New User Resource Guide

Getting Started at OSC

This guide was created for new users of OSC.

It explains how to use OSC from the very beginning of the process, from creating an account right up to using resources at OSC.

OSC account setup

The first step is to make sure that one has an OSC account.

There are multiple ways to create an account.

One can create an account at MyOSC, or be invited to use OSC via a registration email.

Make sure to select the PI checkbox if you are a PI at your institution and want to start your own project at OSC.

After creating an account at MyOSC, you may not be able to log in to OSC using OnDemand or an SSH client. If you do not have access to a project, you would get an 'invalid credentials' message, although the credentials are correct. Sometimes, OSC administrators need to approve your username if your institution is not recognized in our database. 

Contact OSC Help with questions.

Project and user management

Creating a project

Only users with PI status are able to create a project. See how to request PI status in manage profile information. Follow the instructions in creating projects and budgets to create a new project.

Adding new or existing users to a project

Once a project is created, the PI should add themselves to it and any others that they want to permit to use OSC resources under their project.

Refer to adding/inviting users to a project for details on how to do this.

Reuse an existing project

If there was already a project that you would like to reuse, follow the same instructions as found in creating projects and budget, but skip to the budget creation section.

These instructions are the same for projects which are restricted. Creating a new budget and getting it activated or approved will set the project to active.

Costs of OSC resources

If there are questions about the cost then refer to service costs.

Generally, an Ohio academic PI can create a budget for $1,000 on a project and use the annual $1,000 credit offered to Ohio academic PIs. Review service cost terms for explanations of budgets and credits at OSC.

See the complete MyOSC documentation, our Client Portal, here. The OSCusage command can also provide useful details. 

Classroom project support

OSC supports classrooms by making it simpler for students to use OSC resources through a customizable OnDemand interface at class.osc.edu

Visit OSC classroom resource guide and contact oschelp@osc.edu if you want to discuss the options there.

As a reminder, there will be no charges for classroom projects.

Transfer files/to from OSC systems

There are a few options for transferring files between OSC and other systems.

OnDemand file explorer

Using the OnDemand file explorer is the quickest option to get started. Just log in to ondemand.osc.edu and click 'File Explorer' from the navigation bar at the top of the page. From there one can upload/download files and directories.

Users cannot access ondemand.osc.edu unless they have an active OSC account and have been added to at least one project. Refer to the above sections which cover this.

This is a simple option, but for files or directories that are very large, it may not be best. See other options below in this case.

SFTP client software

Local software can be used to connect to OSC for downloading and uploading files.

There are quite a few options for this, and OSC does not have a preference for which one you use.

The general guidance for all of them is to connect to host sftp.osc.edu using port 22.

Globus

Using Globus is recommended for users that frequently need to transfer many large files/dirs.

We have documentation detailing how to connect to our OSC endpoint in Globus and how to set up a local endpoint on your machine with Globus.

Request extra storage for a project

Storage can be requested for a project that is larger than the standard offered by home directories.

On the project details page, submit a "Request Storage Change" and a ticket will be created for OSC staff to create the project space quota. 

Make sure that the cost of storage is understood prior to sending the request.
See service costs for details.

Getting started using OSC

Finally, after the above setup, one can start using OSC resources. Usually one has some setup that needs to be performed before they can really start using OSC, like creating a custom environment, gaining access to preinstalled software, or installing software to one's home directory that is not already available.

Interactive desktop session

The best place to start is by visiting ondemand.osc.edu, logging in, and starting an interactive desktop session.

Look for the navigation bar at the top of the page and select Interactive Apps, then Owens Desktop.

Notice that there are a lot of fields, but the most important ones, for now, are cores and the number of hours.

Try using only a single core at first, until you are more familiar with the system and can decide when more cores will be needed.

Other interactive apps

If there is specific software in the Interactive Apps list that you want to use, then go ahead and start a session with it. Just remember to change the cores to one until you understand what you need.

Getting to a terminal without starting a desktop session

A terminal session can also be started in OnDemand by clicking Clusters then Owens Shell Access.

In this terminal one can perform the needed commands in the below sections on environment setup and software use/installation.

You can choose to log in to OSC with any ssh client available. Make sure to use either owens.osc.edu or pitzer.osc.edu as the hostname to connect to.

Environment setup to install packages for different programming languages

Some of the common programming languages users need an environment set up are python and R.

See add python packages with conda or R software for details.

There are other options, so please browse the OSC software listing.

OSC managed software

All the software already available at OSC can be found in the software listing.

Each page has some information on how to use the software from a command line. If you are unfamiliar with the command line in Linux, then try reviewing some Linux tutorials.

For now, try to get comfortable with moving to different directories on the filesystem, creating and editing files, and using the module commands from the software pages.

Install software not provided by OSC

Software not already installed on OSC systems can be installed locally to one's home directory without admin privileges. Try reviewing locally installing software at OSC.

This may be difficult for new users to accomplish, please contact OSC Help with questions.

Batch system basics

After getting set up at OSC and understanding the use of interactive sessions, one should start looking into how to utilize the batch system to have their software run programmatically.

The benefits of the batch system are that a user can submit what we call a job (a request to reserve resources) and have the job execute from start to finish without any interaction by the user.

A good place to start is by reviewing job scripts.

Ondemand job composer

OnDemand provides a convenient method for editing and submitting jobs in the job composer.

It can be used by logging into ondemand.osc.edu and clicking Jobs at the top and then Job Composer. A short help message should be shown on basic usage.

Training

OSC offers perioding training both at our facility and at universities across the state on a variety of topics. Additionally, we will partner with other organizations to enable our users to access additional training resources. 

We are currently in the process of updating our training strategy and documents. If you are interested in having us come to your campus to provide training, please contact OSC Help. You can also contact us if there is a specific training need you would like to see us address.

To get an introduction to HPC, see our HPC Basics page.

To learn more about using the command line, see our UNIX Basics page.

For detailed instructions on how to perform tasks on our systems, check out HOWTO articles

Still Need Help?

Before contacting OSC Help, please check to see if your question is answered in either the FAQ or the Knowledge Base. Many of the questions asked by both new and experienced OSC users are answered on these web pages.

If you still cannot solve your problem, please do not hesitate to contact OSC Help:

Toll-Free: (800) 686-6472
Local: (614) 292-1800
Email: oschelp@osc.edu
Submit your issue online
Schedule virtual consultation

Basic and advanced support is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., except OSU holidays.

We recommend following HPCNotices on Twitter to get up-to-the-minute information on system outages and important operations-related updates.

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