Frequently asked questions about Research Computing services can be found below. If the below does not answer your question you can email us at rchelp@fas.harvard.edu.

How do I request an account (for Odyssey, Software Downloads, Storage, and all other RC Resources)?

To request a Research Computing account please submit this completed form. When requesting Odyssey Cluster access, please ensure the Faculty Sponsor  fields are completed. After submitting the form, you will receive an automatic e-mail confirmation of your request. Generally, accounts are created within 1 – 2 business days.

Note: If you previously received a key chain fob and wish to return it, you can drop it off at 38 Oxford Street, second floor. Anyone in Research Computing should be able to help you. You may also use Interoffice Mail to return your FOB to Research Computing group, 38 Oxford Street, room 206.

What do I do if my account is locked?

Accounts automatically lock when too many unsuccessful login attempts occur.  They automatically unlock after about 15 minutes.

How do I store, manage and secure my data?

We would like to bring your attention to how Harvard University classifies different types of confidential data and how they should be stored. Confidential data is defined as “Information about a person or an entity that, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to place the person or the entity at risk of criminal or civil liability, or to be damaging to financial standing, employability, reputation or other interests.” Harvard University’s Technology Security Office pages also suggest how such data should be handled and stored. In particular it states, “All confidential information must be encrypted when transported across any network.”

Please note that none of the storage that is offered by Research Computing (RC), unless expressly custom designed and built for a particular purpose, satisfies this criterion. Under no circumstances should any confidential data be stored in RC storage. If you have any confidential data that you need stored, please email rchelp@fas.harvard.edu to schedule an appointment. We will be happy to discuss your particular needs and design a storage solution that is compliant to Federal, State and University regulations.

Data safety is something that should be all of our concern. Faculty, staff and students at Harvard are routinely responsible for data that is governed by various regulations. We ask you to regularly audit the nature of data you are using and are responsible for and ensure that you are taking the right steps to protect yourself and others from harm. If you have any questions about interpreting the University, State or Federal regulations and how that applies to your data please contact us at rchelp@fas.harvard.edu.

What is openauth and how do I use it?

How do I use the Odyssey cluster?

How to Use the Cluster
– Use your username, password, and an OpenAuth token to login to the cluster
– You can only communicate with the cluster using a “secure shell” (ssh). You can use the Terminal application on Mac, Putty on Windows, or command-line ssh on Linux. See the bottom of the x11 page for instructions on SecureCRT with Windows.
– Your lab may have a shared directory that lets you drag and drop files from your desktop onto the cluster. If not, use sftp programs to copy files to or from the cluster.
Load a module to gain access to a particular piece of software you’re interested in
– Use the LSF queueing system to submit a job and actually run your software
– Submit your job to the appropriate queue

Cluster Workshops
Research Computing puts on workshops every semester. There are two introduction classes, one on basic Linux, the other on using the Cluster, which provides an overview of the various Research Computing resources and explains how to connect to Odyssey and run your jobs. It is a valuable resource for those new to clusters and research computing.

Who do I contact for information on website design and hosting?

Harvard University offers several different services to faculty and research groups to create, host and publish web content.

The Administrative Web Services (AWS) group under Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) is a full-featured service available to University groups. Their services run the full spectrum including: website design, content management/communication tools, application development, website maintenance, and web technology consultation. AWS also provides Scribo, which uses the latest blog technology. Scribo is a remarkably simple and intuitive electronic publishing and collaboration platform, designed for the non-technical user.

iSites, a service offered by HUIT iCommons project, is a tool that allows for:

  • Easy-to-use administrative functionality to manage the structure, access, and content of the site.
  • A variety of tools to create content and encourage interaction.
  • The ability to reuse and share content across multiple iSites.

OpenScholar and Projects, services offered by the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) is a tool to very quickly, and easily, generate a fully featured personal or group website.

FAS IT also offers various services for website hosting.

Biology-focused researchers may be interested in the Open Wetware project, which allows users to create wikis for their labs.

Note: If your need is different from the services offered above, please do not hesitate to contact rchelp@fas.harvard.edu and we will get in touch with you to discuss your needs.

Some examples of needs that could be different are:

  • You want to host a FAQ for other members of your groups on how to use your software suite on Odyssey
  • You want to share large (multi terabyte) datasets over the web
  • You have a complicated web application that needs significant computing and administrative resources that would not work in a shared environment

How do I access data and services from off-campus or wireless networks?

How do I change my password?

There are two easy options for changing your password:

  1. You can change your password by going to the following site: https://rcapps.fas.harvard.edu. Log in with your current credentials and then you will see a small gold key at the top of the applications view. clicking the key will bring up the password change dialog.

  2. If you are using a lab computer that you logged in with your credentials, simply hit CTL+ALT+DEL and you will see a dialog box allowing you to select several options, amongst them is changing your password.

Note: the new password must be 8 characters or longer and contain 3 of the following characteristics:

  • lowercase letters
  • uppercase letters
  • numbers
  • symbols

If you have any questions, please feel free to email rchelp@fas.harvard.edu.

How do I transfer data?

What scientific software does Research Computing distribute?

Where can I find information about sequencing?

Where can I find information about ATLAS computing?

Where can I find information about Odyssey?

Where can I find information about E-Notebook?

What is SPINAL and how do I use it?

Where can I find information about storage and file access?

Where can I find information about Windows Cluster (MSHPC)?

Where can I find tips and Tricks for UNIX?

What software is on Odyssey?

Software on Odyssey

Full List of Modules on Odyssey

If you wish to stay up to date with the latest software on Odyssey, look for modules with the -latest tag.  These modules point to the most up to date modules we have available, and will change when we update software.  This will require you to recompile your program every time a module is updated but you will always have the latest software available.

Site last updated April 11, 2014