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Various announcements from the Virtual Research Support Core to SCINet users. See also the SCINet Forum Announcements page (must have a SCINet account to access).

For system downtime information see the System Downtime page for planned downtime and SCINet Forum Announcements page (must have a SCINet account to access) about unplanned outages/system status.

08-December-2021 Atlas Downdown

The HPC2 Computing Office has scheduled maintenance for the Atlas compute cluster. During this maintenance window, the login, devel, dtn, ood, and compute nodes for atlas will be unavailable and all associated cron jobs will be disabled.

29-September-2021 SCINet Policy Changes

The SCINetPolicies document in your home directory on Ceres provides an updated SCINet policy that addresses user accounts, storage space, job and quality of service queues, software, data management, networking, and Galaxy access. Please take the time to read over the document to make sure that you are compliant with all SCINet policies and regulations. A few examples of the changes in SCINet policy include:

1) Accounts will be deactivated if there is one year of account inactivity.

2) Passwords reset after 60 days.

3) Collaborator (Non-ARS) accounts expire after one year.

4) Non-ARS SCINet users must confirm that they have taken Annual Security Awareness Training and at the beginning of each year. The VRSC will send out emails to confirm account status eligibility.

5) To clarify the policy on hardware purchases - when a node is purchased, it belongs to the priority pool and the purchaser has access to the priority queue for the period of the node hardware warranty. The purchaser does not own the physical node, and the property sticker belongs to the SCINet.

6) SCINet is a community resource. Thus, all SCINet users have a responsibility to the other users on the system. There are restrictions on what software you can install.

7) There is a /90daydata folder where you can perform analysis to save resources in your project directory. The data is then automatically deleted after 90 days with no back-up.

These policy changes were approved by the SCINet Policy Committee for the safety of SCINet and to encourage a positive SCINet experience for all users. The Committee is made up of Scientists, Bioinformaticians and IT professionals across ARS. If you have a question or need clarification, please contact the chair of the SCINet policy committee. Details of the SCINet policy can be found on the following SharePoint page. (

21-September-2021 More SCINet Network Hardware OS Updates


Stoneville: Upgrade OS on hardware starting at 1300 UTC (O800 CT)

Ames: Complete upgrade on router at 1530 (1030 CT)

Clay Center: Upgrade OS on hardware starting at 2000 UTC (1500 CT)


NAL: Upgrade OS on hardware starting at 1900 UTC (1500 ET)

9/24/2021 Dependent on Wednesday and Thursday’s progress

Fort Collins: Upgrade OS on hardware. TBD

Albany: Finish up the upgrade on the router only. TBD

15-September-2021 Planned connectivity outages at various SCINet locations

GNOC plans to upgrade the OS on the SCINet gear at the 6 locations. This will result in connectivity interruptions during the upgrade. The upgrade schedule is the following:

Albany - 9/16 8AM PT

Clay Center - 9/16 4PM CT

Ames - 9/17 8AM CT

Stoneville - 9/20 8AM CT

NAL - 9/20 3PM CT

CSU - 9/21 9AM CT

27-July-2021 No SCINet priority node purchases this year

We will not be making priority node purchases through the SCINet Program this year. We added a large number of nodes to Ceres in the past several years that either replaced older, less reliable nodes or were new nodes that increased our overall capacity. In addition, we brought the Atlas Cray computer online at Mississippi State University, and we will be adding a backup storage system at the National Ag Library in the next month.

These actions should provide sufficient computational power and storage for scientists to conduct their high-performance computing research without a unit needing to purchase its own nodes.

We will re-assess the situation as scientific needs continue to change.


Update: Site Service at Ames is available. Internet2 circuit vendor Lumen has determined a fiber cut from a local construction company to be the cause of the outage. Fiber splicing has been completed, and fiber crews are hands off. No further impact is expected.

Start Time(s) []: 2021-07-06 15:47:54 - 2021-07-07 12:33:45 [0d 20h 45m 51s]


Connection to Ceres is currently down. The issue is being investigated.

