National High-Performance Computing – ACCESS

ACCESS is an NSF-funded program consisting of a nationwide collection of supercomputing systems available to researchers and educators.


ACCESS (Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Coordination Ecosystem: Services & Support), formerly XSEDE, is a National Science Foundation-funded, nationwide collection of supercomputing systems available to researchers through merit-based allocations. The resources are free, but the application process can be competitive depending on the compute resources needed.

Columbia researchers can use a few types of allocations in order of ease of acquisition and amount of resources available.

Columbia Discover Allocation

  • Use Columbia's Discover allocation (which Columbia ACCESS representatives from the Research Computing Services Team can readily approve).
  • Recommended for small-scale testing and benchmarking.

Explore Allocation

  • Explore requests require minimal documentation: CV and an abstract of the project.
  • This allocation type is best for resource evaluation, graduate student projects, small classes and training events, benchmarking, code development and porting, and similar small-scale uses.

Accelerate Allocation

  • Accelerate ACCESS requests require the following documentation: a project description, a three to five page project description and the PI's CV. A panel will review your request for approval.
  • Accelerate is recommended for experienced users with mid-scale resource needs, consolidating multi-grant programs, collaborative projects, and gateways with growing communities.
  • You would need to submit a Maximize access allocation request for resources greater than this.

Maximize Allocation

  • Maximize requests are large-scale projects that require massive computational resources.
  • Requests require the following documentation: a project description, a proposal no more than ten pages long, and the PI’s CV. A panel will review your request for approval. The requirements may evolve over time to ensure that the reviewers have adequate information to assess submissions and ensure efficient and effective use of the allocated resources.
NAIRR Pilot Logo


The National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) Pilot aims to connect U.S. researchers and educators to computational, data, and training resources needed to advance AI research and research that employs AI. Applications for NAIRR pilot resources are now open and available to the community.

Resources include:

  • advanced computing systems
  • cloud computing platforms
  • access to models, software and privacy enhancing technology tools and collaborations to train models
  • and education platforms

Many of NAIRR's resources are part of the ACCESS program and Campus Champion representatives at CUIT can help provide guidance to researchers who are interested in getting access to NAIRR resources.

Focus Areas:

This call for allocation proposals encompasses projects covering any of the cross-cutting or domain focus areas for the NAIRR Pilot.

Cross-cutting focus areas:

  • Advancing AI methods that enable scientific discovery.
  • Creating open-source foundation models for specific applications.
  • Using large-scale models to explore complex datasets interactively.
  • Advancing approaches for integrating simulations and AI.
  • Using experimental data from sensors, detectors, or other edge instruments.
  • Empowering use of scientific data by other stakeholders and the public.
  • Training and educating a cohort of scholars in AI technologies and their responsible use.
  • Probe key AI challenges using sensitive data including privacy-preserving methods.

Domain specific focus areas:

  • Accelerating societally-relevant research on AI safety, reliability, security, and privacy.
  • Empowering advances in cancer treatment and individual health outcomes.
  • Supporting resilience and optimization of agricultural, water, and grid infrastructure.
  • Improving design, control, and quality of advanced manufacturing systems.
  • Addressing earth, environmental, and climate challenges via integration of diverse data and models.

Other projects that align with the broader objectives of the NAIRR Pilot, as well as projects in other areas of AI research and applications, may secondarily be considered for allocation.

How to Apply:

Researchers and educators can apply for access to these resources and view descriptions of the first cohort of awarded projects at

Project Expectations:

All persons submitting proposals should note the following parameters and expectations:

  • Because of the strong public component of the NAIRR, all project results must be open and publishable. Teams who receive NAIRR Pilot access are expected to publish their results in the open scientific literature or otherwise disseminate publically, and to make all project products publically available, to the extent possible.
  • Project PIs are expected to provide brief (2–3 paragraphs) project updates 1 month and 6 months into the project, and a final report (three pages) upon project completion.
  • NAIRR Pilot projects are intended to be completed within twelve (12) months. Projects with longer-term timelines should contact [email protected] to be referred to existing proposal and allocation opportunities.
  • To see full details and additional expectations, please check out NAIRR Pilot - Expectations of Project


ACCESS resources are freely available for Columbia researchers and educators. Furthermore, Columbia's ACCESS representatives are available to approve applications to join our Discover Allocation with a fast turnaround time so you can find out if this is right HPC option for your project quickly.

Note: ACCESS allocation policies govern resources.

Any researcher or educator at Columbia University can request ACCESS resources.

Yes! Instructors can use ACCESS resources for educational purposes for their classes. You can request an Explore of Discover allocation to meet your courses’ compute needs.

For further instructions on how to request an ACCESS allocation for yourself and your students, contact us at [email protected].

For a list of available resources see the Resource Catalog.

Allocations for Explore, Discover, and Accelerate projects are awarded in ACCESS Credits. They are the “currency” used that allows you to use certain resources. You can convert your allocated ACCESS credits to Resource Service Units. Service Units are the measurement of credits distributed to an allocation. Generally, 1 Service Unit = 1 Core Hour or 1 GB of storage, but this may vary based on the resource provider and compute resource. 

You can use the ACCESS Exchange Calculator to learn more.

The NAIRR Pilot gives researchers and educators the opportunity to advance their work in the short term, and will also help refine the design of a full NAIRR program. Many researchers lack the necessary access to the computing, data, software and educational resources needed to fully conduct their research and to train the next generation of researchers. NAIRR aims to bridge this gap and ensure that AI resources and tools are accessible to the broad research and education communities.

A NAIRR Pilot allocation can complement existing or planned allocations obtained via the ACCESS program. For example, you might identify a subset of your research program that is well aligned with the NAIRR Pilot focus areas and likely to produce successful results within 12 months. This project could progress in parallel with the work done under ACCESS.

Additionally, building upon work you have already done on existing resources can help substantiate your NAIRR Pilot resource request, by referencing publications and performance data obtained on the requested resources for similar or related software and data.