HPC Data Protection#


In the following ‘personal data’ means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person (‘data subject’); an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person; (Art. 4 GDPR).

The data storage in our HPC clusters is exclusively intended for data used as input or resulting as output of computations carried out by the user. It is strictly forbidden to store any personal data in our systems. The only exception are research projects involving personal data as described below.

Researchers working with personal data#

Researchers handling datasets containing personal data have to file their research into the register of processing activities of their research institution. Please contact your Data Protection Officer (DPO) for more information.

Former users#

Users will lose access to most services of VUB-HPC as soon as they are no longer registered as students or staff of VUB. This usually happens on the closing date of the student program or employment contract with VUB.

The VSC account of former users is disabled 7 days after they are no longer registered as students or staff of VUB. At this point, the remaining services of VUB-HPC will become inaccessible:

  • login to HPC clusters through SSH

  • job submission to HPC clusters


Former users might still be able to access some university services through their VUB account even after loosing their student or staff status.

Data retention#

Different data retention policies apply depending on the type of storage holding the data:

  • Personal partitions: $VSC_HOME, $VSC_DATA, $VSC_SCRATCH

    All your data will be kept at least for 6 months after the closure of your VSC account.

  • Virtual organization: $VSC_DATA_VO_USER, $VSC_SCRATCH_VO_USER

    All data in your VO will be kept for as long as the VO is operational. Data in VOs belongs to the research group of the VO and hence, the head of the unit is the responsible to manage that data.

Sharing data from closed accounts#


All users should take action to arrange and transfer any data in the HPC before their VSC account is closed. Check Data transfer for options on how to move data out of the HPC cluster.

Data stored in the HPC infrastructure of VUB is ultimately owned by VUB. Data stored in Virtual Organizations ($VSC_DATA_VO, $VSC_SCRATCH_VO) is data already shared with the group of users of the VO and belongs to the research group of the VO. Therefore, the head of the unit of the VO is responsible for managing that data. All user data in your VO will be kept for as long as the VO is operational. Data of any former user found in a VO will not be modified by the VUB-HPC admins after the departure of the user and access will continue to be granted to the active members of the VO.

VUB-HPC will not share any data stored in your personal partitions of the HPC cluster ($VSC_HOME, $VSC_DATA, $VSC_SCRATCH) without the explicit consent of the person responsible for that data. In agreement with European data protection rules (GDPR), VUB-HPC cannot disclose any personal data that could be potentially found in your files. Depending on the circumstances, the person responsible of former user’s data will be:

  1. the former user if still reachable

  2. research director of the former user

  3. head of department of the former user

  4. DPO of the institute of the former user

Transfer of data from the personal storage of a closed account can be requested by sending the form below, duly filled in, to VUB-HPC Support. Any request to transfer data from a closed account should be specific and describe the nature of the files to be transferred to avoid disclosing any personal data in the user’s account. Upon reception of the request, the HPC team will require the approval of the person responsible for that data.

Data Transfer Request Form
  • Name of the person requesting the data transfer:

  • Function/Position of the person requesting the data transfer:

  • Username of the owner of the data:

  • Username of the recipient:

  • Description of the data being transferred (file formats, generic contents, research project):

  • Current location of the data: