Frequently Asked Questions about the CCDB

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CCDBCompute Canada Data Base basics

What does CCDBCompute Canada Data Base stand for?

Compute Canada DataBase. It is a database of researchers who wish to use the Advanced Research Computing (ARC) facilities provided by the Compute Canada Federation (CCF).

What is the purpose of the CCDBCompute Canada Data Base?

The Compute Canada Federation has four regional partners providing ARC facilities in Canada: ACENET, Calcul Québec, Compute Ontario and WestGrid. All are funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFICanada Foundation for Innovation). CFICanada Foundation for Innovation expects the consortia to work together to provide researchers access to the computing power they need. To do this, and to make it easier for users to gain access to computing facilities across Canada, we have set up the CCDBCompute Canada Data Base. The CCDB web site provides one access point for all the Compute Canada Federation facilities.

What can I do on the portal?

  • register
  • manage personal information and roles
  • link to consortium sites to apply for accounts
  • apply for the Resource Allocations Competitions (RAC)
  • manage RAP information and membership

What is a CCI and why would I want one?

A Compute Canada Identifier (CCI) is a unique personal and national identifier. This is the identity you are required to bring to any of the regional ARC consortia when you apply for a local account. Your CCI is different from the local usernames given to you by the regional consortia. When you register at https://ccdb.computecanada.ca a CCI is created for you.

Who is eligible to get a CCI?

In order to register with the CCDBCompute Canada Data Base you must

  • be a faculty member at a Canadian institution that is registered with the CCDBCompute Canada Data Base, or
  • be sponsored by a faculty member at a Canadian institution that is registered with the CCDBCompute Canada Data Base.

People who can be sponsored include, but is not limited to, graduate students and research staff that report to the sponsoring faculty member.

What is a role?

A role is an identifier that represents the combination of a person's position (e.g., faculty, graduate student, postdoctoral fellow, etc.), institution, and sponsor. In order to access Compute Canada resources one must have a valid and up-to-date role. A Compute Canada Role Identifier (CCRI) is associated with each role and uniquely identifies it. Most people will only have one role at a time, but when you change institution, sponsor, or position you will need to apply for a new role rather than update the old one. We ask you to do this so we can maintain accurate records for usage reporting to our governmental funding agencies.

What is a CCRI?

Your CCRI is the unique identifier for your role (see "What is a Role?"). Since one person may have multiple roles over time, one CCI may be associated with more than one CCRI. Every job that runs on a Compute Canada ARC system is attributed to a CCRI.

What is a RAP?

Compute Canada resources are made available to PIs through Resource Allocation Projects (RAP). Researchers are usually working on at least one research project. For reporting purposes, we need to be able to provide statistics on how our facilities are used, but the word “project” is too ambiguous, therefore we use a name which does not have any implicit meanings. Also, computing resources are not allocated to individuals, they are allocated to groups of researchers. The RAP is the group of researchers which resources are allocated to.

In general, there are two main types to RAPs:

  • Default RAP: A default RAP is automatically created when a PI role is activated. Default and Rapid Access Service quotas for storage and cloud resources are managed via this default RAP. The Default RAP allows PIs and sponsored users to make opportunistic user of compute resources with the default (that is, the lowest) priority. On CCDBCompute Canada Data Base, it uses the convention def-username.
  • RAC RAP: This RAP is created when the PI receives an award through any of the Resource Allocation Competitions. On CCDBCompute Canada Data Base, it uses the convention rrg-username-xx or rpp-username-xx, depending on the competition.

Registering for an account

I had an account in the past, but my position or sponsor has changed or I have lost my password. Should I sign up for a new one?

It is Compute Canada policy that each person only have one account (CCI). Requests for duplicate CCI's are refused. If you have an existing CCI and have changed position you should apply for a new role (CCRI) instead. To do so, please log in with your existing account and visit the apply for a new role form. If you have forgotten your password, you may reset it. If you can no longer access the email address you have on file please email accounts@computecanada.ca and we can update it for you.

How do I sign up?

Go to the register link. Note that you will have to accept the following policies and agreements to get an account:

  • Terms of Use [1]
  • Privacy and data protection policy [2]
  • Consent to Collect, Use and Disclose Personal Information

Once your account has been approved, you will be able to see at any time on CCDBCompute Canada Data Base the agreements that you have accepted by going to My Account / Agreements [3]

What position do I select when applying for a role?

There are two main types of roles:

  • sponsor roles, often referred to as Primary Investigators or PIs, and
  • sponsored roles.

Only faculty members can be sponsors. Administrators who are not faculty but who lead research projects must contact accounts@computecanada.ca so that we can make appropriate accommodations. Faculty roles are only granted to faculty from Canadian post-secondary academic institutions who are eligible for CFICanada Foundation for Innovation funding.

Sponsored roles fall into two groups: internal and external. The difference is in whether the applicant is part of the supervisors local group, or a collaborator from a different institution. Available roles are:

  • students: undergraduate, masters, doctoral;
  • researchers affiliated with the same institution as the PI: post-doctoral fellow, researcher (but only if the person is paid by the PI's institution);
  • non-research staff (e.g. administrators, secretaries, etc.—people who do not typically need access to compute resources);
  • collaborators affiliated with a different institution than the PI: external collaborator.

An external collaborator is anyone working with the group whom the PI is willing to sponsor. Note however that external collaborators must specify an institution different from that of the PI.

What happens after I submit my request?

You will receive an e-mail with a link to confirm the e-mail address you provided. If you are a principal investigator (typically, a faculty member), your application will be approved by consortium staff. Otherwise your application will need to be confirmed by the principal investigator you identified as your sponsor before it is approved by consortium staff.

How do I get an account at a consortium?

Click on Local Accounts and it will give you a list of the consortia with links to click on to get an account at that consortium. Note that consortium or local accounts are needed only to log in to our legacy systems. Users can log in to any of the new national systems with their Compute Canada credentials.

How to manage RAP memberships

All of a PI's activated sponsored user roles are always members of the PI's default RAP. That is, confirming sponsorship of a user, confers on them membership in a PI's default RAP. However, a PI can at any time deactivate any role they sponsor.

Membership in any of a PI's RAC RAPs can be modified. By default when a new RAC RAP is created for a PI, all of their sponsored user roles will be originally set up as members of this RAP.

But the PI can change this. The PI may want to allow access to user roles they are not sponsoring (i.e. a co-PI). A PI may also want to remove one or more of their sponsored user roles from their RAC RAP and limit them to only be able to access their default RAP.

A PI can manage RAC RAP memberships at any time on CCDBCompute Canada Data Base by adding or removing user roles from their RAP. There are three RAP membership permission levels:

  • Owner: the PI is the sole owner of the RAP and all the allocations associated to that RAP. This cannot be changed. The Owner can add or remove RAP managers and members.
  • Manager: the Owner or any manager of a RAP can give manager permissions for that RAP to any of its members. Similarly, they can remove manager permissions from any member.
  • Member: the Owner or any Manager of a RAP can add any CCDBCompute Canada Data Base role as a member of a RAC project. Similarly, they can remove the membership of any role.

RAP membership is represented as a group in LDAP. It defines a group of users that are authorized to submit jobs against the RAPI (which is the Id of the RAP) and share files within the same Unix group.

Further Help

How can I get help for something not covered in this FAQ?

For any questions not covered here, send email to accounts@computecanada.ca.