What is the RCE?

The Research Computing Environment (RCE) is a powerful computer cluster that you can use for computations that are too large to be conveniently done on a personal computer. The RCE is available to researchers at Harvard and MIT.

To obtain an RCE account send an email to help@iq.harvard.edu. You will receive a response asking you several questions about your requirements (e.g., if you need backups, how much data storage space you need). For details on the services provided and limitations and restrictions of the service refer to http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/user-services/research-computing-environment-sla.

You can use the RCE in one of two primary ways:

Interactive jobs
Run your computation as you would on your PC, but on a much more powerful machine with up to 24 CPU cores and up to 500Gb of memory.
Batch jobs
Run your computation in the background using up to several hundred computers at once.

Interactive jobs are good for memory intensive computations that may be unfeasible on your personal computer due to hardware limitations. Batch jobs are good for computations that can be run in parallel and/or computations that you expect to run for long periods of time.


This tutorial was created by Ista Zahn and Steve Worthington at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. Any comments or suggestions can be sent to: help@iq.harvard.edu.