General Laboratory Policies

Material on this page is applicable to all systems in MSI laboratories.

Users in all MSI laboratories are expected to comply with MSI's Ethical Guidelines and Workplace Policies.


The default file permissions for the new user are read/write/execute by the user. If a user wishes to set the default file permissions to also be read/execute by the user's group they can change the umask setting in their .bashrc file.

A principal investigator has the right to access data and files in his/her research group. A principal investigator has the right to access data and files in his/her research group. In the event that the P.I. has difficulty doing this, he or she may contact for assistance.

Technical support staff do not read a user's email or files or alter them without the user or PI's permission except in cases of emergency and only within the scope of administrative responsibilities.


In general and except for a few exceptions workstations are for interactive use, and are not available for remote login.

Due to high demand for the workstations you should be courteous and log out of the machine if you are going to be gone longer than a few minutes. However, there are many programs that require a GUI interface to run, which when killed by logging off also stops the job. If this is the case the user must leave a note specifying their name, contact info, and how long the job is expected to run. This will allow other users to know when the machine will be available, and can contact the user in case there is an issue. Also if the job is longer than a few hours, please contact MSI Support about trying to work out other options.

If you forget to log out, or do not leave a note, other users can log you out as needed.

Background Jobs

All background jobs must be submitted through the Portable Batch System (PBS); they will not run on the workstations but on dedicated servers. If your program can only run through a GUI interface, use the isub command detailed in the MSI remote access guide.


Maintaining security is every user's responsibility. MSI prohibits account sharing. All users must have their own accounts and must keep passwords confidential. Shared space is available for collaboration. For information on password requirements and instructions for getting a new password, see the MSI Password Policy.

Home Directories & Group Space

Each MSI group receives a space that is shared between members of that group and each user has a Home Directory within that space when their account is created. The group also receives two directories, shared and public, within their group space for the purposes of sharing files within and outside of group. This area is meant to be used for all your computing needs. 100GB of space is initially allocated for groups including all home directories. Snapshots are enabled for group space, so a previous version of a deleted or corrupted file may be available in ~/.snapshot for several days to a week.

Nightly tape backups are performed for group space, with a copy kept for 30 days after the file is deleted. Offsite backups are stored for disaster recovery. To have files restored from backup tape, email this information:

  • name of file(s) or directories you need to have restored
  • approximate date/time that the file last existed in the desired state
  • approximate date/time that the file was corrupted or removed.

If a file was not captured on the overnight backups, we will not have it on tape, so snapshots will be the only recovery choice.

See MSI's Storage Infrastructure page for more details.


We ask that each research group limit their printing to 200 sheets per month. Printing on both sides of a page is considered a single sheet. Users using excessive printing resources may be charged or may have printing privileges revoked.

Scratch/Temporary Space

Users can create a directory in /scratch for short-term use of large files. Any file not modified in 28 days will be automatically deleted. The /scratch filesystems are not backed up, so any deleted file cannot be recovered. Extensions on this 28-day policy are available on a case-by-case basis; email technical support to request this.

A per-user quota of 1TB is enforced on lab scratch filesystems.

Users are reminded that the 28-day limit on /scratch filesystems applies only to laboratory hardware. The /scratch filesystems on HPC systems are refreshed every 14 days. These filesystems are also excluded from automatic backup procedures.

Temporary directories such as /tmp and /var/tmp are not backed up. Any files stored in these temporary directories may be deleted at any time.