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Welcome the Smithsonian Institution High Performance Computing Wiki.

This Wiki holds information for the use of HPC resources at the Smithsonian.

Central to the SI HPC resources is the Smithsonian Institution High Performance Cluster (SI/HPC), named Hydra.

  • High performance computing is administered by the Office of Research Computing.
  • The OCIO data center in Herndon, VA houses the high performance computing cluster, Hydra.

What's New

  • Jun 24 2021
    • The next major upgrade of the SI/HPC cluster, Hydra, will take place from August 30th through September 8th, 2021.

      • During the upgrade, Hydra will be inaccessible to users, and

      • as of 9am EDT on Monday August 30th any running jobs will be killed and any queued jobs will be deleted.

      While we are making every effort to set up the new configuration as backward compatible as possible, there will be changes. We hope to have Hydra back up before September 8th, but that decision won’t be made until the upgrade work is completed. During the downtime, access to files stored on Hydra will be limited, and at times unavailable, although none of your files will be deleted.

    • Please look at the 2021 Cluster Upgrade page for additional details.
  • Sep 15 2020
    • Scrubbing on /scratch has resumed: files older than 180 days are scrubbed
    • The GPFS s/w is in the process of being upgraded from v4 to v5, on a rolling basis and transparent to the users
    • IDL v 8.8[.0] is available
  • Apr 3 2020 - Hydra DOI
    • We have setup a DOI for Hydra (
      You are now able and encouraged to cite Hydra whenever research has benefited from its use and add a DOI link to that citation or acknowledgment.
  • Mar 24 2020 - Hydra status while teleworking
    • Hydra remains up and running.
    • We will address problems that require on-site staff as fast as possible.
    • We will answer people's questions and requests as promptly as possible.
    • Access to Hydra via VPN:
      • users are asked to limit the strain on the institutional VPN resources when ever appropriate.
    • Hydra can be accessed without VPN:
    • Users are asked to remain in contact via their SI email.
  • Reminders
    • All public disks (/pool and /scratch only) are scrubbed once a week. 

    • Reasonable requests to restore scrubbed files must be sent no later than the following Friday, by 5pm.

    • If  you have any questions or encounter any problems, email:

       SI-HPC-Admin@si.edufor sys-admin related issues,
      SI-HPC@si.edufor Bioinformatics/Genomics questions,
      hpc@cfa.harvard.edufor SAO users who need help.
  • Past news with more details can be found at the What's New page.


  • References to Hydra (publications, proposals, etc) should mention the cluster as:
the Smithsonian Institution High Performance Cluster (SI/HPC).

Last updated   SGK/MPK.

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