Securing HPC using federated authentication

Andrew Prout, Anna Klein, Peter Michaleas, Lauren Milechin, Julie Mullen, Antonio Rosa, Siddharth Samsi, Charles Yee, Albert Reuther, Jeremy Kepner, William Arcand, David Bestor, Bill Bergeron, Chansup Byun, Vijay Gadepally, Michael Houle, Matthew Hubbell, Michael Jones

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Federated authentication can drastically reduce the overhead of basic account maintenance while simultaneously improving overall system security. Integrating with the user's more frequently used account at their primary organization both provides a better experience to the end user and makes account compromise or changes in affiliation more likely to be noticed and acted upon. Additionally, with many organizations transitioning to multi-factor authentication for all account access, the ability to leverage external federated identity management systems provides the benefit of their efforts without the additional overhead of separately implementing a distinct multi-factor authentication process. This paper describes our experiences and the lessons we learned by enabling federated authentication with the U.S. Government PKI and In Common Federation, scaling it up to the user base of a production HPC system, and the motivations behind those choices. We have received only positive feedback from our users.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728150208
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event2019 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2019 - Waltham, United States
Duration: Sep 24 2019Sep 26 2019

Publication series

Name2019 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2019


Conference2019 IEEE High Performance Extreme Computing Conference, HPEC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Federated Authentication
  • Federated Identity Management
  • High Performance Computing
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • PKI
  • Public Key Infrastructure
  • Security


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