Page tree
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

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

  • 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:
      • use the "Hydra" link under "It Tools" (or use RDP) at
      • SAO users can use to ssh to Hydra.
      • Access to the self serve password page is now working.
      • How to use Dropbox or Firefox Send (ffsend) to copy files to/from Hydra is documented on the Wiki.
    • The scrubbing policy has been modified as follows:
      • the scrubber will run on /pool/sao and /pool/genomics as usual, but
      • the scrubbed content will not be deleted for at least 21 days, and
      • we will accept requests to preserve what was scrubbed (beyond 21 days) as long as needed. To get your files restored, follow the usual instructions.
    • Users are asked to remain in contact via their SI email.
  • February 27, 2020 - cpu_arch resource and IDL 8.7.3
    • We have added a new resource, called cpu_arch, to allow users to direct jobs on nodes with CPUs of a specific (list of) architecture(s).
      If you run jobs/codes that can only run on (a) specific type(s) of processors, look at the new section CPU Architecture under the Available Queues page.

    • IDL version 8.7.3 has been installed on Hydra, and is accessible via the idl/8.7.3 module. The idl/8.7 module is now pointing to idl/8.7.3

  • January 14, 2020 - Increased total slot limit
    • The total number of slots (CPUs) a user can grab has been increased from 512 to 640.
  • December 20, 2019 - Disk space re-tuning
    1. increased /home (doubled it) to 20T
    2. doubled each user quota on /home (100G/2M → 200G/4M);
    3. resized (increased) /data/genomics and /data/sao  to 45TB each;
    4. resized (increased) /pool/genomics  and /pool/sao  to 80TB each;
    5. increased each user quotas to 1TB/2.5M on /data/genomics  (doubled);
    6. decreased /scratch/genomics  and /scratch/sao  from 400T → 350TB each.
  • 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.

Search this documentation

Recently Updated Pages

  • No labels