skip to primary navigationskip to content

High Performance Computing

University Information Services

Studying at Cambridge

Privacy policy


The policy explains what information is held about individual people (HPCS account holders) by HPCS systems, how it is gathered and how it is used. Details of the data held or logged are given below. This information is used to support user access to the resources of the HPCS systems, for system administration and bug tracking, for the detection of improper use, and for producing usage statistics for management and planning purposes.

Access to these logs and to user-specific data is restricted to appropriate staff or contractors of the HPCS, and in the specific case of DiRAC users, to the appropriate staff at EPCC responsible for resource allocation and user administration of DiRAC.

These logs are currently held indefinitely, but might not be recovered as a result of an accidental or deliberate removal action.

Summary statistics are extracted from this data. Some of these may be made publicly available, but those that are do not include the identity of individuals. DiRAC users (only) should note that their individual job records are uploaded to SAFE nightly.

Relevant subsets of this data may be passed to computer security teams (e.g. Cambridge CERT) as part of investigations of specific incidents of computer misuse involving HPCS systems.

In the event that suspicious activity is detected on the CUDN, data held as described in the Privacy Policy Statement for the CUDN may be passed to HPCS management for investigation.

Data pertaining to particular projects may also on occasion be passed to the appropriate people (e.g. Principal Investigators or nominated deputies) responsible for direction and management of those projects. Otherwise the information is not passed to any third party except where required by law.

Data is stored on disk storage systems and may be backed up to tape at some frequency depending on the filesystem. These backups are made to enable reinstatement of the data, e.g. in the event of failure of a system component, or accidental deletion. Details of backup and other policies applicable per filesystem are available on the filesystem page.

Any user of the HPCS systems who approaches the Service Desk or any staff within the HPCS for help with a problem, implicitly grants permission to the HPCS staff to investigate that problem by looking at data held on the system and files in their home directories or other personal or group storage areas.

Data collected

Accounting and other user-dependent system data

The HPCS management servers hold details of user accounts, thereby enabling a user to log in and use the resources of the HPCS systems.

The following data are held and maintained for each user:

  • Name
  • User identifier (account name)
  • Institution affiliation
  • Status
  • Project affiliation
  • Email address
  • Contact telephone number
  • User administration history
  • Login history (session begin/end times and originating IP address)
  • Resource consumption (in the form of job records accumulated by the job scheduler)
  • Use of licensed applications (in the course of ensuring license term compliance).

These data are held on the HPCS management systems from the time the user's account is created, whether or not the user ever makes use of the HPCS systems.

These data remain stored until purged as obsolete.

Other data held in the system

Research data held in home directories or other personal or group storage areas is stored, as required for the fulfillment of HPCS services. This data is stored until purged by the user, or by the HPCS to enforce advertised policy, or automatically as obsolete in the case of tape re-use.

In addition applications, including but not limited to login shells, may record command history in files contained in the user's home directory. Such files will survive until purged by the user, or by the HPCS to enforce advertised policy, or automatically as obsolete in the case of tape re-use.

Access to personal data

For the purpose of the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the 'Data Controller' is the University of Cambridge, and the point of contact for subject access is the University Data Protection Officer (The Old Schools, Trinity Lane, Cambridge CB2 1TN, tel. 01223 332320, fax 01223 332332, E-mail:

Last updated 11 July 2014