Using ARC

What are the benefits for research?

ARC enables researchers to carry out computing beyond the capacity of a personal desktop, both in terms of processing power and memory utilised.  The High Performance Computing (HPC) systems supported by ARC are particularly suitable for running applications which are parallel (or could be made parallel) and/or use large amounts of memory.

Typically, this can mean researchers have the ability of

  • solving very large problems (which would not fit in the memory of a desktop or would take too long to run on a destop) or
  • solving in parallel a large number of problems (which would fit on a desktop individually but would have to be solved one at a time) or
  • a combination of both.

Additional benefits from using ARC are

  • help getting started and continued user support;
  • assistance in making best use of ARC to translate research aspirations into results;
  • on-demand installation of software, advice on how to run software optimally;
  • training for new ARC users on how to use the service;
  • specialised training focused on parallel programming;
  • on-demand advice on parallel programming (aimed at application developers).

Is ARC free to use?

Yes, using ARC is free at the point of use for all researchers in the University of Oxford.

Also, the option exists to pay for a priority service, which ensures an elevated level of service and is recommended for users who require sustained and long-term usage of the ARC facilities.  The full details of the service levels are given on the Access Policy page.


ARC uses a "credits" system to keep track of resource usage on the ARC clusters, with one credit translating to running for 1 second of wall clock time on a single core.  Please read our Accounting System page for more details on how credit usage is calculated for jobs.

Each ARC project is allocated an initial amount of credits at the time the projects are open.  To continue research, ARC users may request extra credits when needed.  To check how may credits a project has left at any time, ARC users can use the command mybalance on any ARC system.  Additional credits can be requested for the standard service (free) or purchased for the priority service.

To request credits for the standard free service, please contact us, providing a conservative estimate of how many credits are needed and a short statement describing what the work planned is.

If purchased, the cost of the the credits depends not only on the level of service sought but on the source of funding too.  All the relevant details along with instruction on how to purchase credits are given in the page on Requesting Usage credits.