Faculty Computing Allowance

Faculty and PIs wanting to obtain access to Savio for their research will need to complete the Requirements Survey and include an initial list of anticipated users, as indicated on that form. A Savio-cluster specific project will be set up using a unique name and all user accounts will be created under that project name. The project name will also be used to set up (SLURM) scheduler accounts, for running computational jobs and tracking cluster usage.

Once a project (and its associated Savio scheduler account) has been created, any UCB researcher who wants to open an additional Savio cluster account, to be associated with that existing project, can do so by submitting the Additional User Account Request Form. Accounts are added upon approval of the faculty or PI for the project. Usernames must be unique and are allocated on a first-come, first served basis. This means that users may need to choose an alternate username for their accounts, if the one that they originally want has been taken.

For security reasons, access to Savio will be through the use of two-factor authentication using Google Authenticator one-time password tokens. This greatly reduces the risk of a security compromise due to stolen user credentials.


There are two different kinds of allocations that provide compute time on the Savio cluster. Faculty and PIs can request access to the cluster under either or both of these:

  • Faculty Computing Allowance: This is a new pilot program, sponsored jointly by the VCR and CIO, to provide up to 300K Service Units (SUs) of free compute time per academic year to all qualified UC Berkeley faculty/PIs, where one SU is equivalent to one compute cycle on the latest standard hardware. (Allowances are prorated based on month of application during the allowance year.) PIs can complete the Requirements Survey to request an Allowance of compute time that can then be used by themselves, their research group, and collaborators. PIs can also pool their Allowances if their groups are working together; however, this must be specified when the Allowance is initially setup or during the annual renewal period. Please note that Allowances can be shared but are not transferable. People needing more compute time beyond their Allowance should review the options for getting more computing time for a project. Savio cluster project names for these allocations start with a 'fc_’ prefix; for example fc_projectname.
  • Condo Allocation: This category of allocation is available to Faculty and PIs that purchase standard compute nodes to be added to the Savio cluster. (To learn more or to inquire about a purchase, please see Condo Cluster Service.) The basic premise of Condo Computing is that PIs receive free cluster support for their contributed hardware and, in exchange, the institution has access to their excess cycles. The advantages of this model for PIs include no ongoing support costs, and the ability to determine and set the scheduler limits on their Condo QoS (Quality of Service) according to their needs. There are no usage limits on cumulative compute cycles used by Condo users; rather, there is a limit on the number of nodes available to these projects at any given time, based on the number of nodes contributed by the Condo. Savio cluster project names for these allocations start with a ‘co_’ prefix, for example co_condoname; when users submit jobs with this project name, their jobs get an additional priority boost as Condo jobs.

Adding Additional Users to Your Project

UCB researchers who want to request new user accounts on the cluster, to be associated with an existing project, can submit the Additional User Account Request/Modification Form. PIs can also use the Request Form to submit account requests for non-UCB users associated with their project.

All user account requests require the approval of the PI for the relevant project on the cluster, and are added on a first come, first served basis.

Note: each first-time user will also need to complete a User Access Agreement Form. (For convenience, this access agreement form is linked from the user account request form, above.)

Renewing Your Faculty Computing Allowance

Each year, beginning in May, you can submit an application form to renew your Faculty Computing Allowance. The renewal form is considerably simpler and briefer than the form used to request a first-time Allowance.

Links to this renewal application form are typically emailed to Allowance recipients (and to other designated "main contacts" on such accounts) by or before mid-May each year. (There are often some at least modest differences in the renewal application process from year to year, so there is no permanent online location for this form.)

Renewal applications submitted during May will be processed beginning June 1st. Those submitted and approved later in the year, after the May/June period (i.e. after June 30th), will receive pro-rated allowances of computing time, based on month of application during the allowance year.

Viewing the Usage of Your Allowance

You can view how many Service Units have been used to date under a Faculty Computing Allowance, or by a particular user account on Savio, via the check_usage.sh script.

Charges for Running Jobs

Each time a computational job is run on the cluster under a Faculty Computing Allowance account, charges are incurred against that account, using abstract measurement units called Service Units (SUs). Please see Service Units on Savio to learn more about how these charges are calculated.

Getting More Compute Time When Your Allowance Is Used Up

Have you exhausted your entire Faculty Computing Allowance? There are a number of options for getting more computing time for your project.


Please acknowledge Savio in your publications. (Such acknowledgements are an important factor in helping to justify ongoing funding for, and expansion of, the cluster.) A sample statement is:

"This research used the Savio computational cluster resource provided by the Berkeley Research Computing program at the University of California, Berkeley (supported by the UC Berkeley Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Research, and Chief Information Officer)."

As well, we encourage you to tell us how BRC impacts your research (Google Form), at any time!