increases, etc.) 2 1 3 8 6 21 52 93 6.08 1.41 -0.27
Allocations process 1 4 5 7 17 57 57 148 5.93 1.27 0.24
Visualization services     2 22 4 12 19 59 5.41 1.37 0.60
NERSC CVS server       21 2 8 14 45 5.33 1.35  
Grid services       18 3 5 9 35 5.14 1.31  


How Important are NERSC Services to You?

3=Very important, 2=Somewhat important, 1=Not important


ItemNum who rated this item as:Total ResponsesAverage ScoreStd. Dev.
Allocations process 3 32 99 134 2.72 0.50
Account support services 2 49 108 159 2.67 0.50
Response to special requests (e.g. disk quota increases, etc.) 6 21 65 92 2.64 0.60
Computer and Network Operations 4 43 77 124 2.59 0.56
E-mail lists 30 49 20 99 1.90 0.71
Visualization services 33 24 15 72 1.75 0.78
NERSC CVS server 31 14 14 59 1.71 0.83
Grid services 38 6 8 52 1.42 0.75


How useful are these methods for keeping you informed?

3=Very useful, 2=Somewhat useful, 1=Not useful


ItemNum who rated this item as:Total ResponsesAverage ScoreStd. Dev.
E-mail announcements 1 46 121 168 2.71 0.47
MOTD (Message of the Day) 9 72 71 152 2.41 0.60
Announcements web archive 11 70 70 151 2.39 0.62
Phone calls from NERSC 24 35 43 102 2.19 0.79


Are you well informed of changes?

Do you feel you are adequately informed about NERSC changes?


Yes 185 97.4%
No 5 2.6%

Are you aware of major changes at least one month in advance?


Yes 162 89.5%
No 19 10.5%

Are you aware of software changes at least seven days in advance?


Yes 171 95.0%
No 9 5.0%

Are you aware of planned outages 24 hours in advance?


Yes 167 91.8%
No 15 8.2%


Comments about Services and Communications:   16 responses

8   Comments about e-mail / information services
5   Comments about staff
4   Comments about ERCAP / allocations
Comments about e-mail / information services:   8 responses

I feel that emails are the best way to inform people. This also allows users who want to screen or parse information do so via their email system.

All of the ways listed above are very useful but I find the email list to be the most effective.

Email has usually been adequate for most communications. I've been caught off guard by scheduled downtimes once or twice, but that's mostly my fault.

I get plenty of emails. I may read occasional emails, but frequent emails simply get deleted.

Did not even know there is a announcement archive.

I am very happy with information services provided by NERSC.

The information from NERSC on computing issues is generally excellent.

The message of the day is often too long, and I don't try to scroll it back. The security warning is too repetitive for regular users, and scrolls away more important information. There are some nersc machines that send out virus e-mails, which bounce occasionally into my regular e-mail. Perhaps nersc addresses have been taken over by spammers, as well. This only happens occasionally, but its bothersome that it happens at all.

Comments about staff:   5 responses

Staff seems very responsive to users.

... On the other hand, the consultants have been very helpful in responding to special requests. They have made useful suggestions and helped me be more efficient.

I want take this opportunity to thank NERSC staff for their great performance.

Francesca has always been very helpful and responsive to my repo and account inquiries.

I would like to commend Francesca Verdier for her anticipation of user needs and her tracking with and dealing with the subaccounts of users in the repo I supervise.

Comments about ERCAP / allocations:   4 responses

The ERCAP allocation process is not very good. At other supercomputer centers, an allocation request is written like a scientific proposal. It includes certain required topics, but the proposers are free to write a proposal that makes sense in the context of their code and their problem. NERSC's proposal form is too much of a one-size-fits-all solution. For example, the form asks for my code's poe+ stats. My code can do hydrodynamics, MHD, gravity, and radiation, and each of these modules gives different numbers. Different problems use different modules, and even runs using identical modules can give different numbers on different problems. My poe+ numbers can even change by an order of magnitude over the course of a single simulation, as the physical conditions within the simulation evolve. With the ERCAP proposal form, there's no place to put in a nuanced discussion of this issue. Instead, I get to submit a single number, which, for my code, is almost meaningless. That's just one example of the problems of trying to reduce a scientific proposal to filling out a form. ...

The allocation process consumes too much time. The forms change every year. Too much technical info is required. We never get what we ask for so it becomes a bidding game. For example Fusion allocations should be made by OFES managers following review of contracts/grants. Furthermore allocation without priority access has come to mean that one cannot use the allocation because of long wait times. NERSC should stop over-allocating Seaborg, should give out fractional allocations on quarterly basis (penalty for non use following quarter and possibility of getting more time dependent on current loading.)

Need quick allocation process otherwise no login is allowed and data cannot be recovered.

The allocations process gets more time-consuming each year. Hopefully, this trend can be reversed.