NAISS SENS and Bianca


  • We’ll briefly get an overview of kinds of sensitive data

  • … and the Bianca system

The Bianca workshop

Sensitive personal data

Apply for project

Open NAISS SENS Rounds


  • Bianca is a great platform for computationally intensive research on sensitive personal data. It can also be useful for:

    • national and international collaboration on sensitive personal data (without a high compute need)

    • other types of sensitive data

  • Bianca is not good for:

    • storing data

    • publishing data

      • unless the dataset is very popular among Bianca users, e.g. Swegen, SIMPLER

Bianca’s design

  • Bianca was designed to:

    • make accidental data leaks difficult

    • make correct data management as easy as possible

    • emulate the HPC cluster environment that SNIC/NAISS users were familiar with

    • provide a maximum amount of resources

    • satisfy regulations.

Bianca has no Internet

… but we have “solutions”


  • Bianca is only accessible from within Sunet (i.e. from university networks).

  • Use VPN outside Sunet. Link to VPN for UU

    • You can get VPN credentials from all Swedish universities.

  • The whole Bianca cluster (blue) contains hundreds of virtual project clusters (green), each of which is isolated from each other and the Internet.

  • Data can be transferred to or from a virtual project cluster through the Wharf, which is a special file area that is visible from the Internet.

The log in steps

  1. When you log in to, your SSH or ThinLinc client first meets the blue Bianca login node.

    • <username>-<projid>

    • like:

  2. After checking your 2-factor authentication, this server looks for your virtual project cluster.

  3. If it’s present, then you are transferred to a login prompt on your cluster’s login node. If not, then the virtual cluster is started.

  4. Inside each virtual project cluster, by default there is just a one-core login node. When you need more memory or more CPU power, you submit a job (interactive or batch), and an idle node will be moved into your project cluster.

Data transfers:


  • Modules library (almost same as Rackham)

  • Local Conda repository

  • Local Perl modules

  • Local R packages

  • More info at Bianca user guide



Introduction course


  • If you handle sensitive data, apply for a NAISS-SENS project

  • SENS projects will get accounts on Bianca

  • Bianca has no internet itself but there are solutions like:

    • wharf

    • transit server

    • many installed software

  • Ask support if you need additional software tools