Getting a computer account in STAR

  1. Introduction
  2. Getting an account and performing work at BNL



First of all, if you are a new user, WELCOME to the RHIC/STAR collaboration and experiment. STAR is located at Brookhaven National Laboratory and is one of the premier particle detectors in the world.

As a (new) STAR user, you will need to be granted access to our BNL Tier0 computing facility in order to have access to the offline and online infrastructure and resources. This includes accessing BNL from remote or directly while visiting us on site. Access includes access to data, experiment, mailing lists, desktop computer for visitors to name only those. As a National Facility under the Department of Energy (DOE) regulations, a few steps are required for this to happen. Please, follow them precisely and make sure you understand their relevance.


The DOE requires proper credentials for anyone accessing a computing "resource" and expect such individual to keep credentials up-to-date i.e. in good standing. It is YOUR responsibility to keep valid credentials with Brookhaven National Laboratory's offices. Credentials include: being a valid and active STAR member, having a valid and active guest/user ID and appointment, having and keeping proper trainings. Any missing component would cause an immediate closure of access to computing resources.

In many cases, we rely on account name matching the one created at the RCF (for example, Hypernews or Drupal accounts need exact match to be approved) - this is enforced so we can accurately rely on the work already done by the RCF personnel and only base our automation on "RCF account exist and is active". The RCF personnel work with the user's office and other agencies to verify your credentials.

If you were a STAR user before and seek to re-activate your account, this page also has information for you.


Getting an account and performing work at BNL

Note that along the process of requesting either an appointment or a computing account implies a check from the facility and user office personnel of your good standing with RHIC/STAR as the affiliated experiment. Therefore, we urge you to follow the steps as described below

ALL USERS - Ensure/Verify you are affiliated to STAR in our records

Whenever you join a group affiliated with STAR, please
  • Ask your council representative that he/she sends your information to the collaboration's record keeping person (at this point in time, this person is Liz Mogavero).
    Note: Your council representative IS the one responsible for keeping the list of authors and active members at all times. We will not (and cannot) consider requests coming from other STAR members.
  • Pro-actively check the presence of your name and record in our Phone Book.
    Note: If you are not in our Phone Book, you are simply NOT a STAR user as far as we know as our PhoneBook is the central repository of active STAR members as defined by the STAR council representatives. 

New users in STAR

  1. Request a Guest appointment
    You must be sure you have a valid guest appointment with the BNL User Office.

    1: Requesting a Guest ID requires a procedure called “Foreign Visit and Assignment”. This procedure involves steps such as background checks with Counter Intelligence and approval from the Department of State. The procedure could take up to 60 days from the time it is started (sensitive countries may take 90 days).
    Note2 : If you have done this already and are a valid Guest, please go to to this section.

    • Go to the Guest Registration Form and complete the registration as instructed.
      • Purpose of Visit: likely "Research" but if you come for other purposes, chose as appropriate ("CRADA" or "Interview" may apply for example) 
      • Experiment/Facility:  "Physics Dept (RHIC/AGS)"
      • Facility Code: "RHIC"
      • Type of Research: "STAR"
      • Type of Access Requested: likely "Open Research" if you stated your visit purpose as "Research"
      • Subject Code for this Visit/Assignment: likely "General Physics"
  2. Be patient and wait for further instructions and the approval.
    • ONLY AFTER THE FIRST STEPS will you be able to proceed with the rest of the instructions below.
    • We will assume that you, from now on, have a valid Guest appointment and hold a Guest/BNL ID.
  3. Ensure you have the required and mandatory training
    You MUST take the Cyber Security training and course GE-CYBERSEC. This training is mandatory and access to the facility computing resources will NOT be granted without it.
    You are also requested to read the Personal User Agreement which describes your responsibilities, the reasonable use and scope of personal use of computing equipments. In recent years, the BNL User Office have requested for the form to be signed and returned for their records. Please, do not skip any of those steps.
  4. Request an RCF account
    To request a new RCF account, start here. The fields are explained on this instruction page.
    Note: There is a "Contact information" field which is aimed to be filled using an existing RHIC member (holder of a valid account and appointment) who can vouch for you. Put your council representative or team lead name there OR (in case of interview / CRADA etc...) the name of your contact and host at BNL. DO NOT use your own name for this field. DO NOT use the name a person who is NOT yet a STAR Member.
  5. Additional steps are described below.

Previously a STAR user

If you were a STAR user before and consulting those pages, it may mean that either
  1. you cannot remember how to login and need access but you are in good standing (all training valid, your BNL appointment is valid)
  2. you have let your training expire but you are a valid BNL guest (your appointment with BNL has NOT expired)
  3. your BNL appointment is about to expire or has expired not long ago
  4. you are a RHIC user (from another experiment), and now coming to STAR
The instructions follows:
  • First of all, please make sure you are in the STAR PhoneBook as indicated here.
    If you were a member of another experiment before, you will be joining STAR as either a member of an existing institution or joining as a new institution. All membership handling are the responsibilities of the STAR council (approval of new institutions) or your council representative. In both cases, we MUST find your name in our PhoneBook records.
  • Instructions for the several use cases above
    1. If you are in good standing but cannot remember your login information at the RCF facility, please see Account re-activation
    2. You have let your BNL training expire - likely, you have not renewed or taken GE-CYBERSEC training available from the training page (please locate in the list at the bottom the course named GE-CYBERSEC). Within 24 hours of the training being taken/renewed again, the privilege to access the BNL computing resources using your RCF account will be re-established (the process will be automatic).
    3. Your appointment is about to expire, or has expired not long ago - you will need to go to the Extension requests .
      The Guest Central interface will help identifying your status and appointment expiration. This form could be used by users already having a BNL Guest ID. If you have let your appointment expire for a long time however, this form may let you know (or not show your old BNL badge/guest ID at all). In such a case, you should consider yourself as a "New user" and follow the first set of instructions above.
      For an appointment renewal, the starting point will be the Guest Extension Form.
    4. If you were a user before and now coming to STAR, you will need to follow
    5. Additional steps are described below.

Additional steps for everyone

  1. Generate and upload your SSH keys to ensure secure login
    You may now read SSH Keys and login to the SDCC and following information in this section.
  2. Drupal access
    1. Log in to RCF node to verify your account username/password working
    2. Download 2-Factor Authentication app to your mobile device (application ranges from Google or Microsoft Authenticator, Duo Mobile, Authy, FreeOTP, Aegis, ...)
    3. Contact Dmitry Arkhipkin or Jerome Lauret on MatterMost (, choose "BNL Login" with your RCF username/password) to obtain the 2-Factor Authentication QR code.
    4. Use your RCF username/password + 2-Factor Authentication code (read from the app on your mobile device) to log in to drupal.
You may also be interested in
  • Web Access
  • You do not have access to view this node your ssh keys will need to be uploaded to a different interface if you have a need to login to the online setup - this is needed mostly by experts (not by all users in STAR).
  • Software Infrastructure for general information
  • Video Conferencing ... and the related comments at the bottom of some of those pages (viewable only if you are authenticated to Drupal).
All of those links are referenced on Software & Computing, the main page for Software and Computing ...
Wishing you a great time in STAR.