Getting Started with the Research Computing Clusters, Section II

Wed, Oct 21, 2020, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
PICSciE/Research Computing

This workshop is a hands-on introduction to the research computing ecosystem at Princeton: the computing clusters (Perseus, Della, Tiger, Traverse), the Tigress storage system, and the Tigressdata machine for data visualization.  It covers the practical knowledge and basic civics that *all users* of Princeton’s research computing systems should know (think of it as “Driver’s Ed” for supercomputers).
There are two sections offered, each three hours long. Participants should register for just one of the two sections. Each session will have interactive Q&A and hands-on exercises.  IF YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY, PLEASE DO NOT REGISTER! This material is best learned by doing, and since registration is limited, you will be taking an active-learning spot from someone else.

Workshop format: Interactive Zoom presentation (Zoom link provided 1-3 days beforehand), with hands-on exercises.
Knowledge prerequisites: A working facility with the Linux command line at or above the level of PICSciE’s “Intro to the Linux Command Line” mini-course is *essential* for this workshop.  Prospective participants should complete that Linux course (or at least study its materials) *before* taking this workshop. THERE WILL BE NO REVIEW OF COMMAND-LINE BASICS DURING THIS WORKSHOP!

Hardware/software prerequisites: Participants in any PICSciE virtual workshop require a Princeton Zoom account (which requires Duo authentication to sign in). For this workshop, users must also have an account on our Adroit cluster, and they should confirm that they can SSH into Adroit *at least 48 hours beforehand*. Details on all of the above can be found in this guide. Registrants who need extra help setting up should visit one of our dedicated “workshop setup sessions” in advance. THERE WILL BE LITTLE TO NO TROUBLESHOOTING DURING THE WORKSHOP!

Target audience: Anyone using Princeton’s research computing systems should know this content. Some facility with the Linux command-line is a strict prerequisite. While the course materials are available for self-study, this workshop offers a guided exercise-driven review of those materials suitable both for those with analogous experience at other institutions and for those new to working on shared Linux clusters.  Users in the latter category should note that some of the information is Princeton-specific and may differ from they remember from their prior institutions.

Learning objectives: Attendees will come away with the basic skills needed to connect to a research computing cluster, navigate its environment and file system, run programs through the SLURM scheduler, and install and manage their software environment. Participants will also get a high-level overview of different parallel computing paradigms and guidance on how to assess their computing needs in order to use the Princeton resources judiciously.

Workshop Summary: After an overview of the different computing systems, their hardware, and the sorts of tasks each system is geared toward, the course gives users a hands-on introduction to technical topics including how to connect to the clusters, how to keep programs running even after disconnecting from a cluster, how to launch jobs through our scheduling software (SLURM), and how to access or install additional software they may need.

Participants will also learn the basic civics of working on Princeton’s shared systems, including where and when to store which sorts of files and data, guidance on how to request the right amount of memory and computing power (including choosing CPUs vs GPUs), and rules of thumb for avoiding delays in or interruptions of your computing jobs (some of which is Princeton-specific).

Please register online at If you are having trouble registering, please contact

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