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Eligibility and Conditions of Use

Please note: To get a WestGrid account, researchers must first register in the Compute Canada Database (CCDB) and apply for a WestGrid account from that database. Please refer to our instructions on registering with the CCDB for more details on how to get a WestGrid account. 



WestGrid facilities are designated for Canadian researchers or those collaborating on Canadian research projects. In general, any academic researcher from a Canadian research institution with significant high performance computing requirements to support his or her research may apply for an account on WestGrid.

Faculty members and senior researchers at a Canadian university or research facility are eligible once registered in the CCDB. Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows are eligible but must be sponsored by a faculty member, who must register in the CCDB first.

Permitted Uses

The WestGrid facilities were purchased with funds from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Alberta Science and Research Authority (now the Alberta Research and Innovation Authority) and the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund. These institutions impose limitations on how the facilities may be used. For example, WestGrid resources must be used exclusively for research projects that fit into one of the following categories:

  1. Research projects that are supported by a recognized funding agency
  2. Research projects that are eligible for funding from such an agency
  3. Industrial research projects
  4. Research under contract

WestGrid systems may be used for teaching purposes with some conditions (such as possible limits on the number of cycles available). WestGrid also recognizes the value of collaboration with industry and can accommodate commercial use of our services and resources for a fee (to be negotiated on a case-by-case basis).

Please contact us for more information on using WestGrid for teaching or commercial purposes or for other questions regarding your project's eligibility.


Conditions of Use

Responsible Use of WestGrid Facilities

A user of WestGrid facilities must agree to abide by the following conditions:

  1. The WestGrid facilities are governed by rules set down by the WestGrid Executive Committee and/or the WestGrid Chief Technology Officer. All users must agree to abide by these rules.
  2. A user is responsible for his or her account and all activities that are performed using his or her account.
  3. A user must not make his or her account available to any other user.
  4. Accounts and allocations are to be used exclusively for the purposes and project(s) for which they have been approved.
  5. WestGrid resources are provided for support of research and may not be used for instructional or administrative purposes.
  6. Users will be fair and considerate in their use of WestGrid resources.
  7. When requested, users must provide data that is required by WestGrid for purposes of reporting to the WestGrid funding agencies. This data must be provided in a timely fashion.

Failure to follow these directives may result in users and/or projects losing access to the WestGrid facilities. WestGrid reserves the right to take whatever actions are necessary to identify and resolve suspected abuse of the facilities. For cases not covered by this Conditions of Use statement, the computing policies in effect at the user's home institution shall apply.


Data Storage Policy

Please CLICK HERE to review our Data Storage Policy and Information (including storage allocations and quotas, backups, archives and ownership of data). 


GridCanada Certificates

WestGrid uses X.509 security certificates issued by Grid Canada to authenticate users. A grid certificate is good for one year from the date of issue. You will be sent renewal instructions by email approximately 30 days before your Grid Canada certificate is set to expire.

It is not mandatory for all WestGrid users to have valid grid certificates, however grid-enabled tools such as Globus Online or gcp do require users have a valid grid certificate. Having a grid certificate allows large amounts of data to be more easily moved between WestGrid sites (sometimes up to 10 times faster than other non-grid data transfer methods). For an explanation of certificates and their use in a grid-enabled environment, see the Grid Tools page.

To apply for a new grid certificate, please visit the “Request a Grid Certificate” menu item in the main menu of the WestGrid portal, and follow the instructions. Like your WestGrid password, your grid certificate key and passphrase must be kept secret.

Signed certificates are typically returned within three business days. Grid certificates are preloaded to WestGrid MyProxy server.

If you do not renew an existing certificate you can still continue to use your WestGrid user account without a grid certificate (apart from grid-enabled tools).

If you have any questions, please contact


Sharing Files

Sharing accounts is not permitted, but sharing files is.

If you have a group of users who would like to share files, ask us and we can set up a UNIX group for you.

Each WestGrid account is in its own UNIX group. When another UNIX group is set up and the desired users added to it, you can use standard UNIX commands to make the files you wish to share be owned by that group and permitted to that group. See Using UNIX groups to control file access for information about requesting and using groups.


Shared Account

Sharing WestGrid user accounts is not permitted, but there is a special kind of account which we can set up for projects. Some projects need the ability to allow several users to start jobs in one ID.

A "Shared Account" cannot be logged into by password access at all. Specified users may access the shared account by using ssh and their GridCanada certificate.  If you feel that a shared account is necessary for your project, please write to WestGrid support to discuss it.