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Project-Centric Work Directories

See this article in context within the following user guides: Data | Eos | Rhea | Titan

To provide projects and project members with high-performance storage areas that are accessible to batch jobs, projects are given (3) distinct project-centric work (i.e., scratch) storage areas within Spider, the OLCF’s center-wide Lustre® filesystem.

Three Project Work Areas to Facilitate Collaboration

To facilitate collaboration among researchers, the OLCF provides (3) distinct types of project-centric work storage areas: Member Work directories, Project Work directories, and World Work directories. Each directory should be used for storing files generated by computationally-intensive HPC jobs related to a project.

The difference between the three lies in the accessibility of the data to project members and to researchers outside of the project. Member Work directories are accessible only by an individual project member by default. Project Work directories are accessible by all project members. World Work directories are readable by any user on the system.


Paths to the various project-centric work storage areas are simplified by the use of environment variables that point to the proper directory on a per-user basis:

  • Member Work Directory: $MEMBERWORK/[projid]
  • Project Work Directory: $PROJWORK/[projid]
  • World Work Directory: $WORLDWORK/[projid]

Environment variables provide operational staff (aka “us”) flexibility in the exact implementation of underlying directory paths, and provide researchers (aka “you”) with consistency over the long-term. For these reasons, we highly recommend the use of these environment variables for all scripted commands involving work directories.


UNIX Permissions on each project-centric work storage area differ according to the area’s intended collaborative use. Under this setup, the process of sharing data with other researchers amounts to simply ensuring that the data resides in the proper work directory.

  • Member Work Directory: 700
  • Project Work Directory: 770
  • World Work Directory: 775

For example, if you have data that must be restricted only to yourself, keep them in your Member Work directory for that project (and leave the default permissions unchanged). If you have data that you intend to share with researchers within your project, keep them in the project’s Project Work directory. If you have data that you intend to share with researchers outside of a project, keep them in the project’s World Work directory.


Soft quotas are enforced on project-centric work directories. The current limit is shown on the Storage Policy page. To request an increased quota, contact the User Assistance Center.


Member Work, Project Work, and World Work directories are not backed up. Project members are responsible for backing up these files, either to Project Archive areas (HPSS) or to an off-site location.