Helpdesk services are an important and time intensive component of our work. We understand that the HPC hardware itself is only one part of a viable and useful HPC facility, while the other critical component includes knowledgeable and expert staff that not only train and guide the user community but also troubleshoot its day to day problems. All our staff is expected to be involved in responding to user queries and troubleshooting problems on a daily basis. The problems we respond to range from the trivial and mundane to complex long-drawn out diagnosis of unexpected system or application behaviors. Consequently, while we can often provide resolutions to commonly encountered problems within minutes, at other times we may need days or weeks to properly reproduce, understand and resolve a complex issue.
The primary mechanism for seeking assistance from Research Computing is by sending email to "email@example.com". The service desk email address and back-end ticketing system are managed by the IT department, which is an organizational unit distinct and separate from Research Computing. The IT service desk staff perform the important function of sifting through and categorizing requests from the user community, and where appropriate, assigning certain requests to other organizational units such as Research Computing. Requests sent to the service desk typically reach our work queue within tens of minutes during business hours. Important guidance on how best to formulate your requests can be found here.
Apart from email requests, users may also visit us in person in room 125 within the Texas A&M at Qatar building. Since we do not have staff dedicated exclusively to the helpdesk function at all times, we may not be available for an immediate walk-in meeting, but when we are, we are happy to help right away. Naturally, one on one meetings may also be scheduled in advance for this purpose.