MSI Users Bulletin - September 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 the Help Desk via email at, use the online Support Request Form, or schedule a video consultation.

1. Annual Account Renewal Deadline, Dec 1: The deadline for annual MSI account renewals is December 1. PIs and Group Administrators will receive email notification when the renewal period is open, on or about November 1. Renewals are submitted using the MyMSI portal. Renewal by December 1 ensures continued MSI access through the following calendar year.

This year, changes to our scheduler (see item #2, below) mean that there will be large changes to how we allocate computer time/SUs. We will send more details as we finalize the new procedures.

2. Transition to Slurm: The transition to Slurm from Torque/MOAB is underway. Scale-up testing took place over the summer, and final migration steps began earlier this month. We are planning to transition select services to Slurm on November 1. All systems will be transitioned to Slurm by January 1, 2021. More information will be sent out and posted to the website over the next few months.

3. RIS Databases: The RIS team maintains a handful of databases that are of broad use to researchers. In particular, we prioritize hosting very large databases in order to save valuable group storage space. The databases can be found at /panfs/roc/risdb_new/ and are accessible to all MSI users. A more detailed description of the contents of risdb is available here. Briefly, we house the entirety of the ensembl genomes, excepting bacteria, and many of the NCBI blast databases. The databases are updated yearly (or upon major release schedules). Users needing particular resources that are not available should contact

4. Fall Tutorials: Fall 2020 tutorials begin next month and will be held online. The schedule and streaming details about the individual tutorials are posted to the Events section of the MSI website.

Past tutorials can be viewed on the MSI YouTube channel

5. Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium 2020: The University of Oklahoma is hosting a free symposium on supercomputing on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CDT. This symposium will be entirely streamed online. Link to registration.

6. Mesabi +1: The RFP for our next supercomputing system was released last week. The next system is planned to increase Mangi’s capacity by a factor of four, and will support increased demand for GPUs and larger memory. Expected delivery is Q1 - Q2 2021, but depends on contract negotiations, required facilities work, etc. 

7. HIPAA Cluster: We are beginning purchases for the new HIPAA cluster. Further information will be sent out and posted to the MSI website as it becomes available.

8. MSI Operations During COVID-19 Pandemic: In accordance with University directives, MSI staff are continuing to work from home. All MSI systems continue to be operational and can be accessed remotely. You can contact the MSI Help Desk for assistance by using the online Support Request Form, requesting a video consultation, or emailing

9. Requesting MSI Resources for COVID-19 Research: 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 withCOVID-19 Research” in the subject line.

10. U-Spatial Mapping Prizes: The winners of U-Spatial’s 2020 Mapping Prize contest are posted on their website.

11. 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. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DASH has suspended the monthly sessions of Programming and Pizza. However, you can still sign up for a one-to-one consultation held virtually. Email with “Programming & Pizza” in the subject line, and share a bit about your research question. DASH will do their best to match you with a programmer.

12. Jobs at MSI:

13. 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