Accessing ExCL

Thanks for your interest in the Experimental Computing Laboratory (ExCL) at ORNL. We provide access to researchers using the following criteria: 1) the researcher can demonstrate a need for experimental computer science on ExCL resources, 2) the researcher can show a sufficient level of competency with the target resource and privilege level, and 3) ExCL staff has sufficient resources in terms of hardware and staff to satisfy the researcher’s request.

To use ExCL, researches need to have an approved project and an active account. The checklist below enumerates the steps for applying for access. We make project awards on at least a quarterly basis to industry, academia, laboratories, and others. Duration of projects is typically three or six months. Some systems have restrictions on access, such as the requirement for an NDA with the vendor, that we must navigate for each user, which may extend the time required for approval.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact


To apply for access to ExCL Systems, you must follow these steps:

Step A – Apply for or obtain project approval

  1. If you are already working with an approved ExCL Project, then use the assigned project ID, and continue to Step B.
  2. Otherwise, you must submit a proposal for a project:
    1. ExCL has a quarterly review of proposals that allows new projects to start at the beginning of the following quarter (Jan 1, Apr 1, Jul 1, Oct 1). See the request for proposals for more details.
    2. ExCL also accepts discretionary proposals throughout the year, but these allocations are smaller and short-term. The project application form is available at
    3. Upon approval of your project, you will be emailed a project-id, and you can continue to Step B.

Step B – Applying for an ExCL user account

Users involved with an approved and activated ExCL project can apply for a user account associated with the project. There are several steps in receiving a user account:

  1. Review the ExCL User Agreement and Policy.
  2. Create an ORNL Account ID, if you do not already have one
    • If you are an ORNL researcher (staff or existing external user) and have a UCAMS or XCAMS ID, continue to Step 3.
    • Otherwise, create an XCAMS ID at
  3. Apply for an account using the Account Request Form.

Step C – Reviews

  1. The ExCL Team will directly contact your ExCL project principal investigator (PI) to approve your account and system access.
  2. If you have or need an RSA SecurID from ORNL, additional paperwork will be sent to you via email to complete for identity proofing.
  3. Foreign national participants will be sent an Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) Personnel Access System (PAS) request specifically for ExCL and cyber-only access. After receiving your response, it takes between 15-35 days for approval.
  4. If you are requesting proprietary access, additional reviews are required and we will contact you within 2 days.

Step D – Receive account activation and start research!!

When all of the above steps are completed, your user account will be created and you will be notified by email.