MSI Users Bulletin - December 2021

The Users Bulletin provides a summary of new policies, procedures, and events of interest to MSI users. It is published quarterly.

MSI Users pipeline information

1. MSI Operations:

MSI staff are now working under a hybrid model; not all staff are working on-site full time. The Helpdesk is staffed Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., and the SDVL is open for use.

All MSI systems are operational and can be accessed remotely. To request technical assistance with your MSI account, contact the Helpdesk:

  • In-person visit: 587 Walter Library
  • Email:
  • Phone: 612-626-0802
  • Online Support Request Form
  • Video consultation

Helpdesk availability during Winter Break:

  • During December 20 - 22, 2021, the Helpdesk will only be staffed remotely; in-person, phone, and video assistance will not be available. Please use the email address or request form linked above to contact the Helpdesk.
  • December 23-24 and 30-31 are U of M holidays; the Helpdesk will not be staffed.

2. Agate Update:

Installation of Agate is complete, and re-imaging and final integration with MSI resources is ongoing. We expect Beta user testing to begin by next month, with full production to follow.

3. Blackwell Update:

MSI is working through remediation projects resulting from the third-party review report. Beta projects for non-PHI data are ongoing; to inquire about Blackwell Beta Projects, please contact We anticipate PHI rollout in Spring 2022.


Much of the data analysis conducted on MSI’s HPC resources uses data gathered from U of M shared research facilities (SRFs). In recognition of the need for storage for this data, MSI has implemented a new service, Shared User Research Facilities Storage (SURFS), enabling SRFs to deliver data directly to MSI users. By providing a designated location for this data, MSI can focus data backup and other processes to these key datasets. As part of this service, MSI will provide the storage of the data for one year from its delivery date. MSI is working with shared facilities to develop delivery systems to meet their needs. See more information on the SURFS webpage. 

5. Scratch Storage:

We have had performance problems with the Panasas scratch storage. The problems have also been found at other customers, and Panasas will be issuing a fix in their next release. We are working with the users who are experiencing problems; anyone having issues should contact

6. MSI Research Exhibition:

Save the Date! The 2022 MSI Research Exhibition will be held on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.

The Research Exhibition will include a poster competition, a panel discussion with industry representatives about careers in HPC, presentations about projects using MSI resources, and tours.

The Call for Posters will be sent out in early February. The MSI Research Exhibition webpage will be updated as information becomes available.

7. Spring Tutorials:

The Spring 2022 tutorial schedule will be posted on our website in January 2022.

8. Planet Labs:

The University of Minnesota recently signed a deal with the commercial satellite data company Planet Labs for an Enterprise Account to access their data. This account gives the users at the U of M access to a substantial part of Planet's data holdings. U-Spatial is administering the account for the U of M; more information is available on the Spatial Data page of their website.

MSI will be developing training materials for MSI users who want to use their data within MSI’s HPC environment. If you’re interested in using this resource, see the following:

9. U-Spatial Mapping Prize:

The Mapping Prize competition, which is open to students at the University of Minnesota, honors provocative and innovative map-making. Information about the 2022 competition can be found at the Spatial University website. You can also see the 2021 winners on that page.

The submission deadline for the 2022 competition is May 13, 2022.

10. 2022 DMD Conference:

The annual Design of Medical Devices Conference will be held April 11-14, 2022. Registration will open on January 1, 2022. Complete information can be found on the conference website.

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