High Performance Computing Service


hpc.cam.ac.uk addresses

Each University of Cambridge user account set up on the HPCS receives an email address of the form:


in order to facilitate communication from the system, or from the system managers. These hpc.cam.ac.uk addresses are provided through the University's managed mail domain service, and are configured to forward messages directly to the email address provided on the application form (unless we are asked to do otherwise).

Please note:

  • the hpc.cam.ac.uk addresses do not provide separate inboxes (mail sent to them is typically delivered to the user's usual inbox corresponding to the ``real'' email address provided at application time);
  • the user's real email address is not visible to other users of the HPC (unless a reply is sent from that email account);
  • if the account name belonging to a user of the HPC is known, the corresponding hpc.cam.ac.uk address can be emailed from anywhere (not just from within the HPC). Thus the same situation applies as for CRSids of Cambridge users generally; neither should be passed without permission of the owner to someone outside the University of Cambridge.

In addition to the per-username hpc.cam.ac.uk addresses, the obvious addresses (support, webmaster, postmaster, abuse, root etc) are also defined.

Using email on the HPCS systems

As explained above, hpc.cam.ac.uk email addresses do not provide new points for the delivery of email, and user email messages are not delivered to any part of Darwin itself. However, email messages can be sent manually from the login nodes (e.g. as a result of a user using the mail command), or automatically by the queueing system to a user if job notification messages have been requested.

Example - manual mail from a login node

A Cambridge user xyz123 on a login node wishes to send a quick email to another HPC user (assumed also to be a member of the University), pqr456:

[login-sand1 /home/xyz123]$ mail pqr456

or to someone else not necessarily connected with the HPC:

[login-sand1 /home/xyz123]$ mail someone'at'somewhere.net

In the first case, not specifying a non-local part of the recipient address leads to a default of To: pqr456'at'hpc.cam.ac.uk. In both cases, the message generated appears to be From: xyz123'at'hpc.cam.ac.uk; replies or error messages will be returned to xyz123'at'hpc.cam.ac.uk and delivered to the home email address provided to us by the user (not to Darwin).

Please note that email involving Darwin accounts not associated with a current member of the University of Cambridge may work differently.

Example - automatic mail from a batch job

Automatic email notification for a job submitted to SLURM is set via a directive in the submission script such as:

#SBATCH --mail-type=ALL

or equivalently on the command line, as in

sbatch --mail-type=ALL ...other options... filename

where ALL can be replaced by one of BEGIN, END, FAIL, REQUEUE to restrict the types of messages sent (see the sbatch documentation). This option can also be given multiple times.

If the job owner is pqr456, these messages will be sent To: pqr456'at'hpc.cam.ac.uk and From: root'at'hpc.cam.ac.uk (except in the case of external users). In fact they are generated by the SLURM server node; the original message, as well as any replies and errors (neither of which should normally occur), are ultimately received by the University's managed mail domain machinery and forwarded appropriately.


All users are initially and automatically subscribed to the mailing list hpc-user'at'lists.cam.ac.uk. This is a convenient means by which both users and support/admin personnel can communicate across the local user community.

For more information about University list services, please see http://lists.cam.ac.uk/.