New site features additional functionality, more administrative control

In the past, users of the supercomputing resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) have accessed information about their computing projects through a static portal that provides metrics and statistics upon login. Although this information is helpful from a reporting perspective, users have been unable to control certain aspects of their projects through this portal—until now.

A team led by Adam Carlyle, Group Leader for the Application Development and User Access Group in the National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS), has designed myOLCF, a dynamic new user portal launched this month that takes user oversight to the next level.

“We’ve been thinking about doing this for a while, and we really believe this is going to have a lot more functionality than the old portal,” Carlyle said.

The new myOLCF user portal gives the PI on a particular computing project more control over administrative aspects of the project. Image Credit: Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, ORNL

The new portal gives the principal investigator (PI) on a particular computing project more control over administrative aspects of the project. On the new site, responsibility for a section called “Approvals” falls on the PIs, who can see requests from end users to join their projects as well as interact with those requests, replacing cumbersome email threads back and forth with the Application Development and User Access Group.

Additionally, the site can pull information from a PI’s previous applications within the OLCF’s databases and preload renewal forms, eliminating the need for PIs to fill out new application forms each time they need to renew their projects.

Another new feature is the use of role-based permissions, which will let PIs delegate user roles and give certain users more or less access to application features.

“Right now, the roles are ‘owner’ and ‘member,’ but we also anticipate adding ‘guest’ as a role,” Carlyle said. “These role-based authorizations will be beneficial for collaborations between PIs and interested parties. They also allow PIs to delegate administrative duties to members of their teams.”

The portal also has a feature that users have long awaited: an application status hub. Users can now plug in confirmation numbers they receive when they apply for projects and check the status of their applications.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback over the years that users are in the dark when they apply to projects online,” Carlyle said. “This will let them check on their application and determine which steps still need to be completed—whether it be the user getting PI approval or us receiving the user agreement form from the institution.”

The team designed some of the tools in myOLCF after receiving user requests; they added others to boost efficiency. The group will continue to add tools on a regular basis, Carlyle said.

“The largest difference between this new user portal and the old one is that this is a very dynamic site,” Carlyle said. “We plan to keep this updated as we find new areas to address to better serve our user community.”

High-performance computing software engineers Aaron Barlow, Preston Shires, and Scott Simmerman, all in Carlyle’s group, contributed to the myOLCF development effort.

The OLCF is a US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility located in NCCS at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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