Securing Allocations to M&IC Computing Systems


Numerical simulation is central to nearly every Laboratory program and discipline. As computational science becomes increasingly ingrained in the way LLNL performs its science of scale, the demand for predictive three-dimensional simulation capabilities will increase. In particular, demand for high performance computing (HPC) resources will grow.

To meet this need—and ensure that all Laboratory programs are enfranchised—the Laboratory Director has committed to a multi-year investment in a variety of HPC resources.


The investment in HPC resources has three objectives:

  • Encourage use of simulation to enable breakthrough scientific discoveries that would not be possible on conventional computers.
  • Enhance our core competency in HPC, and in so doing, strengthen computational science at the Laboratory.
  • Provide Laboratory researchers and key customers unmatched capability computing power in pursuit of Laboratory objectives and fulfillment of Laboratory missions.

Resources Available

Computing requirements vary according to the needs of the project and sophistication of the code team. To address this spectrum of needs, the Laboratory invests in a range of computing resources via the M&IC Program. Specifically, Laboratory researchers may request access to capacity computing resources, capability computing resources, and serial computing resources.

See the Available Resources page for information about the computing and other resources available. For details about available resources, see the LC Computing Resources Systems Summary.

Foreign National Access

Foreign nationals who want to use any LLNL computing resource must have an approved computer security plan in place prior to being granted access. Instructions for requesting a user account (as opposed to being granted a machine resource bank) can be found in Access to LLNL Centralized Unclassified Computer Systems by LLNL Employees and Collaborators. Sensitive country foreign nationals (SCFNs) are not routinely granted access to any LC capability systems on the yellow network. They can, however, request access to some computing resources on the green network maintained by LC. Please contact the LC Hotline (925-422-4531) for details.

Requesting Multiprogrammatic Allocations

Any non-Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project or effort at LLNL, including researchers with external collaborators needing HPC access and "work-for-others" (WFO) projects, can purchase cycles on the M&IC systems. HPC cycles can be purchased as a substantial block of time or through investing in the equipment required to meet the project's needs. See Investing in M&IC for current prices and available systems. Block funding ends once the cycles purchased are used. Co-investment in the M&IC systems is the most cost efficient way to get long-term HPC cycles. Co-investment allocations persist for the lifetime of the system.

Requesting Grand Challenge Allocations

Grand Challenge allocations are awarded once each year as a result of a formal Grand Challenge call for proposals. Allocation awards are for one year. Existing grand challenge projects must re-submit each year to continue their access. Read about the Grand Challenge Program for additional information.

Requesting LDRD Allocations

LDRD researchers who will need HPC cycles to complete their research must complete the LDRD Researcher Allocation Request Form to request a bank (an allocation) from LC/M&IC at the same time they submit their LDRD proposal. The researcher must provide discussion and analysis that support and document the need for the amount of time requested. Such justification should be made within the context of achieving LDRD proposal objectives or milestones. The researcher is also asked to submit a copy of the LDRD proposal. The proposal should be sent to the LC Hotline, attention Greg Tomaschke or Brian Carnes, in either soft or hard copy. New allocations are awarded once per year, at the beginning of each fiscal year, and persist for the lifetime of the LDRD effort. Principal Investigators (PIs) with existing LDRD allocations can request additional cycles at any time during the year. Update requests will be considered at the beginning of the next fiscal year, and any increased allocation will persist for the remaining lifetime of the LDRD effort.

Once researchers have an allocation, they must then request accounts for all members of the project by contacting the LC Hotline or following the instructions described in Access to LLNL Centralized Unclassified Computer Systems by LLNL Employees and Collaborators. It is important for PIs to read this document before submitting access forms so that they will know how to get an account for themselves and their research teams. Special forms may be required for new users.