Update: Site service at Ames is currently unavailable. ARS SCINet circuit vendor Internet2 has advised that the provider is reviewing a circuit issue that may be contributing to this outage low light on the path. No ETR is currently available. Updates will be provided as they are received.

Update: Site Service at Ames is unavailable. Internet2 circuit vendor Lumen is investigating a low signal power issue in their network that may be impacting services. Testing is underway to determine the source of the loss. Vendor ticket has been escalated to expedite the incident resolution. No ETR is currently available. Updates will be provided as they are received.


SCINet has launched a new discussion forum that replaces Basecamp:

SCINet Forum

SCINet projects on Basecamp will no longer be available after April 30, 2021.

From now on all announcements will be posted on the new SCINet Forum and published in this section of the SCINet website .

SCINet users will NOT receive email notifications from SCINet Forum UNTIL they login to the Forum for the first time. To login to SCINet Forum, click here. Then select “Log In” and use your SCINet credentials (what you use to log in to Ceres or Atlas). Make sure to append the GA 6-digit code at the end of the SCINet password.

If you wish to save any data from Basecamp to your computer, please do it before April 30, 2021.


The SCINet Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is seeking a representative from the Northeast Area for a 3-year term.

The SAC meets monthly to provide input on planning, educational and communication activities of the SCINet Initiative. There is also opportunity for input on planning and policy initiatives. For example, SAC members created a quarterly SCINet newsletter, facilitated a user-needs virtual meeting with scientific points-of-contact across ARS research units, launched the new SCINet website, and hold multiple computation workshops and trainings annually.

This is a 3-year term which begins immediately and will end March 2024. Please reply to Kathleen Yeater ( with nomination(s) by next Friday April 23, 2021. Self-nominations are accepted. Please provide e-mail contact information of nominees, and the SAC Membership committee will continue with the application process for the NEA representative to SAC.

05-Feb-2021 is set to retire Feb 15, 2021

Due to major refactoring, updates and policy changes we could not continue using the old database and are starting with a clean slate on is currently in “read-only” mode where users have access but cannot launch new jobs. Users have until 7AM CST Feb 15, 2021 to access and download the existing files.

If you have any issues or concerns, email


The Atlas Cluster at Mississippi State is now availible to all SCINet Users! Documentation on logging in has been added to the Quick Start Guide. Full documention on Altas is coming soon.


The network vendor will be performing maintenance on the SCINet connection to the NCAH facility which houses Ceres on tomorrow morning, 8/27 from midnight CDT to 6am CDT. They have also reserved the same time block the next night 8/28 in case it is needed.

This may cause network interruption which would terminate login sessions, and would not allow data transfers in and out of Ceres.

This will not affect jobs which access the on-site filesystems, like /project.


We have a directory available for medium term usage which allows researchers to run multiple jobs against data in this directory over a 90 day period.

This should be faster than using /project , since not everyone will be using it , and it will be kept performant.

To keep this space available for all researchers, and performing well, it needs to be kept at a low level of space. To accomplish this, files will only be allowed on this space for a period of 90 days.
Any file older than 90 days since last access is subject to DELETION. This is permanent and the files cannot be recovered. Make sure that you move files out of this directory well before the time that they will be deleted, as this is automated. If you forget and go on vacation, or get sick, the files will still be deleted.

Just like /project there is no backup for this space. If you need to keep something, use /KEEP/PROJECTNAME

Additional warning: If you download archived files, they may contain files with an access date from long ago. This date will still trigger deletion, so make sure that the files have a new access date. For example, when you untar a .tar or .tgz file, use the -m flag. If you use rsync to the space, do not use the -a flag, as that preserves date stamps.

The name of this space is /90daydata, and it will go live Thursday, 8/27/20 at noon EDT.

The VRSC will create a directory /90daydata/PROJECTNAME for each /project/PROJECTNAME directory, so that there is no confusion among different groups.

There will also be a space /90daydata/shared open to all for the passing of data between project groups. This will be readable by everyone on the system, so only put data in there that is appropriate.