Category Archives: Training

Welcome to Advanced Research Computing (ARC)

Providing high performance computing systems and services for Virginia Tech students and faculty

What is ARC?

Advanced Research Computing (ARC) provides centralized research computing infrastructure and support for the Virginia Tech research community. ARC's resources include high-performance computing systems, large-scale data storage, visualization facilities, software, and consulting services, and are available to faculty and students across all disciplines. We welcome researchers of all experience levels.

How can ARC help me achieve my research goals?

ARC's high-performance computing (HPC) systems can help researchers process big data sets, run deep learning applications, conduct visualization, store data sets, and perform other tasks that are too large or complex to do on a local computer.

For example, researchers often come to ARC if they have:

  • Very large jobs to run (e.g., high resolution or large-scale datasets)
  • Many jobs to run (parameter sweeps, many datasets)
  • Need for specialty hardware (GPU, memory, high bandwidth storage, fast network, scale)

Additionally, ARC's resources for data storage and sharing can make it much easier for researchers from different disciplines or in different locations to collaborate on a project.

How to get started with ARC

If you are interested in using ARC's resources for your current or future projects, or if you would just like to learn more about our computing systems and services, please request a consultation or drop by our office hours.

You do not need to have any prior experience with high-performance computing — our team can assist you in determining the right system for your project. We also offer introductory training sessions throughout the year via the Professional Development Network, and our computational scientists are available for classroom presentations on HPC.

Is there a cost to use ARC's systems?

ARC's systems and services are available to all Virginia Tech faculty at no cost. However, researchers and groups have the option to add compute costs to grants or contracts through ARC's Cost Center, which allows usage of additional compute or storage resources for a fee. Departments and faculty can also purchase priority access to an ARC system for up to five years through ARC's Investment Computing Program.

Helpful resources for new ARC users:

Summer 2021 Resources for Research Computing

Jump start your research this summer!

ARC has assembled some resources and links here that we hope will be helpful and timely for those engaged in research computing with ARC this summer.

Continue reading below for details about:

  • Getting Started On TinkerCliffs and Infer
  • Creating Software Modules
  • ARC Office Hours
  • Training and Carpentries Workshops


Get started on these new clusters brought online in 2020-2021!


Want a software package that ARC doesn\'t offer? We just posted two new videos about how you can add custom software packages to the module system on ARC clusters:

More video tutorials are here:
Let us know if there are other videos that you\'d like to see:

ARC is hosting virtual office hours each weekday via Zoom. Come join us to have a one-on-one dialog to get a broad overview of ARC, troubleshoot a tricky problem, or design your jobs. No registration is required and a calendar is posted above with the schedule and Zoom links.


Training opportunities:

We have expanded our Intro to ARC courses into a sequence of six 75 minutes courses to allow more time to dive into the some of the major aspects of using ARC systems at Virginia Tech:

Course Topics Date and Time
ARC1 Systems and Services Overview Wednesday, May 26 1:00-2:15
ARC2 Getting Connected Monday, June 1, 11:00-12:15
ARC3 Linux/BASH for HPC Monday, June 15, 1:00-2:15
ARC4 Running Jobs with SLURM Thursday, July 1, 9:00-10:15
ARC5 Scaling Up Monday, July 13, 10:00-11:15
ARC6 Software Monday, July 27, 11:00-12:15

The content for these courses will be tailored specifically to ARC\'s systems and follow in the spirit of these in-development HPC Carpentries lessons which you may find helpful as a self-guided introduction to understand and interact with current standard high-performance computing systems:

\"The Carpentries\" are an open content set of lessons that teach \"foundational coding and data science skills to researchers worldwide.\" Virginia Tech has an actively growing community of certified instructors who conducts many workshops based on the carpentries lessons each year.

Some Software/Data Carpentries hosted by Virginia Tech:

  • Data Carpentry: Geospatial Data in R
  • Pre-fall Semester Carpentry courses in Unix, Git, Python, and R: August 2-13 (registration should open soon)

We\'re looking forward to working with you this summer!

Classroom Presentations on High Performance Computing

Instructors of classes with a computational component can request a presentation on selected topics by an ARC computational scientist.

Topics include overviews of various parallel programming methods, machine learning and data science, visualization, and certain software packages. The level and scope of a presentation can be adjusted in advance, in consultation between the instructor and the ARC presenter.

Because our staff are small in number, and busy supporting the ARC systems, we can only respond to a limited number of presentation requests at any one time.

For a list of available presentations, refer to the document: Classroom Presentations. You may also be interested in the visualization presentations described in the document: Visualize This!.

For more information, contact Alana Romanella at

Visualize This!

Visualize This! is a classroom outreach program that shows students how to enrich their work with visualization.

Staff members from the Visualization Group at Advanced Research Computing (ARC) have prepared visualization presentations that last one class period. They are also eager to work with the instructor in advance, creating a customized presentation that focuses on topics and data appopriate for a given class.

For more information, go to Visualize This! webpage, or refer to the Visualize This! brochure, or contact Nicholas Polys at

“Where’s LAPACK?”

Users of Virginia Tech's ARC computing clusters know that, if they want to find information about installed software, they only have to go to the main ARC webpage , and then on the menu bar choose RESOURCES and from that menu select SOFTWARE. This produces an alphabetical list of the more than 250 installed software packages, including the locations and version numbers. But the package listed immediately after lame is LBPMWIA, and as more than one perplexed user has remarked, "Where's LAPACK?"

Continue reading “Where’s LAPACK?”

Fall 2014 NLI Short Courses

In Fall of 2014, the Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Mathematics (ICAM) and ARC will offer a three-session short course on Parallel Computing with MATLAB as a part of the Virginia Tech Network Learning Initiatives (NLI) curriculum. The course will be taught by Dr. Eugene Cliff of ICAM in conjunction with Advanced Research Computing. Users can enroll through NLI here. Click here for course descriptions and registration information.