NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

2010/2011 User Survey Results

Comments - What Does NERSC Do Best

Multiple Things Done Well / NERSC is Overall a Good Center

In most of aspects, I'm very satisfied.

Compared to other national computer centers, NERSC does an excellent job.

Provide reliable/stable access to state-of-the-art HPC resources. Balance the needs of a large number and range of users. Provide exceptional levels of service for as required.

It provides high performance computing hardware and software as well as user service.

just about everything is done well at NERSC

Since the introduction of Hopper, NERSC has been excelling at providing a stable machine, environment with very reasonable queue times. For the most part, NERSC provides all the computing resources and tools you need without getting in your way.

They keep the machines up & running, set up accounts quickly, proactively contact us when allocations are running low. Web pages are very useful, help line & support is friendly & reliable. As long as jobs move quickly through the queues, everyone is happy!

Excellent, stable computing environment and quick response to problems.

Well managed, well organized, user oriented, little beauracratic demands, and much more.

NERSC has consistently done a super job. I think they are a role model for other national labs. I can tell anybody they are the best among any labs. Congratulations!

The support and the machines are very good.


NERSC has state-of-the-art computing resources which are maintained at an equally high level in both softwares and services. Both the global home and scratch are very convenient. NERSC NIM provides a very nice interface to manage and monitor account usage. MOTD provides on-time updates. Overall, NERSC is the best.

For me NESRC sets the standards to which I compare the other HPC providers I interact with. keep doing what you're doing!

Keeping systems running with little interruption to work, customer service, providing the right set of tools made easy to install.

Provides great resources. Manages various systems well. Consulting is timely and effective. Adapt well and constantly provide new services.

Very good maintenance of the machines. Very good consulting/help desk. Very good security. Very good workshops.

Offers hassele free computing with access to good software

The regular addition of new machines, complete with comprehensive programming libraries allows us to continually update our codes to run on the latest hardware. Most of the software we need is installed by NERSC staff, whenever new machines are added. The redistribution of account allocations throughout the year ensures that our requests for CPU time are always met. Timely warnings about maintenance-related downtime allows us to plan our work accordingly.

For my project, NERSC was the only option for developing co-array fortran codes. It also provides quite a lot of information on supercomputing through the web site. Supercomputing facilities at NERSC are outstanding. Thank you.

Scientific computing! I have been using NERSC for several years now, and I LOVE NERSC. The availability of sympathetic consultants is reassuring, even if they are not needed.

Allocations and computing resources. Time allowed to keep files in scratch area before purging. Computer reliablity and uptime - very little downtime

System availability and resources are good. User support is generally helpful.

NERSC does everything that I can think of at the moment extremely well. I'd say that of the number of supercomputer systems we have access to that NERSC machines and support stand above all others in having their act together. In terms of consulting quality (technical accuracy, response time, etc.) NERSC absolutely "crushes" consulting from the TERAGRID computing system. It's not even comparable really. When I eventually start up my own research group, getting resources at NERSC will be a top priority as the environment is extremely conductive to scientific research.

Reliable computing resource and great user services.

It provides me with computational resources and software that are preoptimized. This helps me get productive results without too many headaches.

Manage and maintain its computing resources, both software and hardware.Solve users' problems and answer their questions.

very good hardware. very good support. very good information about the machine. very good efficiency

Great resources...Easy and simple to connect from outside - for instance using ssh...Excellent and very helpful support team...

Uptime is good on most of the machines. Consulting help is good with day to day issues. With hopper onboard this year, queue wait time is down to comfortable levels.

It is over all very satisfactory.


consulting, management of allocation opportunities, acquisition of systems

In addition to the computational facilities, NERSC has always been and continues to be fantastic with their support. Much better than other supercomputing centers.

Everything that is important to me

large number of computing nodes. good back-up facility. well documented. good connectivity from outside world

Very well. I was a bit unhappy at first, but once I read all the documentation on the web, I realized how great a resource it is and how everything is well thought out.

I am pretty satisfied with NERSC overall.

NERSC does well in most aspects.

NERSC is the best HPC center in all the DOE. Much better than ORNL and loads better than ANL. Keep it up! NERSC seems to be really connected with the scientist. Great staff, fair allocation process.

The new Hopper Cray XE6 is good at parallel efficiency. The scratch drive space is abundant and fast. The help desk staff are responding to our questions extremely fast and professional.

Great user support, software support is exhaustive on mature systems, and machine uptime is impressive.

