Service Description

High Performance Computing refers to the practice of aggregating the processing power of several computers to provide a parallel processing environment for solving complex computational problems, usually in a significantly faster timescale than would be possible on a single device.

  • Please note, if you require HPC services for teaching and learning, please see further information here.


The High Performance Computing Service comprises:

  • An institutional (tier 3) HPC service for research called Maxwell, hosted on site in the University’s data centre.
  • User support, including software installation, support and troubleshooting.
  • Access to preinstalled free and commercial software.
  • Consultancy on access to regional (tier 2) and national (tier 1) facilities, including the EPCC’s Cirrus and Archer systems. These facilities offer the following advantages:
    • Greater capacity and capability
    • Diversity of architectures
    • Training in computational science and software development

Further technical/support information, as detailed below, is available here.

  • Technical Specification
  • Accessing Maxwell (Technical information. For request process see below)
  • Compute Resources and Storage per User
  • Storage
  • Backup and Restore
  • Scheduling
  • Availability, Maintenance and Unplanned Disruptions
  • Monitoring and Arbitration


This service is available to:

  • All registered members of staff, including honorary staff
  • Research postgraduate students
  • Masters students
  • Undergraduate students
  • External collaborators and,
  • External companies via commercial arrangement

Service Hours

  • 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, excluding scheduled downtimes.
  • Scheduled downtimes are necessary to manage the service and maintain security and, where possible, prior notice of at least a week shall be given to Maxwell Users
  • Unscheduled/unforeseeable downtimes may happen from time to time. We will endeavour to restore services as soon as possible

Level of Service

  • The service runs using a queuing algorithm. Funded projects are prioritised.
  • Support for the service is available during normal University working hours. All support requests to
  • ONLY the user Home Directory on Maxwell is backed up. The scratch partition and vault are NOT. See full details here.
  • Users must remove all data from the HPC at the end of their project unless otherwise agreed. Data storage can be requested here.

Support and Documentation

Maxwell HPC

External HPC Services

For further information, support, or training requests, please contact us at

Request Process

Maxwell access is usually via a University of Aberdeen IT account.

Complete request form below for service required: 

Please allow 2-5 working days for your request to be actioned. For non-routine requests, we may contact you to discuss your requirements and to assess whether the work you propose work is viable.

Once your request has been approved, you will be able to access Maxwell via a range of SSH, Remote Desktop and Portal options.

User Responsibility

Users are expected to comply with all relevant University policies and guidance (see policy zone) including:

  • Information Security Policy
  • Research Data Management Policy and Guidance
  • Conditions for using IT Services


Funded Projects

  • Staff/PGR: Where the HPC service is used as part of a funded research project, you should ensure the costs are incorporated into your grant proposal so that your use of the service can be charged to the appropriate grant. Where possible, please add details to Worktribe as documented here.
  • Standard Costs: The standard costs for using the HPC service are listed below:
    • There is a minimum charge of £100 per project to use HPC: (up to 1000 core hours CPU)
    • Where more CPU compute required, this will be charged at 10p per core-hour
    • Where GPU required,  this will be charged at 10p per hour per GPU
    • Additional support, including installation and troubleshooting of bespoke applications, will be charged at £400 per day in ½ day increments
    • Additional storage, beyond the standard Maxwell allocation, will be charged at £500 per terabyte per year
    • Bespoke quotes (for example, for specialist nodes, including GPU), is available on request
    • For any quote, please contact

Free Access

  • Unfunded Projects: Limited free use (up to 1000 core hours) is available for the following:
    • Small pilot projects
    • Unfunded PGR projects
    • Unfunded UG/MSc projects
  • Testing: Maxwell can also be accessed by those wishing to test or familiarise themselves with the service and those wishing to assess the suitability of the service prior to applying for funding.