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Project Profile

Nightingale is a high-performance compute cluster for sensitive data. It offers researchers a secure system for data storage and powerful computation. NCSA experts manage the complex requirements surrounding sensitive data, taking the burden off the user so they can focus on their research. The system is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy and security rules for using Protected Health Information (PHI). Nightingale is not limited to the health domain and accommodates projects that require this amount of security or less, such as compliance with Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) policies. It resides in the NCSA National Petascale Facility and is audited yearly by an outside entity to ensure secure operation (SOC 2, Type 2). It is available for a fee to University of Illinois faculty, staff, students and their collaborators through desktop access and encrypted laptop access. Rates are based on a service model that provides flexibility for both short-term and long-term projects. If this level of security is not needed, consider other NCSA systems.

System Overview

Nightingale provides standard batch computing and allocation on interactive nodes for GPU or CPU usage. The storage system is mounted to all nodes and available for both long-term storage and parallel high-performance computing interaction. Slurm manages batch workload, allocating only individual GPUs (MIG not used). Users are not able to add their own nodes to the system.

Interactive Compute Nodes:

  • 4 interactive compute/login nodes with dual 64-core AMDs and 512 GB of RAM 
  • 6 interactive nodes with 1 A100, dual 32-core AMDs with 256GB RAM 
  • 5 interactive nodes with 1 A40 with dual 32-core AMDs and 512GB RAM 

Batch Compute System:

  • 16 dual 64-core AMD systems with 1 TB of RAM 
  • 2 dual-A100 compute nodes with 32-core AMDs and 512 GB of RAM 


  • 880 TB of high-speed parallel LUSTRE-based storage

Fee Overview

Your use of this resource may qualify for funding via Illinois Computes. Learn how to submit a request.

All fees below are MONTHLY costs for University of Illinois users and their collaborators that have a university funding account number (CFOP). Contact NCSA for rates applied to account numbers residing outside the University of Illinois. Allocation/access cannot be shorter than 4 months. User decisions to terminate allocation/access must be provided 3 months prior to termination date. Costs are the same across all node-types. Rates are reviewed and recalculated biennially to ensure superior infrastructure and services. Billing will occur monthly for the prior month’s allocation/use. License fees for some software may be passed onto the user. 

Interactive Computing Options

 Option 1: Per Dedicated Node: $1337.50 per month 

Access to entire dedicated node with the quantity of users dictated by the Principal Investigator. 

Option 2: Per User on a Shared Node: $267.50 per month

Access to a node that is shared with up to 5 users from across the system. Security between users is ensured via Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Users can access the node simultaneously. There is no “speed of service” guarantee, although the powerful nodes should be sufficient for most users. NCSA will consult with users who create a significant high-load on the system – options such as reassigning nodes or requiring additional allocation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Batch Computing Option

Per core hour used: $0.027

Billed monthly for prior month’s use. For consistent billing, users have the option to pay for a set threshold of core hours per month, regardless of whether they use all the core hours they anticipated. 


 Per 1 Terabyte allocated: $10.54 per month 

Database Setup and Management Services

 Per user as needed: $80.71 per month 

Services to support data storage and sharing/accessing relational databases on the system. Not all projects require this support. 

Options for providing “data as a service” to a broad user-community are available. Contact NCSA for details. 

Consultation and Development Services

 Per project as needed: cost based on time and materials 

NCSA provides expertise in software development, analytics and computation for a fee that covers staff time and materials. 

Contact NCSA to discuss project needs and availability of staff. 

User support included with all accounts at no additional charge

  •  Security administration (e.g. software security vetting, external audits, compliance with University Security and Privacy Directive). 
  • Compliance Consulting (e.g. security needs assessment, guidance on data transfer, use agreements, and IRB approval processes). 
  • Training and onboarding (e.g. management of onboarding protocols, required HIPAA training, access to tech training materials). 
  • System and security documentation (e.g. for proposals, contracts, agreements and reporting). 
  • Standard system administration (e.g. installs, updates, access management, infrastructure maintenance and testing).

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