Easy to use development environment with straightforward progression to full scaleproduction. Support for machines and software environment so that computationalscientists don't have to worry about it.

Maitanence; Communication with the users; Consulting

I find the webpage to be generally helpful from a content perspective. The systems are reliable and with the addition of Hopper, the wait times have decreased to the point where using NERSC is very useful for my work.

User services, help desk, general human interactions are the best I've found. NERSC's machines are the only machines I have access to where the problems to which I need answers can be performed. I really enjoy running at NERSC.

1. Allocation time 2. Data transfer 3. Website information 4. Scratch system

I think the support service and the resources availability are very good.

The biggest improvement in the past year has been the reduction in wait time on Hopper/Franklin jobs less than 2304ps (which is my max...mostly I do 768ps recently) particularly in past few month. The wait time really should not exceed the compute time....on average that has only been true recently. The wait time on 30min debug queue has been typically only a few minutes which is extremely important in code development and debug. (In years past...the wait time has got to 7-10x compute time making machines useless....I've been a strong critic....not sure why the turn around..machine loading in highly I hope the recent "good times" lasts) The up-time has been reasonably good except for the recent down time from security breech. Consulting services via phone (and email) are quite least on trivial queries.

Make it more economical to run larger jobs. Easy to get extra time. Easy to add new users.

Computers run well, queues are set up well and run jobs how I would expect in terms of timeliness. I have had no problems with data corruption or instability, as I've had on smaller cluster. The scratch and home directories are easy to navigate. HPSS is pretty simple to use as well.

Maintains large supercomputers with sensible queuing and allocations. I have always found support staff to be helpful.

The compute resources at NERSC are awesome. Constantly improving. The consultants are great and we can usually find a solution to any problem. Carver is a GREAT machine because it is very forgiving, is fast at most everything, and has the Intel compilers.

I think the machines are run with a high level of reliability. The lustre file system seems to perform well compared to, say, kraken. I am impressed by the consultants. Dirac has been a good platform on which to explore GPU computing.


I am quite happy with NERSC resources. I can't think of any problem.

I feel NERSC sets up and maintains it facilities very well. This doesn't simply include the hardware and hardware support. This extends to the programming environment, software, and user support. Their systems are useable, accessible, and powerful.

Provides good access to massive, reliable computational resource, through competent, outgoing staff. Sure appreciated the free time on hopper!

Great software support. Allocation according to need. Plentiful computational resources. Variety of queue structures to accommodate a wide range of different types of jobs.

NERSC provides a very high level of user support and a good mix of large and small(er) systems. The staff are the most consistently helpful of any HPC systems I have ever used. The increase in disk quota on $GSCRATCH was long overdue but has helped tremendously. The global file system (/project) is a big plus, though the space is typically small. I personally find the global homes annoying, since the systems are not all binary compatible so I need multiple versions of executables.

Good execution of thier responsibilities. Good uptime and accessibility of high performance computing resources. Extensive and well-maintained software libraries.

System availability is good. Downtimes are scheduled after consultation with users. Some tickets are answered quickly and efficiently.

Modern computers, up to date website, timely notifications, and excellent uptime

A great many cores in a sufficiently stable environment that we actually have enough allocation to use. Large fast jobs are encouraged which is where I think the focus of computational development should be in terms of human scientists learning more, never been a fan on sitting on my hands for a week or two for a result. HPSS is really quite nice in general.

I have found the staff to be very helpful. The computing system is up for a good fraction of time, and messages are informative about what is going on. The software you have installed works well, and it you do a good job keeping up with versions.

I'm very satisfied with overall NERSC performance.

For our group and my specific uses, NERSC provides "heavy lifting" computing resources that we could not possibly afford on our own. I know that our work -- primarily molecular dynamics (MD) simulations -- doesn't come close to needing the number of CPU cores that some of the truly large fluid, particle, and plasma physics codes use, but nonetheless jobs that would require a complete takeover of our group's cluster (e.g., those needing 500-1000 cores) can be performed simultaneously with ease on NERSC's machines. It is therefore a tremendous resource for us and has enabled a scale of MD simulations that would not otherwise be possible. In turn, these resources have enabled our group to become one of the leaders in force field development, the modeling of intrinsically disordered proteins, etc. Beyond simply furnishing computer time and resources, I have found that NERSC's consulting services are extremely helpful. Whenever I have run into a problem, the help desk has jumped in to investigate and almost always solved the issue within a day or two. For a large computing facility, this is a fabulous service. In addition, we recently had a couple of folks from NERSC come down to "interview" our group about our current and future computing needs to use in planning the next big cluster. This sort of user-centric planning is no doubt part of what makes NERSC great.

