About the CISM - the CÉCI

The CISM is the platform for supercomputing a UCLouvain. The initials “CISM” stand for “Calcul Intensif et Stockage de Masse”, or high-performance computing and mass storage. It was created in 2004 at UCLouvain by the users of the HPC facilities coming from different Departments in the University. The CISM operates the scientific computing clusters and the scientific data storage systems installed at UCLouvain, organizes and delivers training sessions about HPC targeted at researchers and offers consultancy and expertise in code porting, optimization, compilation, etc.

The CISM is a team of 5 people all specialized in high-peformance computing and/or mass storage. See the list here.

Users can get involved by representing their colleagues at the Board, or Comité des Utilisateurs (CUCISM) in French. The CUCISM gathers approximately 5 times a year to make decisions about daily management of the clusters as well as long-term infrastructure planning. Middle and long term strategic decisions are made inside a management comity, or “Comité de Gestion” (CGCISM), where each involved institute is represented. CGCISM gathers approximately 2 times a year.

The CISM is part of a consortium gathering the other French-speaking universities, the CÉCI.

The name “CÉCI” is an acronym for “Consortium des Équipements de Calcul Intensif”, which can be translated as “Consortium of Supercomputing Facilities”.

On Nov. 9th 2010, the Rectors of the five French-speaking unversities in Belgium signed the Agreement that gave birth to the CÉCI, as a means to share HPC facilities and resources, and mutualize HPC kow-how and expertise among the universities. The CÉCI is supported by the F.R.S-FNRS and enables all researchers from Wallonia and Brussels with access to high-performance computing clusters, high-level training, and expert advice in the field of supercomputing.

Current partners include Université catholique de Louvain / CISM, Université Libre de Bruxelles / Hydra, Université de Namur / PTCI, Université de Mons / LPSI , CMN and INFO, and Université de Liège / SEGI

See the CÉCI website at www.ceci-hpc.be.

How to create an account

Depending on the resources you want to access, you will need either a CISM account, or a CÉCI account. You can of course request both. Clusters are accessed with a CÉCI account while interactive machines, the mass storage systems, and the other services: SSH gateways, SAS servers, etc.. are accessed with a CISM account.

The CISM account

Access to the CISM infrastructure is granted to all UCLouvain researchers and their collaborators. Requesting a CISM account is quite simple. Nevertheless, some rules apply, which are described below. Access to the SMCS (interactive servers for statistical software) infrastructure is subject to approval from the SMCS managers.


The CISM account can be requested by following the procedure described in the document Login creation howto. If you know how to proceed, go directly to the CISM login creation page.

Note that access to that web page is restricted based on your location. If you see a message stating “Sorry, creating a CISM account is not possible from your current location ...” please contact the CISM team to find a solution. The error page mentions your IP address ; make sure to include that information in your email.

In case you already have a CISM account, you can go around that restriction ; use gwcism.cism.ucl.ac.be and run Firefox there.

ssh -f -X gwcism.cism.ucl.ac.be firefox -no-remote

Accounts expire every year ; the procedure to renew them is exactly similar to the one followed to create them in the first place. Make sure to use the same email address. If your email address changed, please choose the corresponding option when renewing your account.

Note that we do not store your passwords in plain text, rather in hashed form. That means we are able to check that the password you provide when you connect is correct, but we are not able to give it back to you. In case you forget your password, you simply need to go back to http://login.cism.ucl.ac.be/ and follow the same instructions as when you created your account. Just make sure to give the exact same email address each time and your existing account will be updated with the new information and choose option “reset my password”.

The CÉCI account

Access to the CÉCI clusters (shared among participating universities) is granted automatically to holders of a university email address. The same rules apply for all CÉCI cluster irrespective of which university hosts them.


The CÉCI account can be requested by following the procedure described here. If you know how to proceed, go directly to the CÉCI login creation page.

Note that here again, you need to be connected to the network of a CÉCI university to access those pages. Creating an account from home is not possible except through an SSH gateway.

Accounts expire every year ; the procedure to renew them is exactly similar to the one followed to create them in the first place. Just make sure to use the “Renew account” option and the exact same email address as the one used to create the account in the first place.

For any additional information about the CÉCI accounts please refer to www.ceci-hpc.be.

The conditions

Access is granted once the account is created, provided the user agrees to the following rules.

First of all the rules enacted by the university concerning the use of computer hardware apply to all CISM machines.

Rules governing the use of the clusters:

  • access (login creation) is free;
  • cpu time and disk space is free for small usage but is billable for large usage
  • cpu time and disk space is charged to the ‘Pôles’ according to fees decided by the ‘Comité de Gestion’
  • the ‘Comité de Gestion’ gathers one representative from each participating Institute
  • decisions about the configurations and policies are made by the ‘Comité des Utilisateurs’
  • the ‘Comité des Utilisateurs’ gathers one representative from each participating Pôle
  • additional rules for other CÉCI clusters may apply
  • users are requested to tag their publications that were made possible thanks to the CISM/CÉCI infrastructure. See Acknowledgements.

The prices for the current year are detailed in section About the cost .

Rules governing the use of mass storage:

  • usage is charged at the end of the year to research groups (‘poles’);
  • users need approval from the head of the research group (‘pole’) who accepts to bear the costs.

The prices for the current year are detailed in section About the costs .

About statistical servers

The statistical servers are managed by the CISM jointly with the SMCS. Consequently,

  • users need approval from the SMCS to be granted access to those servers, and
  • SMCS rules apply


Acknowledge the use of the CISM/CECI infrastructure in your publications with the following sentence: “Computational resources have been provided by the supercomputing facilities of the Université catholique de Louvain (CISM/UCL) and the Consortium des Équipements de Calcul Intensif en Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles (CÉCI) funded by the Fond de la Recherche Scientifique de Belgique (F.R.S.-FNRS) under convention 2.5020.11 and by the Walloon Region”

If you used Zenobe, do not forget to also acknowledge that.

Besides adding the acknowledgement in your publications, you can help us tremendously when we write our annual report if you tag your publication in Dial with “Internal keywords” (ID Interne institut/pôle in French) CISM and CECI as depicted in the screenshots below.

../../_images/dial.en.png ../../_images/dial.fr.png