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r11 - 14 Oct 2016 - 13:59:02 - DavidAcremanYou are here: Astrophysics Wiki >  Zen Web  >  ReadMeFirst > GettingAccessToZen

Isca: the new HPC System

The University's new HPC system (called Isca) will be available later this year. For more information (including rates for grant applications) please see For enquires about Isca please email

Access to Zen

Zen is available to members of the University of Exeter for research use; it is not available for undergraduate teaching or projects. To use Zen you will need to have a suitable application which can be run in parallel and can be run using a batch scheduler (i.e. not interactively). The batch scheduler will allocate exclusive use of one or more compute nodes to running your job. Each compute node has 12 cores and you will need to make efficient use of the node. This is normally achieved by parallelising the application using MPI and/or OpenMP.

If you would like to obtain access to Zen please email David Acreman to request an account. In your email please provide the following information.

Who is funding your project?

You may have a grant from a specific research council (e.g. STFC, EPSRC, NERC) or other external funding sources (e.g. European Research Council (ERC), Leverhulme Trust, Welcome Trust, companies, etc) which supports the work which will use Zen.

What are the outputs of the project?

For example journal papers (with estimated submission date), conference proceedings or a PhD thesis (with expected completion date).

Who is the PI/supervisior for the project (if applicable)?

What is the duration of the project?

What are your requirements for compilers, libraries and other software?

There is a wide diversity of possible applications which could be run on Zen so it is useful to know what your specific requirements are.

Is the code commercial/licenced?

If you want to use a commercial code on Zen then you will need a suitable licence in order to do so legally. Please be aware that running codes on an HPC system (like Zen) may require a different licence to running the same code on a desktop computer.

Will you build and install the code yourself?

Many people write, build and install their own codes, but if you need the code to be built and installed for you then please let me know.

What are your estimated CPU time requirements and how many nodes do you need to run your code (a node comprises 2 six core Intel Xeon processors and 24GB RAM)?

This will require some knowledge of the parallel scaling of your code and how your calculation scales with problem size. This is also information required to use Zen effectively.

What are your estimated disk space requirements?

Disk space on Zen is controlled by quotas, so you will need enough quota for your project.

How will your code be parallelised and how well does it scale?

Zen is designed to run parallel codes so you will need some idea of how the parallelism in your code works in order to use Zen effectively. In order for your code to scale well to larger numbers of cores the fraction of code which can be parallelised needs to high (as described by Amdahl's Law).

-- DavidAcreman - 11 Oct 2012

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