Messages & Announcements

  • 2010-10-25:  Prairiefire, Merritt and Firefly: offline due to a possible security exploit
    Category:  General Announcement

    Prairiefire, Merritt and Firefly were taken offline on Saturday (October 23, 2010) due to a vulnerability in GNU libc.

    Prairiefire, Merritt and Firefly were taken offline on Saturday (October 23, 2010) due to a vulnerability in GNU libc.

    We have taken preemptive measures by terminating and disabling login (SSH) session to these clusters. Jobs that were submitted will continue to run. We will reenable logins as soon as we receive a patch from our software vendor.

  • 2010-09-21:  PrairieFire available
    Category:  Maintenance

    PrairieFire has been upgraded to a new distribution and kernel, and is again available for use.

    PrairieFire has been upgraded to CentOS 5.5, including an updated kernel. Jobs submitted before the security incident should be unaffected and continue to run to completion. With any system upgrade, there may be compatibility issues, but codes tested so far have been unaffected. Please contact if you have any difficulty.

    Best regards,
    David Swanson
    Director, HCC

  • 2010-09-21:  Firefly, PrairieFire and Merritt back up.
    Category:  Maintenance

    Firefly, PrairieFire and Merritt are back up and available.

    A login account on HCC machines was compromised on the evening of September 20, 2010. It appears that the damage was limited due to alert and quick action by HCC staff.

    We are taking preemptive measures to mitigate further and future compromises.
    1) Your .ssh directory in your home has been moved to .ssh-old-20100921. This is to prevent potential unauthorized access to the HCC systems using
    passwordless ssh connections.
    2) We are implementing stronger password policies. Passwords need to be at
    least 8 characters long and must have 1 digit and 1 uppercase character.
    3) We have changed all passwords. Your new password will be emailed to you in a separate email. This password will work on all HCC managed clusters. Please change this immediately after logging on! Please run the "passwd" command. We strongly urge you not to share your password with anyone including your colleagues.
    4) We have locked all accounts that have been dormant for more than 1 year. These accounts are not deleted, and can be opened if needed.

    If you had submitted jobs to Firefly, Prairiefire or Merritt before this
    incident, your jobs most likely survived. However, please check on your jobs.

    If you have questions related to the HCC clusters, please contact us at or stop by one of our locations.

    Best wishes,
    David Swanson
    Director, HCC

  • 2010-09-27:  PrairieFire: /work deletions needed (again)
    Category:  General Announcement

    PrairieFire only: usage of the shared /work filesystem is nearing capacity. Users are requested to make voluntary deletions of unneeded files. HCC Staff will be required to make deletions if space is not freed up soon. A recent request resulted in enough space being freed up until this time. Thank you! We're back to the same situation.

    Due to space becoming limited on /work on PrairieFire, deletions of files will begin soon. The group with largest usage will be selected first, and the oldest files owned by that group will be deleted first. This will be repeated until usage is reduced to a manageable amount. It is preferred that this be done voluntarily, but the first priority is to provide space for new work. /work is not for long-term archiving or precious files. If you wish to acquire storage space for your group, contact David Swanson (

  • 2010-09-08:  Firefly: Unplanned partial shutdown 9/9/10
    Category:  Maintenance

    A remodeling job will begin tomorrow morning at PKI which will force at least a partial shutdown of the Firefly cluster. Further details will be added to the web site.

    David Swanson

    Significant remodeling work required to upgrade the condition of a conference room at PKI will impact the adjacent machine room that houses Firefly. It is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning, Thursday, 9/9/10. The time frame of this project is up to 2 weeks, although it is hoped it will be shorter. The best case scenario is that we will be able to maintain operation of roughly 75% of the cluster during this process, but that will have to be verified as work proceeds. Further details will be posted here as information becomes available.