Allocation Overview

Last updated September 25, 2023

There are several different allocation resources available on CARC systems. This guide goes over the various options and the associated pricing information.

Access to and use of allocation resources is based on participation in projects. Project setup and resource allocation are requested by a project’s PI using the CARC user portal. For instructions on setting up a project, see the Create a New Project user guide.

0.0.1 Discovery computing resource allocations

CARC offers three types of computing resource allocations on the Discovery cluster:

  • class
  • graduate student project (GSP)
  • research.

All resources are measured by system units (SUs). SUs are determined by CPU, memory, and GPU usage combined with job run time. More details on resource allocations can be found in our Running Jobs guide. PIs request computing resource allocations in the CARC user portal. Class allocations

The class allocation supports academic classes with limited sizes and timelines. It supports up to 600,000 SUs and expires at the end of a semester. Faculty who need a class allocation should request this resource in the CARC user portal at least two weeks before the beginning of the semester. Graduate student project (GSP) allocations

The graduate student project (GSP) allocation supports up to 6,000,000 SUs and is designed for students who conduct research that is separate from a PI’s main research project. A PI can create a project for students and request a new GSP allocation for it in the CARC user portal. A student seeking a GSP allocation still requires their PI/advisor to create the project and request the allocation for them—only a PI can do this.

PIs may also create this allocation for undergraduate students that they advise. Research allocations

The research allocation has three size tiers depending on the computational needs of the associated projects. Allocations usually start in the new fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), and they must be renewed annually at the end of each fiscal year to continue use. Requests for new research allocations and renewals must be submitted 30 days prior to the start of the allocation period/new fiscal year.

The table below shows a summary of the Discovery computing allocation tiers.

Compute size System units Annual fee
Small 12,000,000 Free (default size)
Medium 30,000,000 Yes
Large 60,000,000 Yes
Large2m 120,000,000 Yes

0.0.2 Endeavour computing resource allocations

Endeavour is CARC’s HPC condo cluster. As part of the Condo Cluster Program (CCP), researchers can purchase or subscribe to their own dedicated compute nodes. The CCP gives researchers the convenience of having their own dedicated compute nodes, without the responsibility of purchasing and maintaining the nodes themselves.

The CCP operates on both an annual subscription-based model, with research groups subscribing to their selected number of compute nodes on a yearly basis, as well as a traditional purchase model, with research groups purchasing compute nodes from CARC for a fixed term (e.g., five years).

0.0.3 cryo-EM subscription allocation

PIs making use of the cryo-electron microscopes (cryo-EM) housed at the the Core Center for Excellence in Nano Imaging can request this special allocation which allows them access to the cryo-EM cluster.

The cryo-EM instruments are a paid service; pricing details can be found here.

0.0.4 Storage resource allocations

All active projects are eligible for a storage allocation on the CARC /project file system. Storage allocations are measured using disk space in terabytes (TB) (1 terabyte is equivalent to 1,000 gigabytes (GB)). Each PI receives 10 TB of storage across their project(s) at no cost.

PIs must request storage allocations in the CARC user portal. The default minimum storage allocation size is 5 TB per project.

PIs can request additional storage space at a cost. Additional storage is added in increments of 5 TB. The current price is $40/TB/year for every TB above the first free 10 TB. For example, when a PI requires 20 TB total of space, the annual cost for the data storage space will be:

20 TB per year = 10 TB free + (10 x $40/TB/year) = $400 annual cost

When requesting a new storage allocation requiring more than 10 TB, indicate the amount of storage you need (in 5 TB increments).

If you have an existing storage allocation that requires in increase, submit a help ticket under the “Accounts/Access” category. Include your project ID, desired allocation size, and reason for this increase. The CARC team will consult with you to determine your needs and the total cost. cryo-EM storage allocation

PIs have the option of requesting a storage allocation specifically designated for cryo-EM research data. Unlike /project storage, this storage option does not have a free tier—it can be purchased in 5 TB increments for $40/TB/year.

0.0.5 Data preservation allocation

CARC offers our own research data repository for long-term cold storage. The CARC Cold Storage System is intended for long-term (e.g., more then 5 yrs) storage of large data sets (TB to PB scale). It is a fee-based service platform at a current rate of $20/TB/year.

Further information can be found in our Research Data Preservation user guide.

0.0.6 Sensitive data

Currently, CARC systems do not support the use or storage of sensitive data. If your research work includes sensitive data, including but not limited to HIPAA-, FERPA-, or CUI-regulated data, contact us at before using our systems.

0.0.7 Annual allocation renewal

The duration of computing and storage resource allocations is one year. Each year, PIs must renew their projects and associated allocations in the CARC user portal. Allocation sizes or types can be changed during renewal. Failure to apply for a renewal blocks all users in the group from running jobs on the cluster that allocation is linked to. Expired allocations cannot be renewed. If your allocation has expired, you must request a new allocation for the resource and go through the approval process again if you wish to have access to the same resource.

For more information on annual project reviews and allocation renewals, see the Annual Project Review user guide.