Support teams on Nersc are excellent!

Making their HPC resources user-friendly.

NERSC is overall an excellent facility! In particular, response times to all inquiries are very short, and the answers and quite helpful more often than not. Also, the maintenance schedule is quite compact, and machines rarely go down at other times.

System uptime; system stability; programming environment; help desk/customer service; plenty of disk space on all systems.

I believe the hardware and software available at NERSC is world-class and has state-of the art bsupercomutational resources which have been meeting the demands of thousands of computational scientists all over the world. NERSC facility is becoming a sine quo non for a world-wide community of researchers in diverse fields of various scientific and engineering disciplines. NERSC does it excellently and should be congratulated. I have been using from Canada the NERSC facilities for more than a decade.I am most grateful to Prof. Walter Loveland ,the PI and Dr. Ted Barnes, Monitor , Nuclear Physics Division for providing me acess to NERSC. Ms. Francesca Verdier has been most helpful and her kind advice and guidance are highly appreciated. Mr. David Turner has guided me and ironed out many problems which I encountered during my interaction with Carver. But for the kind help and judicious advice of the above mentioned user friendly scientists and administrators , I doubt very much if I could have accomplished anything in our research in Physics and Chemistry of Superheavy Elements. In conclusion, my sincerest thanks to all at NERSC.

I think NERSC does very good.

They make state-of-the-art supercomputing resources available to the DOE research community, with a strong (and important) emphasis on usability and scientific productivity.

Maintain HPC systems with the necessary environment and software that I can create workflows for my computing jobs that are reliable and easy to use.

NERSC Provides Good Computational Machines and Cycles

Big computing.

Massive parallel computations. Nersc is very good for running huge parallel jobs.

providing a robust , diverse computing platform for codes with different needs

good file, reliable huge file systems

provide compute nodes with good access to high-volume data storage

NERSC provides reliable and highly usable high-performance computing resources for my scientific computing needs.

Professional more or less seamless maintenance of the hardware and its integration with the applied software.

Simulations on Hopper runs extremely stable.

Vasp at Carver is fast, and very stable for running.

Everything I need them to. They are a clean shop that knows what they are doing. I know that the HPC part of my research will be seamless and I won't have to worry about unexpected problems because I use NERSC.

time of availablity

Lots of resources are available

PDSF: Interactive and batch performance is good, NXServer access is very fast, disk I/O is adequate, the programming/analysis environment and software is user-friendly.

And I like that big jobs get to top of the queue quickly.

In general uptime is pretty good, and queues wait times are reasonable.

I am extremely happy with the quality of service on the Dirac machine, which I know is not operated as a production resource. Nonetheless, it has been extremely stable and easy to use. Dirac led to a huge boost in research productivity on GPU systems.

Offer excellent compute resources in a well organized fashion to users.

I was very impressed by the way the staff brought Hopper on line. The startup was smooth (from the user perspective at least). Hopper is running very nicely.

Provide high performance computing to many users. In particular, the limit on job length (24 hours to 48 hours max) allows for users to access the cluster without having to wait for an excessive amount of time. Also, maintenence is done quickly, minimizing down time.

Good queuing system. Good that admins tell us when the system is down.

Compare with Jaguarpf the downtimes are relatively few

Up time for STAR jobs is very good, with lots of available CPU for jobs when necessary.

The DIRAC GPU cluster is a terrific resource for evaluating the suitability of the technology for our applications, without having to invest in hardware that might not be useful.

Provides services to a wide variety of codes and for a wide variety of platforms.

Deploy huge hardware, run that hardware well

The new Hopper system is a great resource that has really helped our research.

Supply computing cycles!

Getting my work completed on time has become finally possible, thanks to the fast Hopper nodes and their queue time.

The available computing resources and the programming environment are simply excellent.

Good choice of computing systems. Easy to access and run large jobs.

I am amazed that I have access to all these computing resources. Even though I can get frustrated when a system is unavailable, it's so nice to be able to use these resources whenever I want. I especially appreciate the Dirac cluster and being able to experiment on the most recent GPUs.

Hopper has been working quite well lately.

