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Getting started at CARC

What is high performance computing (HPC)?

HPC refers to the use of many individual computers, aka "nodes," working in parallel via special high-speed networks to tackle computational problems that are too large or would take too long for a typical personal computer to do. Fundamentally, the hardware involved in HPC is not much different from that found in a regular desktop computer, they consist of CPU(s), memory, storage and networking. But unlike desktop PCs, which present a graphical user interface (GUI) to the user, HPC resources are focused on the batch processing of computationally demanding tasks, and so usually only have a command line interface. Furthermore, since HPC resources typically have many users, fair allocation of the compute resources is provided with job queueing software. For a more detailed explanation of what HPC is, please visit this article from insideHPC.

What is research computing?

Research computing is the implementation of HPC to aid in computationally intensive tasks in science. Multiple departments across the University of New Mexico use the computational resources at CARC to further research. Whether assembling genomes, modeling bio-chemical pathways, or simulating wind farms, CARC plays a critical role in aiding researchers in their computational needs.

Getting started at CARC

All computational researchers (faculty, students, and staff) affiliated with the University are encouraged to take advantage of the Center's resources in order to advance their research. Two key steps are needed in order to begin using Center supercomputers, clusters, or research storage systems. The first is the completion of an online Project request by a faculty member (PI).  

To access CARC resources, you must be part of a Project. Students, staff, faculty, and even outside collaborators can have user accounts. However, user accounts must be associated with a CARC Project, typically led by a UNM faculty member. Projects are led by UNM faculty/staff (not students). If you are a graduate student interested in computing, your advisor may already have a Project, but if not, they will need to apply for one. As a faculty member/staff interested in beginning a Project, please visit our Project request page for instructions and online application. Projects can have multiple user accounts associated with them, including an account for the PI if they intend to log in and work on the machines associated with a Project. Resources used will be accounted to the project in monthly reports.

Once your Project has been approved, the second step is to obtain login credentials with a user account with our online Account request form. Each Account request will trigger an email to the Project PI requesting yes/no authorization to create the account.  Once approved by the PI, CARC technical staff will create the account and notify the user to pick up their login and password information in person at the Center. This will require a UNM or other official ID.

Once you have obtained login information for your account you are ready to start using CARC resources for your research. Please refer to our "Using CARC systems" pages under the "User Support" menu, which provide brief technical summaries to assist users in accessing and using CARC resources.

If you require additional assistance or have a question not covered by those pages, please submit a help request to or via the web form. (Web form may not work in Chrome.)

The Center offers an Introdcution toComputing at CARC workshop on a rolling basis, based on user demand. See Education & Training at CARC for upcoming dates and to register. 

Note: The U.S. Government controls exports of sensitive equipment, software and technology as a means to promote U.S. national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Please see the Export Control page for relevant CARC policies and procedures. 

In addition, HIPAA, PHI, PCI, and FERPA data may not be stored on or transferred via CARC systems.