Biowulf High Performance Computing at the NIH
NIH HPC Systems: How To ....

Get a Helix or Biowulf account

See the page about Getting an account

Unlock your account

If you account was locked due to inactivity, and if you are on the NIH network or VPN, you can unlock it through the User Dashboard. If not, please send email to

Renew your account

All HPC accounts (Helix and Biowulf) must be renewed each year. Users need to fill out the form at The form is restricted to the NIH network, and requires authentication with your NIH login username and password. Users who cannot access the form should contact for help. Users must select their IC and PI on the form, and provide a 1-2 sentence description of their research. Users are asked to fill out the form in September of each year, and PIs are asked to approve in October.

Connect to Biowulf

See the webpage about Connecting to Biowulf

Display graphical output

To display simple graphical output, such as PDF, JPEG, or PNG files, connect to Helix or Biowulf using X11. For running application GUIs or more advanced graphical displays, use NX as your X11 server.

Transfer Files

To process data on the NIH HPC systems, the data needs to reside on the /home or /data areas. If your data is on your local desktop or server, it will need to be transferred to the NIH HPC systems. There are several methods such as GUI file transfer clients, scriptable commandlines, and Globus available for file transfer. See the file transfer page for details.

Request more Disk Space

Fill out the form at You can only request a quota increase for your own /data area or for a shared area where you are the group owner.

If you need a new group area where members of your group can all read and write files, fill out the form at

Share Data

There are several options for sharing data, depending on whether you want to share one-time, occasionally, or regularly, and depending on whether you want to share with an HPC user, a collaborator at NIH or a collaborator outside NIH. See the Sharing Data page for details.

Make Changes to a Group

Fill out the form at Only group owners are allowed to make changes to a group.

Deal with File Permissions

Understand how Linux permissions allow or deny access to files, and how to determine and change permissions is described on the Managing Access Permissions page.