HPC resources are generally available. Easy navigation from one machine to another. Easy job submission system.

NERSC tends to be more responsive to users than other centres. Although it took many years to get to this point, NERSC recognizes that people need sizable amounts of permanent disk space which is accessible to MPP jobs and provides it through the/projects file system. It was also good that you made Hopper's queue structure jobsize neutral, unlike Franklin.

NERSC Provides Good Services

Wow where to start? I think you have the best technical support I have everused. Very quick, accurate, and done with a smile ;-) I think you do a fantastic job of informing the user of upcoming changes, this really helps the user to prepare for the week/month. I think you listen well to the user needs, and respond to those needs.

Organizing and integrating its user community, reaching out to the users, addressing user requests.

User Services and Viz/Analysis support are outstanding.

good ability to store and analyse data

Very prompt and responsive to user concerns and questions. I want to just convey a big thank you to all at NERSC for their help and service.

Working with many different software packages for HPC systems

Consulting is excellent - rapid responses and are eager to help with good advice.

User support is proactive and easily the best I've seen anywhere. Communication about the software environment is likewise excellent.

NERSC consulting has been helpful with environment variables for my memory-intensive large runs.

Account support. The help desk is very responsive.

Very good basic user documentation.

The new NERSC website is great. The navigation is very intuitive and it is easy to find information when I look for it.

easy to run interactively; new NX server is wonderful, changed my way of working; great support

I have found that a phone call to the help line at NERSC has always been extremely helpful and efficient! Thank you.

The consultants are very good, and usually solve problems quickly.

NERSC's website has an enormous amount of good information and Google frequently takes me to it when I am looking for generic answers. The new website has been very easy to navigate.  NERSC's people are very talented and are on par with the staff at the best supercomputing centers in the world. I currently run on 8 petaflop/s worth of supercomputers on two continents, and I count NERSC among the top 3 places I use. For reference, CSCS and ALCF are the other two I think are excellent. For Cray-specific help, NERSC is much better than NCCS/NICS. Only part of this can be attributed to the relative IQ distribution of the two host states.  Katie Antypas and Francesca Verdier have been extremely helpful to me with access to Hopper2 and with NERSC-related issues I've had over the years. Zhengji Zhao does an excellent job with the extremely challenging responsibility of maintaining electronic structure codes at NERSC. Viraj Paropkari and Hemant Shukla have done an excellent job with Dirac.

Customer support, software updates, responsive to requests.

Technical consulting and responsiveness are very good, especially compared to other centers.

Lots of very good support, very very helpful technical assistance!

Flexibility in allocating additional CPU time.

Asistance with problems

support staff are excellent

I think consultant services are really good. Machine maintenance is also quite good, with dates for down times given well in advance. There are relatively few surprizes. Quite generally, the interest of NERSC staff in helping us out is excellent, and very welcome.

The consulting is good and they always follow through. With webinars the training has become easily available.

NERSC has a very competent group of people.

Service reliability and user support.

Help Desk is really exceptional in responsiveness

NERSC has superb technical support staff. I'll never forget the experience of calling at 3am on a weekend for a password reset and getting a staff member right away who was much more awake than I was. Their informative messages are helpful, especially the ones announcing that particular queues are mostly empty.

Works with users to make codes work and to optimize performance.

Consulting is usually fast and very helpful. The once a year allocation process works well, along with the ability of department heads to allocate additional hours if needed.

Your consulting staff are helpful, courteous, and timely. The same is true for your accounts staff.

Manage accounts well. Prompt and effective responses. Good solutions and suggestions.

Excellent service. Like fact that one can get free initial allocation.

NERSC's support is done very well. I always receive the help I need in a timely manner.


Communication is quite clear and consistent. Good response to users needs.

Responds quickly when issues are reported.Keeps users well informed about coming changes, and doesn't appreciably alter the way things work at the user level without giving due warning and explanation-of-what-I'm-going-to-have-to-do-differently.The NX client interface and the make-data-available-through-publicly-accessible-URL's capability are very nice.

Support of all kinds (techincal, password assistance, etc.)

The NERSC consulting/support group is very efficient. Responses offered by the personnel in this group are always very helpful to me.

Support staff and advice is excellent.

NERSC is very responsive to requests. The information is always up-to-date and comprehensive. The website is also well designed and the NIM is pretty useful.

Customer support

I appreciate very much the helps from Francesca Verdier on how to get allocation time and Zhengji Zhao on how to run VASP