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There are several pathways available for researchers and educators to apply to use Blue Waters for their work.

National Science Foundation

At least 80 percent of the capacity of Blue Waters—about 150 million node-hours each year—is available to scientists and engineers across the country through the National Science Foundation's Petascale Computing Resource Allocation program. 

NSF has announced what is expected to be the final allocations totaling 125 MNH on Blue Waters via a DCL. The proposal process is described at:

Please note that you must contact the NSF program manager and submit prior to February 1st, 2019!

UPDATE! NSF has announced the submission deadline for the DCL will be extended, new deadline 2/14/2019.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Up to 7 percent of the computing capacity of Blue Waters—about 13 million node-hours each year—is reserved for faculty and staff at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For application details, visit

A portion of the University of Illinois Blue Waters allocation is being made available to the Blue Waters professors. For more details see

Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation

Up to 2 percent is available to researchers whose institutions are members of the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation. For more information visit: or the GLCPC website.


Up to 1 percent of the Blue Waters compute capacity—or 1.8 million node-hours per year—is available for educators and students. For application details, visit

Broadening Participation

Up to 1 percent of the Blue Waters compute capacity—or 1.8 million node-hours per year—is available for educators and students. For application details, visit

The 21 awards for 2018 are available.


NCSA's industry partners and industry partners of any of the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation institutions also have opportunities to use Blue Waters. To apply for a Blue Waters industry allocation visit,

Innovation and Exploration

Up to 5 percent is available for innovation and exploration of new uses for high performance computation and data analysis. For application details, visit

Allocation Policies

NSF PRAC projects with multi-year awards may request that their unused node hour balance be carried over into the project's next allocation year subject to the following restrictions:

  • The carry over amount will not be available to the project until the project completely exhausts the awarded allocation for that time period.
  • Jobs submitted using carry-over time will be be scheduled to run only when there are no other runnable jobs or sessions able to be scheduled (lower priority than the lowest published priority)
  • Carry-over jobs may be preempted at any time if higher priority work becomes schedulable.
  • Carry-over jobs will not be eligible for charging discounts and will be always charged one node hour per node wall clock hour.
  • The amount of the carry-over time will be determined by the unused allocation amount minus either the charged or actual usage, whichever results in a lower carry-over amount.
  • Unused time can only be carried forward one allocation period.

Projects in their final allocation period may request an extension from their program manager to be determined on a case by case basis. Projects may not transfer any unused balance to any other project.

NSF PRAC teams that have active allocations as of 7/1/17 expiring between 7/1/17 and 3/31/19 are permitted to apply for a no cost extension to continue usage of their remaining allocation before their final period of the project’s allocation expires.  This request shall be no more than the lesser amount of the following:

  • 5% of the PRAC’s allocation active during the final allocation period of the award
  • the remaining unused amount in the allocation
  • 200,000 NH

Furthermore, the period of request shall not exceed three months and it shall not extend beyond December 19, 2019 (at this time awards expiring 12/19/19 are not eligible for extension).  Requests for this extension should be filed via the Blue Waters’ JIRA service request system and indicate what has been accomplished to date and what the extended allocation will accomplish.  Blue Waters will coordinate approval of the request with NSF.

Please note that extending an allocation is not related to extending the funding of the PRAC award nor extending the official NSF end date of the award.  These extensions to the NSF award must be done via standard NSF processes in addition to the JIRA request for extending and allocation.  This extension program only applies to NSF PRAC awards.