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Account Policies

There are a number of policies which apply to NERSC users. These policies originate from a number of sources, such as DOE regulations and DOE and NERSC management.

User Account Ownership, Password, and MFA Policies

A user is given a username (also known as a login name) and creates a password and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) token that enable them to access NERSC resources. This username and its associated password and MFA may be used by a single individual only.

Passwords may not be shared, and must be created or changed using specified rules. See NERSC Passwords for more information.

Likewise, MFA tokens must be kept secure and may not be shared with other users.

NERSC will disable a user who shares any one of their passwords with another person. If a person authenticating to a username is not the one who is officially registered with NERSC as the owner of that username, then "sharing" has occurred and all usernames associated with the owner of the shared username will be disabled.

If a user is disabled due to account sharing, the PI or an authorized project manager must send a memo to explaining why the sharing occurred and assuring that it will not occur again. NERSC will then determine if the user should be re-enabled.

The computer use policies and security rules that apply to all users of NERSC resources are listed in the Appropriate Use Policy form.

Security Incidents

If you think there has been a computer security incident you should contact NERSC Security as soon as possible at

Please save any evidence of the break-in and include as many details as possible in your communication with us.

Account Lifecycle

Account Creation

An account begins with a request for a new account. Account requests must be associated with a project.

Once the account request is received, NERSC vets the prospective user. This process generally takes less than a week, though it could take longer in some cases.

Following NERSC's vetting, the project PI must approve the user to join the requested project. After that, the account is ready for the user to set their new password and set up multi-factor authentication.

Account Continuation

NERSC accounts are tied to project allocations. For an account to remain active, it must be associated with an active project. In addition, the user of the account must agree to the NERSC Appropriate Use Policy and Code of Conduct. These documents are periodically updated and users must accept the new terms to continue using NERSC resources.

Account Deactivation

There are several ways that an account could become deactivated.

  • Allocation-year discontinuation: If a PI does not elect to continue a user in their renewed project in the new allocation year, and that user is not a member of another active project in the new allocation year, then the user account will be discontinued at the start of the new allocation year.
  • User-initiated: A user who wants to close their account can do so in Iris or by emailing NERSC account support at with their request to deactivate their account.
  • PI-initiated: A PI may remove a user from their project during the allocation year. If the user is not a member of another project, their account would no longer be associated with an active project, and the account would become deactivated.
  • Policy Agreement expiration: Periodically, NERSC may update its Appropriate Use Policy and Code of Conduct. Users who do not attest to the new policies may have their accounts deactivated after the deadline to accept the new policies passes.
  • Security deactivation: If a user violates NERSC security policy or for other security-related reasons, NERSC may deactivate a user account.

Account Deactivation Process

In the case of allocation-year discontinuation, there is a 14-day period during which the user can still log onto computational systems but cannot submit jobs. The user account then enters a 60-day "data-access only" state, in which the user can log into NERSC's data transfer nodes and HPSS, in order to retrieve data. Following that period, the account becomes "expired", and after 30 more days, the account is deactivated and its password and MFA token are deleted.

PI-initiated deactivations result in the account immediately entering a 60-day "data-access only" state, followed by a 30-day "expiration" state, and then full deactivation.

User-initiated and policy agreement expiration deactivations immediately deactivate the user account; the password and MFA token(s) associated with the account are deleted.

In the case of a security deactivation, the user account state immediately skips to full deactivation, and the password and MFA token(s) associated with that account are deleted.

Acknowledge use of NERSC resources

Please acknowledge NERSC in your publications, for example:

This research used resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.