Research Computing Policies

The Discovery cluster is a shared resource; the following policies have been created to increase efficiency for the Northeastern research community. Failure to follow Discovery policies could result in your account being revoked and/or disciplinary action by the university. If you have any questions or concerns about these policies, please contact the Research Computing team.



  • While Discovery is available to anyone affiliated with Northeastern University, students must have a faculty sponsor.
  • Every person who uses Discovery must have his or her own account. Get started by visiting our documentation.
  • You must never share your login ID or password with any other person, whether they are affiliated with the university or not.
  • Three general partitions (long, large, and multigpu) have additional access guidelines. See the Partitions page on our documentation site.

Scratch Space

The /scratch space is a shared space. Make sure you are familiar with the following guidelines.

  • Do not store files on /scratch.  
  • Be aware that /scratch is not backed up. Always make sure to have a copy of any file you put on /scratch. 
  • Files are regularly checked for how long they have been on /scratch. All data thirty days old or older will be purged.
  • If your /scratch account has consumed a total of 10,000,000 or more inodes, you will not be able to run any jobs until you reduce the amount of data on /scratch. 
  • If you attempt to avoid your files being purged by modifying file times, such as through touch, your account will be suspended and possibly revoked pending a review by the RC team and the Research Computing Advisory Committee. 



  • Routine maintenance will typically be performed on the first Tuesday of the month.
  • During the maintenance window, you will not be able to run jobs on Discovery. This includes private partitions on Discovery.
  • All routine cluster maintenance, emergency maintenance, and annual shutdown maintenance information will be posted to the IT Statuspage. Please subscribe to ensure you receive updates on the status of all ITS systems. 
  • Additional maintenance details and reminders will be sent via email to all Discovery users.


If you have used the Discovery cluster and/or received assistance from a member of the research computing team, we ask that you include an acknowledgement statement in any publication that details your research, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, dissertations, etc. See the homepage for a list of selected publications that acknowledge Discovery.


Example Acknowledgement Statements:

“This work was completed in part using the Discovery cluster, supported by Northeastern University’s Research Computing team.”

“The authors thank the Northeastern University Research Computing team for their [specify type of support/assistance] that contributed to this paper’s findings.”

“The authors thank [specify staff member’s name and title] of the Northeastern University Research Computing team for [specify type of support/assistance] that contributed to this paper’s findings.”

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