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Managing Projects

This page describes projects in detail, including policies, concepts, background, etc.

The Project Life Cycle

Projects normally go through the following life cycle. Detailed descriptions of the life cycle will be elaborated further down on this page.

  • The Principal Investigator (PI) requests a project using at The PI must be a current Argonne employee.
  • The project request is sent to the LCRC Allocations Administrator and to the LCRC Allocations Committee.
  • The committee's decision is reported via email to the project requester.
  • If the project has been approved, the mail will include the number of hours allocated to the project. This number may be different from what was requested. This number may also be some initial allocation that will subsequently be augmented based on decisions by the LCRC Allocations Committee.
  • As a part of creating the project, someone on the LCRC Allocations Committee will be affiliated with the project as a Point of Contact (PoC). That person will be the project's contact on the committee. They are expected to become moderately familiar with the project, to act as the project's advocate if necessary, and to be able to explain the project and the project's status to the committee.
  • Every fiscal quarter starting October 1, all projects will have their allocations zeroed out and be restarted with new allocations as requested and approved. This will be done in order to adjust and balance the use of the system. Unused time does not carry over to the next quarter.
  • When making quarterly decisions, the Allocations Committee PoC will look at the usage for the previous quarter and may query any projects that have not been using most of their time to learn what their plan is for the next quarter. Sometimes they also query projects that have used a lot of time for their future plans.
  • Once the project has been created, PIs can add other users to the project, appoint Proxies (or Co-PIs), and administer the project's allocation.
  • In advance of the annual October (Argonne's new fiscal year) re-allocation, PIs will be reminded to send in a request for the next year's allocation for their project.
  • Also in advance of the annual October re-allocation, PIs will also be required to provide a report on their project at that time. If reports had been sent in for previous quarters, those will be sufficient, if they are current. The basic goal here is to get at least one annual report for each project. This report will be used to help describe the overall use of the systems and will also be used when deciding on annual allocations for all projects. The format of the report will be roughly 2-3 pages long, with pictures highly encouraged. Projects that do not submit a report will not receive any new time for the new fiscal year until a report is received.
  • LCRC allocations granted each quarter use Argonne's fiscal calendar. Allocations are granted on the first business day of the new quarter around 10AM CST. Quarters are divided into the following time frames:
  • 1st Quarter (October 1 – December 31)
  • 2nd Quarter (January 1 – March 31)
  • 3rd Quarter (April 1 – June 30)
  • 4th Quarter (July 1 – September 30)

Example Project: "Popcorn"

Let's explore a sample project to illustrate how the LCRC allocation system functions. The project, named popcorn, aims to simulate Popcorn Kernel Dynamics. It involves a Principal Investigator (PI) and three collaborating scientists.

Project Life Cycle & Initial Allocation

After its creation, popcorn would be granted an initial allocation, for instance, 20,000 core-hours for the year.

Usage Scenario

Imagine one of the collaborating scientists runs a job that takes 10 hours and utilizes 25, 36-core nodes. This would consume:

  • 10 hours (job duration) x 25 nodes x 36 cores (per node) = 9,000 core-hours

As a result, 11,000 core-hours would remain from the original allocation.

Running Out of Core-Hours

Once all 11,000 remaining core-hours are exhausted, the project will be unable to execute additional jobs. At this point, the team would need to consider requesting more computational time.

Requesting Additional Allocation

The designated PI can formally request additional core-hours for the project. This request will be subject to review and approval by the LCRC Allocations Committee.

  • Communication: The decision on the request will be emailed to the PI upon completion of the required web form.

Additional Resources

For a practical guide to project allocation requests, refer to the Sample Project Request.

Project PIs and User Accounts

Each project within the LCRC system is managed by at least one Primary Investigator (PI). The PI serves as the main point of contact for matters like resource allocations. In addition, projects can have Proxies (also known as Co-PIs) who share managerial responsibilities with the PI.

Eligibility for PIs and Proxies

  • Primary Investigator (PI): Must be a current Argonne employee.
  • Proxies (Co-PIs): Also need to be current Argonne employees.

User Account Association

A project can have various levels of user involvement:

  • Single User: Some projects might only have one user account, which is the PI.
  • Multiple Users: Other projects could involve multiple user accounts, possibly even dozens.

A single user account can be associated with multiple projects and can also serve as the PI for multiple projects.

Roles and Responsibilities

PI Responsibilities

  1. User Management: The PI is in charge of adding and removing user accounts linked to the project.
  2. Allocation Management: The PI administers the core-hour allocations for the project, outlining who among the project members is authorized to use what portion of the allocated resources.


In a nutshell, the PI and any Proxies are responsible for both user and resource management within their projects. They are the go-to contacts for allocation decisions and administrative tasks.

