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Guides for BlueCrystal users

Please also refer to the Support page for links to BlueCrystal user guides and details of how to request help with a specific problem.

Reference guides

BlueCrystal quick reference guide

This quick reference guide for both new and experienced users gives a summary of useful commands when using BlueCrystal.

Topics include:

  • Configuring your environment
  • Using the queueing system
  • Useful commands

Emacs reference card

Emacs is a text editor that offers more support to programmers, through its various modes, than more generic editors, such as gedit or nano. Emacs uses a large number of key combinations as time-saving short cuts. The guide is a handy quick reference to the most commonly used key combinations.

Topics include:

  • Files
  • Formatting
  • Regular expressions

ACRC 'How-To' guides

We have developed some short 'How-To' guides. Let us know if there are other topics you would like to see in this series.

Getting Started with Compiler Flags
  • Introduces compiler flags which can help to optimize our programs for speed
  • Analyse the performance of our programs
  • Find bugs.
Using Accelerators - GPUs and Co-processors - on BlueCrystal Phase 3
  • An overview of the physical make-up of accelerators
  • Their computational strengths and weaknesses
  • How you can practically make use of them
Customising Environment Variables
  • Setting variables to help you run programs and applications.
  • Setting variables in your shell start-up files--such as your .bashrc file--so that customisations are in place automatically, whenever you login.
  • Using environment modules, such as those available on bluecrystal, to achieve customisations in a more convenient manner.
Linking to Libraries
  • A short explanation of the difference between static and dynamic linking
  • Examples of using the GNU C and Fortran compilers to link to the LAPACK library of routines for linear algebra
  • A description of how the 'reference' LAPACK, OpenBLAS and SLATEC libraries can be built from source code.
Recipes for Using Allinea's DDT Parallel Debugger on BlueCrystal Phase 3
  • Building your Program.
  • Using DDT to Submit a Job to the Queuing System.
  • Attaching DDT to a Job Already Running.
Running MATLAB on BlueCrystal
Submitting job arrays to BlueCrystal Phase 3
  • Submitting all your jobs with a single command.
  • Modifying (or deleting) all, or a range of your jobs, again with a single command.
  • An example submission script.
Using Intel VTune Amplifier on BlueCrystal Phase 3
  • Preparing your application
  • Performing a Hotspot Analysis in Batch Mode
  • Profiling Multi-threaded Code and MPI code
Running large memory jobs on BlueCrystal Phase 3
  • Running large memory jobs on standard nodes.
  • Running large memory jobs on high memory nodes.
  • Running large memory jobs on a vSMP node.


External links

The following links may be of use:

Tutorials from the first SCAT summer school - topics include parallel computing, MPI and PETSc.

Operating Systems

Unix tutorials -

A useful list of Linux commands with short explanations -


PETSc tutorial -


MPI tutorial -


Software lectures -

C++ tutorials -

Fortran tutorials -


If you would like any advice on using ARCHER, the UK national supercomputer, contact Christopher Woods in the ACRC.



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