Access

Who is entitled to an HPC account?

Every researcher at Ghent University is entitled to an HPC account. This means that each member of the Ghent University qualifies, and researchers with a personal research grant (FWO, IWT, ...) or externally funded researchers registered in the personnel database of Ghent University (affiliated researchers, staff of the University of Ghent connected to VIB, IMEC, IBBT, etc.).

Master students doing work within the framework of research (master's thesis and specialized laboratory) can also request  an HPC account, and claim processing power and related services. As a graduate student, you must first ask your promoter (ZAP member) to send a brief description of and motivation for the work to be carried out on the computing infrastructure to HPC@UGent.be.

Researchers affiliated with an institution that is part of the Flemish Supercomputer Center can use the HPC account of their home institution to access the UGent infrastructure.

How do I request an HPC account?

You need to request your HPC account online.

  1. Navigation to the account request webpage: https://account.vscentrum.be
  2. Accept the certificate

  3. Choose your institute (Gent) and click Submit.

  4. Login with your UGent account credential.

  5. Upload your public key by selecting the key via the Browse button and click Submit.

  6. When the key is uploaded successfully, within a short period of time you will receive an email on your UGent email address to confirm your account request.

  7. Click on the link in the email, to confirm your account request. You will receive an email when your account request is processed and created.

If you are a master student, your promotor needs to send a short motivation and description of your work to hpc@ugent.be prior to requesting an account via the procedure described above.

How to connect to the HPC infrastructure?

The connection to the HPC infrastructure will be secure. Therefore the use of public/private keys in combination with SSH is necessary. Je kan inloggen met je user-id en private sleutel. More info on our HPC userwiki

Connection to the HPC infrastructure from outside UGentNet is possible via VPN: more info on VPN can be found on http://helpdesk.ugent.be/vpn/en.

To get access, you first need to have an activated HPC account.

How to create a public-private key pair?

User authentication runs via a public keys that needs to be provided when requesting an HPC account.

Windows

  1. Download the complete PuTTY package and install the package: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html
    keyhowto1.jpg
  2. Start PuTTYgen Key Generator by clicking Start > All programs > PuTTY > PuTTYgen
  3. Specify in the lower part of the window what type of keys you want to generate. You are advised to use a 2048 bits SSH-2 RSA key.keyhowto2 .jpg
    keyhowto3.jpg
  4. Click "Generate" and move the mouse cursor over the PuTTYgen window to generate random data to allow PuTTYgen to generate the key pair.
  5. Once the key pair is generated, the key properties need to be specified.
    Key comment -
    If you have more than one key and use them for different purposes, you don't need to memorise the key fingerprints in order to tell them apart. PuTTY allows you to enter a comment for your key, which will be displayed whenever PuTTY asks you for the passphrase. It is advised to used a comment like "your_name@computername".
    Key passphrase
    - A passphrase is needed to protect the private key against unauthorized use. DO NOT leave this passphrase fields blank. Do not forget your passphrase. There is no way to recover it.
    keyhowto4.jpg

    Complete the fields "Key passphrase" and "Confirm passphrase" and click Save public key to store the public key in a file, its recommended to use the filename id_rsa.pub. In like manner, click Save private key and use the filename id_rsa. Store your key pair in a safe and dry place.

Linux / Apple OS X

  1. Open a Terminal and enter following command: ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048
  2. user@host:~> ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 2048 Generating public/private rsa key pair. Enter file in which to save the key ({HOMEDIR}/.ssh/id_rsa): Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): ******** Enter same passphrase again: ********

  3. two files are generate in the .ssh dir:
  • private key: id_rsa
  • public key: id_rsa.pub

Why can't I use my UGent account to log in on the HPC infrastructure?

The HPC accounts are set up so that they fit within the structure that has been set up for the Flemish Supercomputer Center. A HPC account id for a UGent employee has the following form: vsc4xxxx.

What about privacy and security?

The HPC accounts are anonymous and to the outside world they are in no way linked to the UGent account or other personal information.

Further, the use of a public key is also safer than using passwords, as long as the user's private key is stored in a safe place.