Account and Project Setup

All active USC members have access to CARC resources and the user portal, but only faculty and staff members can act as Principal Investigators (PIs). In the user portal, PIs can create projects, request resource allocations for their projects, and add other users (including students) to the projects they control.

Even though a PI can log in to the user portal, they won't have access to CARC resources by default. In order to start using CARC resources, PIs must create a project and request a resource allocation for it. Adding users to a project is optional.

User portal components

The user portal handles the management of 3 components: projects, allocations, and resources.


  • CARC has multiple distinct resources to track
  • Resources include: clusters, department/lab servers, software licenses, storage, and clouds
  • Some resources have limits (e.g., storage has a limit of GB/TB, licenses have a limit of seats available)


  • Allocations indicate what resources you have access to and any limits associated with that access
  • All CARC resources require an allocation
  • Allocations expire either by date or when a limit is reached - this information varies per allocation and is available when you log in to the user portal


  • All USC faculty & staff members can have at least one project
  • Each project has a description, field of research, grants, publications, and allocations to resources

Setup overview

The following is an overview of the steps required to start using CARC resources. For more detailed instructions, see each individual user guide linked below.

STEP 1: To begin, log in to the user portal.

STEP 2: Before you will be able to run jobs or get access to any of CARC's resources, you will need to create a project:

Create New Project

STEP 3: Next, you will need to request an allocation to at least one resource (cluster, storage, cloud, etc.). Most projects should request an allocation on the Discovery cluster:

Request New Allocation

If you require access to more than one resource, you can request multiple allocations. Allocation requests can take a day or longer to be approved by the CARC team.

STEP 4 (optional): You can also add users to your project/allocation to give them access to certain resources:

Adding Users

There is a delay of at least one hour before newly-added user accounts can access CARC systems.

Note: USC policy strictly forbids the sharing of accounts. If you have students, staff, or postdocs that are working for you, they must have their own CARC account.

Additional information

Adding Billing Information
Email Notifications

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