Skip to content

Boise State Research Computing

This repository holds user-facing documentation for users of Boise State's Research Computing resources. This includes the Borah cluster, as well as storage, virtual machines, and personnel.

See Boise State Research Computing for more information.

If you have additional questions after looking through these docs, please don't hesitate to reach out to

To best resolve your issue, we also recommend reading How to ask for help effectively.

Office Hours

Puzzled about python? Big data too big? HPC feeling like a hassle? Come to Research Computing Services office hours! Our staff will be available to help with any questions, issues, or errors.

Please see the calendar below for information about office hours:

Troubleshooting & Software Services

Research Computing services include provisioning accounts, troubleshooting and optimizing software, training, assisting with data transfer and storage, and more. Please let us know how we can help remove barriers to research!

Our team will also assist users with evaluating system requirements for both open source and licensed software if users are considering purchasing software. Research Computing does not purchase software but can help you find the right channels to procure software.

Our team also helps with software installation, troubleshooting, and updating. To request help with software you’re using or would like to use on the cluster, email and provide basic information, including name of software, any known dependencies and issues and whether or not it’s open source or proprietary. Many commonly used HPC software packages are already installed. Check if your package is installed with 'module avail'.

What is a compute cluster?

A compute cluster, also known as a "supercomputer," is a set of computers that all work together to form one functional system. The cluster has many individual computers in it (called compute nodes) that are all set up to run computational jobs. Each node can run independently or can pool resources with other nodes to increase computing capacity. These computers are all linked to a central controller computer with similar hardware to a compute node that runs software like the cluster's job scheduler.

In these guides, the terms "compute cluster," "cluster," and "supercomputer" are all used interchangeably. "Campus compute cluster" or "campus cluster" refers to Borah, the primary cluster Boise State has purchased.

Why use a compute cluster?

The advantage to utilizing a cluster comes in the form of parallel computing, or the ability to run computational jobs over many CPUs or GPUs at once. This can improve the performance of a job and decrease the amount of time it takes to normally run by orders of magnitude. Parallel computing is applicable to many different fields, including education, raptor biology, environmental science, and genetics - researchers all across campus have had success utilizing our resources to improve the efficiency of their research.