MSI Users Bulletin - March 2020

The Users Bulletin provides a summary of new policies, procedures, and events of interest to MSI users. It is published quarterly.

To request technical assistance with your MSI account, please contact contact the Help Desk via email at or use the online Support Request Form.

1. COVID-19 Updates: 

a. MSI staff are working diligently to ensure that systems and services remain largely unchanged by the recently announced steps being taken by the university to mitigate risks to students and staff from the COVID-19 virus. At this time all MSI systems will remain operational and can be accessed remotely as usual. We have suspended walk-in and phone support at the Help Desk, but you can still request help by emailing or by using the online Support Request Form. We will post any changes on the MSI website should they occur. 

b. Are you working on research related to COVID-19? The conditions surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic are changing fast and MSI staff want to do what we can to support and accelerate research and development that is directed toward solutions to this epidemic. If you are engaged in COVID-19 research, please contact us with a synopsis of your research and briefly describe how staff expertise or additional computational and data storage resources can help to advance and accelerate your research. We are working to develop “resource grants” for COVID-19 projects, which might include things like “code/workflow optimization,” “accelerated access to computing,” and “added allocations of storage” for COVID-19 related research. Your feedback will help us figure out how best to proceed. Please email with the subject *COVID-19 Research*.

2. Basic Sciences Computing Laboratory Closure: On April 1, 2020, the Basic Sciences Computing Lab (BSCL) in 1-280 Nils Hasselmo Hall will be closed. The Linux workstations in the BSCL are old and at the end of life. MSI is repurposing the space for a new protected data compute cluster (HIPAA Cluster) and will begin retrofitting the room for this cluster in mid-April 2020. On April 1, users’ U Card access to this space will be terminated.

MSI is continuing to support and maintain its computer lab in 575 Walter Library. MSI has installed new Linux workstations in this lab. Users are welcome to use these more modern systems whenever an MSI tutorial is not in session. MSI is also expanding and improving our data center resources that are designed to remotely support graphics-intensive activities.

If you have any questions, contact the Help Desk via email at or use the online Support Request Form.

3. Using Mangi:

a. Mangi, the new cluster that expanded Mesabi, runs a wider variety of jobs. For shorter wait times, you should use Mangi as your first choice.

b. Unlike Mesabi, Mangi’s SU rates vary by node. Please refer to the Queues information page on the website for a breakdown of the SU rate for each node. These rates will affect how many SUs it will take for your jobs.

4. Research Exhibition 2020: In compliance with the University of Minnesota's direction to cancel all large events through the end of the spring semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic, MSI's annual Research Exhibition will be held as an online event on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. The event schedule and links will be posted on the MSI website as it is finalized.

a. If you would like to participate in the poster competition, your Intent to Participate is due by March 24. Use the Google form to submit your poster information.

A PDF of your poster for judging will be due on April 6.

b. The event will include online presentations by industry representatives about emerging and current HPC technologies, and presentations by MSI staff.

5. Scratch Policy Changes: In January, MSI announced changes to the Global Scratch Storage policies. These changes were necessary to address some performance issues.

Effective April 1, 2020, the default quota on Global Scratch will be reduced to 40 TB and 10,000,000 files. There are a small number of groups that are consistently using more than these amounts and we will work with you to ensure there is a solution for your research needs. Additionally, MSI will review requests for temporary increases of this quota for individual projects on an ongoing basis.

Further information about changes to Global Scratch can be found on the MSI website.

6. 2020 DMD Conference Cancelled: The 2020 Design of Medical Devices Conference, scheduled for April 6-9, 2020, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A one-day DMD 2020 event is being planned for the future, and conference proceedings will still be published that include all the accepted papers. See the DMD Conference website for complete information.

7. U-Spatial Mapping Prize: The U-Spatial Mapping Prize celebrates great design and cartography through maps. There are cash prizes awarded in several categories. The submission deadline for the 2020 prizes is May 15, 2020. Complete information and links to previous winners can be found at the U-Spatial website.

8. Programming and Pizza: Experienced programmers from Libraries, Liberal Arts Technology and Innovation Services, and Research Computing are available to help you out with your programming issues. Programming and Pizza sessions are held monthly at the Wilson Research Collaboration Studio (first floor, Wilson Library). Sessions are free, but you must sign up. The schedule for the spring semester is available on the DASH website. NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the session scheduled for March 27 has been cancelled. Check the website for continuing information.

9. Jobs at MSI:

a. HPC Devops Engineer

b. Bioinformatics Analyst

c. Systems Administrator (multiple positions available)

9. Useful Webpages: Looking for help with using MSI? One of these pages may have the information you need:

a. Services available at MSI

b. Getting Started (includes Quickstart Guides)

c. MSI Systems

d. Systems Status

e. Software at MSI

f. Software License Reservations

g. Help and Documentation

h. MSI Glossary

i. Staff Listing and Areas of Expertise

j. Upcoming Events and Tutorials

k. Proposal Support