Requesting a New LCRC Project

Who Can Request?

Only Argonne employees are eligible to initiate a new project within the LCRC.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Log In:

2. Access the Request Link:

  • Locate and click on the Request New LCRC Project option in the left-hand sidebar.

Request New LCRC Project

Note: If the link isn't visible, join the lcrc project. Follow this guide for assistance.

3. Complete the Form:

  • Provide the necessary details in the required fields.
  • Click the Request project button upon completion.

4. Approval Process:

  • Your project request will undergo a review cycle.
  • Await an email notification regarding the approval decision.

5. Post-Approval Actions:

Once approved and the project is set up, you can:

  • Add or remove users and Proxies (Co-PIs).
  • Request additional allocations.
  • Edit project information.

Your project will have a corresponding Unix group with the same name for member access.

6. Storage Requests:

For storage requests exceeding 1TB, provide a justification.

Join an Existing LCRC Project

Who Can Join?

Anyone with a new or existing LCRC account can request to join an existing project.

If you are an Argonne employee, you should first join the lcrc project. However, if you are a collaborator, you will need to join a sub-project of LCRC.

Steps to Join a Project

1. Contact the Project PI:

For collaborators, if you already know the project PI within LCRC that you wish to join, contact them directly and request them to add you to the project.

2. Self-Initiate Membership:

If you'd like to send a request to the project PI:

a. Access LCRC Accounts:

b. Locate Join Project:

  • Click on the Join Project option on the left sidebar.

Join Project

c. Search for the Project:

  • Enter the name of the project you wish to join in the search box.

Join Project Search

  • The list will update to display projects matching your search term.

d. Request Membership:

  • Click on the desired project name from the list.
  • Then click on the Request Membership button.

Request Membership

3. Approval:

After the project owner approves your membership request, you'll have access to use the project hours for your tasks.

Managing Your LCRC Project

If you hold the role of a Project Owner (PI) or a Proxy (Co-PI), you're empowered to manage and tailor your LCRC project. Follow this structured guide:

1. Access the LCRC Account Page:

2. Find Your Project:

  • Go to Projects > Owned on the left sidebar.
  • Select the project you'd like to oversee.

3. Project Management Options:

Within the project management dashboard, you can:

  • Add or remove project members.
  • Handle pending membership requests.
  • Designate or exclude Proxies (Co-PIs).
  • Seek more project allocations or storage.
  • Update project information.

4. Save Your Adjustments:

  • Remember to hit the Save Project info button post-modifications.

For support or inquiries, email [email protected].

Mid-Quarter Allocations


Mid-Quarter Allocations can be granted for LCRC projects after not previously requesting time or exhausting a current allocation. Principal Investigators (PIs) need to understand the guidelines and requirements for requesting additional computational resources.

Allocation Planning and Timing

  • Mid-quarter allocations are made only once per project per quarter.
  • PIs should ensure their allocated hours last the entire quarter.
  • LCRC reviews mid-quarter allocation requests once a week.

How to Request Additional Allocations

  1. Check Current Usage: Verify usage of allocated resources using sbank-list-allocations -p <project_name> on Improv/Bebop; lcrc-usage <project_name> Swing.
  2. Prepare Documentation: Justify core-hour requirements, guided by the Sample Project Request PDF.
  3. Special Criteria for Large Requests: Provide scaling results for requests exceeding 100K core-hours (781 node hours).
  4. Request Time: Request the additional hours following our Managing Your LCRC Project documentation above.

    Note: Requests with incomplete or unclear information may result in a delay of up to two weeks in the decision-making process.

Allocation Limits and Calculation Examples

  • Maximum request: 250K core-hours (2,000 node-hours on Improv) or half of the initial allocation, whichever is less.
  • This amount is pro-rated based on the remaining time in the quarter.


  1. Initial Allocation of 600K Core-Hours: If you request an additional 500K core-hours 6 weeks into a 12-week quarter, you may be granted up to 125K additional core-hours. This is calculated as half of the maximum requestable amount, since half the quarter has passed (250K * 6/12).

  2. Initial Allocation of 200K Core-Hours: If you request an additional 300K core-hours after 7 weeks into the quarter, the maximum you may receive is approximately 58K additional core-hours. This is calculated by taking half of the initial allocation, prorated for the remaining 5 weeks of the quarter (200K * 0.5 * 5/12).

Other Important Notes

  • No allocations are made within two weeks before the quarter's end
  • Project renewals are at the start of the fiscal year.
  • Failing to renew before the allocation deadline results in postponement to the following quarter (Q2 onwards).
  • For large core-hour needs or high usage rates, consider applying through the Director's Discretionary Allocation Program in ALCF.