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Transitioning from the Shared Cluster to Unity

Last updated: 21 April 2023

It is our pleasure to welcome you to Unity, a high performance computing cluster located at MGHPCC and managed by UMass Amherst Research Computing. We understand that migrating your work may be stressful and we want to make it as smooth as possible. Please see below for important dates and information to guide your transition to Unity.

For questions about the Unity transition, please attend our onboarding sessions or contact the Unity help desk at

In addition, we have created a new Unity User Community. Please sign up with your school email here. If you’re unable to register with your school email, please contact with your preferred email address and we’ll send you a direct invite.

Once you’ve signed up, you can access the community here.

Account Information

PI & Faculty Accounts

PIs and faculty can request Unity cluster PI accounts in the Unity Portal. On the left side bar, select “Login / Request Account” and log in with your UMass Lowell credentials. Once logged in, under “Account Settings,” click the “Request PI Account” button. The Unity team will review your request and approve your PI account.

Student & Postdoc Accounts

Students request access to PI groups by logging into the Unity Portal, navigating to “My PIs,” and clicking the “plus” button to search for your group. Students and postdocs can’t access Unity without an associated PI, so please ensure the PI account is created and approved before requesting an account.

Timeline Overview

Migrating Data to Unity (deadline: May 15, 2023)

All data must be migrated to Unity by May 15, 2023. PIs will temporarily receive sufficient storage in the /project directory to move as much data from the shared cluster as desired. However, storage quotas will be enforced starting January 2024. Users may purchase additional storage at that time.

Shared Cluster Shutdown (read-only: May 1, 2023, final shutdown: June 1, 2023)

The Shared Cluster will be turned off permanently on June 1, 2023. However, the cluster will become read-only ahead of the shutdown on May 1, 2023. While you will be able to continue transferring data, you will no longer be able to run jobs or create new files.

Onboarding Live Sessions

To ensure a smooth transition from the Shared Cluster to Unity, we held two online workshops on accessing Unity, data transfer and storage, and running jobs. Links to the recordings and slides follow each workshop description.

Unity Onboarding Workshop Part 1: Access and Data Storage (March 31, 2023)

Friday, March 31, 2023, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm (time for questions following) We provided an overview of Unity in comparison to the Shared cluster, explained the account request process for PIs/faculty and students/postdocs, and discussed storage on Unity and data transfer options.

Recording link Slides link

Unity Onboarding Workshop Part 2: Running Jobs (April 14, 2023)

Friday, April 14, 2023, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm (time for questions following) We discussed the differences between the Shared Cluster’s LSF scheduler and Unity’s Slurm scheduler, introduced Unity’s partition layout, showed example Slurm jobs, and demonstrated Unity’s Open OnDemand portal.

Recording link Slides link

Technical Information

Data Transfer

For information about moving data to Unity, see our file transfer documentation. Please give yourself ample time to move your data ahead of the May 1, 2023 read-only freeze.

Job Scheduler

While the Shared Cluster uses LSF to allocate resources, Unity uses the Slurm scheduler. See this quick reference page for a comparison between LSF and Slurm options.

A full list of Slurm commands and their equivalents can be found in this PDF.