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Terms of Use

As a condition of using and continuing to use the University's Blue Waters System ("Blue Waters"), you ("You" or "Your") agree to the terms and conditions of usage stated herein ("Terms of Use"). The University reserves the right to change these Terms of Use at any time and at its sole discretion, but will make reasonable efforts to inform users if any Terms of Use specifically based on export control and trade regulations are materially changed. However, the foregoing does not relieve You of Your responsibility to review the Terms of Use periodically for changes. The Terms of Use are available online at: Continuing to use Blue Waters constitutes your acceptance and agreement to such changes.

I. I. Applicable Laws and Policies

You agree not to use Blue Waters in violation of any applicable law. The use of Blue Waters is subject to all applicable laws, and to all applicable policies and regulations of the University. See especially the University's Web Privacy Notice at: and the University's Policy on Appropriate Use of Computers and Network Systems at:

Applicable laws and regulations include, but are not limited to, export control laws and regulations and the regulations administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) with respect to sanctioned countries and regions. See Unless otherwise indicated by OFAC, currently the following countries are the most severely sanctioned: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

Regardless of Your citizenship or permanent residency, You agree not to access Blue Waters from any country identified above as the most severely sanctioned.

For the purposes of these Terms of Use, "national" means an individual who is not a U.S. citizen, not a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., and not a "protected individual as defined in 8 U.S.C. Section 1324 (such as an asylum visa holder).

If You are a national of one of the countries identified above as the most severely sanctioned, You agree to the following special terms of use:

  • You will access Blue Waters only as authorized pursuant to applicable anti-terrorist asset control laws, regulations, rules and Executive Orders, or pursuant to a "specific license" as described below (i.e., a license issued specifically for You by OFAC pursuant to OFAC regulations, as opposed to a "general license" or authorization, which is set forth in the OFAC regulations).
  • If You are authorized to access Blue Waters pursuant to a visa-related general license or authorization, You will not access Blue Waters unless You possess a current, valid U.S. visa in an authorized visa category, and the scope of Your visa encompasses Your use of and/or access to high performance computers (as applicable), including research requiring the use of high performance computers. 
    Further, you will not access Blue Waters while You are located outside the U.S. You will not access Blue Waters during any period in which You are out of status.
  • If You are required to obtain a specific license from OFAC, You will only access Blue Waters subject to the conditions of a valid specific license that You have obtained before accessing Blue Waters.

II. Security

The University is committed to maximizing the availability of Blue Waters while protecting the security of users. To achieve this high level of security, user cooperation is required.

You agree to:

  • not utilize Blue Waters for any criminal activity;
  • not attempt to disable or circumvent any Blue Waters security controls:
  • abide by all applicable intellectual property rights;
  • protect access credentials and authentication devices for Your use only;
  • report lost or stolen Blue Waters credentials or authentication devices;
  • not enable other users to access Blue Waters with Your account and/or credentials;
  • only enter your NCSA access credentials into systems or web sites;
  • maintain up-to-date contact information with NCSA; 
  • not intentionally interfere with system operation or other system users; and
  • report any suspected security breaches or misuses of Blue Waters to or

While You are subject to University policies, including the web privacy policy found at:, the following clarifications are provided specifically with respect to using Blue Waters:

  • Logged information, including information provided by the users during registration processes and use of Blue Waters, shall be used for administrative, operational, accounting, research and security monitoring purposes only. This information may be disclosed to other organizations anywhere in the world for these purposes. Although efforts are made to maintain confidentiality of sensitive information, no guarantees are given. As a publicly funded, open system with a national mission, usage information of Blue Waters will be openly shared and reported as NCSA sees fit. User's actual names and institutions, login ids and usage information are considered open, sharable information.
  • The University's National Center for Supercomputing Applications ("NCSA") may retain all logs and usage information for at least one year, but often longer. Note that full keystroke and command history logging is currently stored only for a limited time. Policy regarding this special type of logging is described in the NCSA Security Monitoring Policy approved by the University of Illinois' Chief Information Security Officer.
  • Blue Waters is shared by many users and provides the standard file permission tools for users to protect their data from unauthorized access by other users and groups. It is the PI and his/her team's responsibility to set appropriate permissions or use any extra tools (e.g. encryption tools) to protect their data. It is possible to expose confidential data through misconfiguration of permissions by the user. Blue Waters does use many best practices to monitor and protect the system but proper data management is primarily the responsibility of the user.

III. Data

The Principal Investigator or each allocation project is the project lead and is responsible for all data associated with the PI's project and for compliance with data management policies. All data associated with the project must be removed from the Blue Waters system within 90 days of the project's allocation being terminated or the announced decommissioning of the Blue Waters system. Data placed on the Blue Waters system for internal University purposes other than research are the responsibility of the University employee overseeing the work on behalf of the University.

IV. Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

In no event will NCSA or the University or its trustees, officers, employees or agents be liable for any use by You of Blue Waters, or for any loss, claim, damage or liability that may arise in connection with Your access to or use of Blue Waters, unless imposed by law. Access to Blue Waters is provided to You on an "As Is" basis without any representations or warranties, whether express or implied. If you are dissatisfied with Blue Waters for any reason, Your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue accessing and using Blue Waters.

V. Authorized Use

You agree to use Blue Waters only for projects for which an active project account exists, or for other purposes specifically authorized by NCSA, and in accordance with the directions of the project's PI or the PI's delegate, or in accordance with the directions of NCSA as applicable.

Email communications sent to the email address associated with Your user account by the University, NCSA, and/or their agents is considered an official communication to You as the user of the account. Reading and responding, as appropriate, to these communications is an obligation of using Blue Waters.

Last Revised: Dec 4, 2019
Approved by the Office of the Chief Information Officer

The Blue Waters Project Office reserves the right to limit or restrict access in cases where actions intentionally or unintentionally impact the usability, security, or stability of the system. Failure to adopt or comply with recommendations made by the project office could result in loss of access to the Blue Waters system and related facilities.