SaM Investment Policies

All research groups at Pitt are guaranteed a yearly allocation of 10,000 service units (SU). To apply for an allocation, please fill out the allocation request form.

For groups seeking larger yearly service unit allocations, several options are available to invest in SaM. In addition to a larger allocation, members of the group will also be granted greater privileges in the Queue.

Billed Investor

A group may purchase allocations larger than the guaranteed 10,000 service units per year at the price of $0.01/SU. Groups will be required to pay in advance and special accommodations can be made. A minimum investment of $500 is required.

Shared Hardware Investor

Purchased hardware will become part of the shared computing cluster, with users being allocated an equivalent number of SU that can be used on any of the center's clusters. SaM will work with such investors to accommodate their needs in on the batch system. In addition to no-cost installation and cooling at the University's Network Operations Center, SaM consultants will install and maintain software packages used on the shared computing cluster.

For more information review the Shared Computer Hardware Policy.

Service Investor

Service investments fall under two categories, Proposal Writing and Teaching. The goal of both options is to encourage multi-disciplinary activities.

Proposal Contributions

PIs can contribute as Service Investors by including one or more of the following items in grant proposals. Requests to include SaM in grant proposals must be made to well before the deadline to ensure approval. Upon submission the PI will receive a service unit allocation for 5% of the amount intended for SaM at the rate of $0.01/SU.

Hardware Infrastructure
For large hardware purchases like Major Research Infrastructure (MRI) grants, PIs will consult with SaM about how hardware details to ensure compatibility with current hardware. Hardware purchased through the grant will be installed and maintained by SaM and priority access will be granted to PIs for the duration of the grant.
Flexible Consultant Salary Support
Provide funds for the operation of SaM resources to be used at the discretion of SaM. Service units will be provided to the PI at $0.01/SU if the grant is funded.
Billed Investment
Direct purchase of SU at $0.01/SU
Consultation Support
SaM consultants can be incorporated into grants as Key Personnel. The duties to be performed by the consultant will be determined by the PI. PIs can write support for full time or part time consultant salary plus fringe. Service units will be provided to the PI at $0.05/SU for the amount provided if the grant is funded.


In addition to grant writing, SaM seeks to promote education of high performance computing (HPC) by offering service unit allocations for instructors in workshops or courses. Instructors must submit a one-page proposal to detailing the materials that will be covered and how SaM resources and consultant time will be utilized. If approved service sufficient unit allocations will be made for students in the course or workshop along. The instructor will also receive service unit allocations based on the number of credit or lecture hours and number of students in attendance.

SU = 100 * (lecture-hours) * number-of-students

SaM Grand Challenge Awards

Up to 10% (currently 1 million SU) of available service units will be awarded yearly. Awards will be announced in three times each year. Applications will be reviewed by the Allocation Committee. Faculty members who wish to apply for this grant may contact SaM consultants for help in accurately determining the amount of service units required to complete the work. Awardees will be given Investor status in the queue policy.

Multidisciplinary projects are strongly encouraged. Collaborations with experimental groups are strongly encouraged; the application should explain how the simulations will impact experimental work and vice-versa. Projects geared towards the development of new algorithms or computer code are strongly encouraged. Applications can be made online at Only one application per group will be accepted each year.

The Allocations Committee will review applications Three (3) times per year. The application deadlines are the first non-holiday Monday of January, May and August. The Allocations Committee reserves the right to decline making an award in any given period if all proposals are deemed not to be of sufficient quality or are not responsive to the program. Principal investigators on the application must be faculty. Research associates or post-doctoral associates can be co-PIs.

Application details

The length of the application must be no more than six (6) pages, 12 point font, single spaced, with 1 inch margins, excluding references, but including all figures and tables. The maximum resources that can be requested for a single award is one million SUs.

The application should contain the following sections:

  1. Introduction. Include a brief review of the background of the problem and a concise statement of the objectives of the project.

  2. Proposed Work. Details of the algorithms to be used and preliminary parallel scaling results should be included in this section. Note that proposed computations should be highly parallel and should make efficient use of the available SaM hardware.

  3. Requested Resources. This section should provide the total allocation request, along with a summary describing how the requested SU allocation was calculated.

  4. Projected Impact. How will the Grand Challenge Award be used to enhance research at the University of Pittsburgh? This section should include a description of potential research proposals that will be facilitated by the award, to what agencies the proposals will be submitted, and how SaM will be involved in the proposals. A description of the multidisciplinary nature of the work, how multiple research groups will be impacted, could also be included in this section.

  5. References. Include relevant bibliographic data for the proposed research and the biographical sketches (in appropriate NSF or NIH format) of all personnel involved in the project.

  6. Current and pending support.