You are here

Getting Started on the National Systems QuickStart Guide

Table of Contents

Intended Purpose and Usage of System

Compute Canada's national platform of Advanced Research Computing (ARC) resources offer expandable and modern data centres with highly qualified personnel. The systems are for high performance computing, storage and data analysis beyond what you can accomplish using a standard desktop or laptop computer.

 The facilities provided by Compute Canada and the regional organizations, including WestGrid, are distributed among several resource provider sites, with some specialization at each site. All sites are connected by high-performance networks so that users can access the system which best fits their needs, regardless of where it is physically located. Operations of the national systems are delivered through distributed teams which draw upon regional and local expertise distributed across Canada.

Request For Access 

To use the national systems and services you must apply for a Compute Canada account. Click HERE for more details on how to Apply for an Account. NOTE: To access the Compute Canada Cloud (CC-Cloud) Arbutus, you will need to request a cloud account via email to (after you have a CCDB account). 

Connecting and Logging In 

You can SSH to the new servers using the following login nodes: 


** Note: You will need to use your Compute Canada username and password to login (the same credentials you use for the CCDB). Your password to log in to all new national systems are the same one you use to log in to Your username will be displayed at the top of your home page at once you've logged in there.

If you have troubles logging in or have forgotten your Compute Canada username or password, contact

Cloud Systems

To access the Compute Canada Cloud (CC-Cloud) Arbutus, you will need to request a cloud account via email to 

 More information about using the cloud can be found on the CC Docs Wiki HERE.

File Transfer

You can transfer files to and from the new systems using the Globus endpoints:

  • computecanada#cedar-dtn
  • computecanada#graham-dtn
  • computecanada#beluga-dtn
  • computecanada#niagara

Additional Information

How To Use 

The Compute Canada Documentation Wiki will be your go-to reference centre for step-by-step instructions and documentation for:

Getting Help & Reporting Issues 

Contact  to report issues, ask questions or share feedback on the new national systems. 

Systems Status Page

The national systems status page can be viewed here

Training Materials

Mini-Webinars - Intros to the Basics

A series of short webinars (5-10 minutes each) are available for quick and basic overviews of the new systems. These are meant to complement the Documentation Wiki pages, which are more detailed.  

  • Getting an account: If you don’t have a Compute Canada account, you’ll need to register for one to access these new national systems.
  • General info: General information about the new national systems.
  • Getting help: Need help? This short video will show you how and where to get it.
  • Software environment: Learn more about the software environment of the national systems.
  • File systems: Discover the ins and outs of the file systems on the new national systems.
  • Managing jobs: Find out how to manage jobs on the new national systems, including basic slurm commands.
  • Common mistakes to avoid: Save yourself time and discover the most common mistakes to avoid.
  • Accessing the environment: This short video will tell you everything you need to know about accessing the new environment - from login to data transfer.

National Systems Training Archives

The following recordings of previously presented seminars may help you get started on the new systems:

  • Cedar Demonstration (as part of WestGrid July Town Hall)
    (recorded July 2017)
    Members of WestGrid's support team will provide a walk-through demonstration of using Cedar, including instructions for logging in, exploring the file systems, compiling basic programs, working with modules, running jobs via the SLURM scheduler, running interactive jobs, finding documentation and getting help. 
  • How Jobs are Scheduled to Run on Graham & Cedar
    (recorded July 2017)
    This webinar describes the configuration of the new national systems' Slurm scheduler and how it determines how jobs are dispatched to resources. Beyond describing the scheduler configuration, this webinar will also provide recommended best practices when submitting jobs and demonstrate tools for monitoring jobs and the job queue on Graham and Cedar.
  • What's New & Exciting About Graham's GPUs
    (recorded June 2017) 
    SHARCNET presented a webinar outlining the newest and largest SHARCNET cluster and Compute Canada national system, Graham. Among its exciting features is a substantial number (320) of the newest HPC GPUs from NVIDIA, Pascal P100. (The other National Compute Canada cluster, Cedar, has 584 Pascal P100 GPUs.) This was a very significant improvement for SHARCNET users in terms of GPGPU capabilities, both quantitatively (27x more GPU flops than our older GPU cluster, monk) and qualitatively (new GPU capabilities; three generations newer than the monk GPUs). This webinar discusses all the new important features of the Graham GPUs, with a live demonstration. Some minimum familiarity with GPGPU programming (CUDA or OpenCL) is desirable.
Migrating to the New Systems

 If you are currently using a WestGrid system but would like to move your compute and data storage use to a national system, please refer to this General Directives for Migration page on the Documentation Wiki.