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Joining the ATLAS VO

by John S. De Stefano Jr. last modified Jan 12, 2017 09:20 AM
How to register with Human Resources at CERN, and register to join the ATLAS virtual organization.

CERN HR registration

CERN requires everyone who is part of ATLAS or US ATLAS to be registered with CERN HR. It generally takes anywhere from two days to one week for CERN HR to process your registration. Since it is necessary to register before moving on to the next step in the process of joining the ATLAS VO, it is to your advantage to complete this step as soon as possible.

Check your registration status:

  1. Browse to the CERN Graybook site.
  2. Select ATLAS as the Experiment, enter your Last name in Family Name, and click Search.
    • If you can find yourself in the result, then you are already registered with CERN.
    • If you cannot find yourself in the result, then you must register with CERN.
  3. Also check the more recent CERN Phonebook or The ATLAS Directory to ensure you're not listed there.

To register with CERN (if necessary):

  1. Download and complete the ATLAS Registration form at
    Since it this a PDF document, you may or may not be able to edit it and send it via e-mail. Use the following information to complete the form:
    • CERN OFFICE AND PHONE NUMBER - leave blank.
    • ATLAS AUTHORLIST - if you are not a physicist, and do not know what this means, answer NO.
    • HOME ADDRESS WHEN AT CERN - leave blank.

      Note: this completed form must be signed by your team leader, or it will be considered incomplete and invalid.

  2. E-mail or fax (+41 22 767 8350) the completed form to
  3. Send a copy of your license or passport via fax to +41 22 767 8350.

You will be contacted by the ATLAS Secretariat to confirm your registration.

Register with ATLAS through VOMS (Virtual Organization Management Service)

Access to ATLAS grid resources is granted by joining the ATLAS VO. This is a three-step process that is accomplished entirely via the web using the VOMS service.  Before proceeding:

You'll not be able to proceed with these steps until you've obtained a grid certificate and installed it into your browser. If your organization does not provide or recommend a specific certificate authority (CA), you can request a certificate from the CERN CA.

Register for the ATLAS VO

  1. Browse to the ATLAS VOMS server.
    Note that your personal certificate DN and Certificate Authority are noted on the registration page. If they are not, then you will need to install your certificate into your browser before proceeding.
  2. Complete all text fields; all are required:
    • Given (first) name
    • Family (last) name
    • Institution
    • Phone number (at your institution)
    • Address (at your institution)
    • Email address (this address must match your primary email address as registered with your CERN user account)
  3. Read The VO AUP agreement, and click the check box to acknowledge and agree to the policy terms.
  4. Click Submit.
  5. You will be presented with a "Confirmation Required" page, which refers to an email you will receive, including a link to confirm your registration request (or to cancel your request if it was made in error). This link will remain valid for a one-week activation period. Please use this confirmation link before the expiration date, or your registration application will be discarded automatically.
  6. Following the confirmation link should result in a page that confirms your VO membership request, and informs you that a VO administrator will handle your request as soon as possible.
    You will receive an other confirmation email when your request has been confirmed.
    If you receive an error message that your email address is not registered at CERN, you may need to wait a day or two after your registration has been confirmed so that your information can be completely processed.

Request group membership and specialized roles

  1. Once your VO membership has been confirmed, browse to your ATLAS VO VOMS user page, scroll down to Your groups and roles, and ensure that you have membership in the proper groups:
    • /atlas (all ATLAS VO members need to be in this group, which should be automatically granted upon joining the ATLAS VO)
    • /atlas/usatlas (only needed for US ATLAS group members; members of other groups or clouds should request membership in their proper groups)
    • Note that the /atlas/lcg1 VO group is no longer needed for ATLAS grid authorization. There is no need to request or apply for membership in the lcg1 VO group.
  2. If a group membership is still required, choose the desired group from the drop-down list, and then click Request membership. The group managers will review and either grant or reject your membership request.
  3. Specialized resource managers or production users may also require an additional role to be assigned to their membership, such as software or production. Note that such roles are not necessary for most VO users, and requests for these roles are closely scrutinized by group managers and not granted needlessly.
    Note also that before you can be granted such a role, you must have membership in the group for which you wish to request that role.
    To request a role: in Your groups and roles, select the role from the pull-down menu next to the appropriate group name, and click Request role. The group managers will review and either grant or reject your role request.

Current issues

After a recent migration of the VOMRS service to the new VOMS Admin service, a few issues affect user registration and membership:

Nickname mismatches

Some users' 'nickname' attributes have been incorrectly assigned or lost. The nickname in VOMS must exactly match your CERN user account name, or VOMS will not be able to perform user authentication. If your nickname is set incorrectly, or not at all, the current procedure is to email the ATLAS VO Admin list to request that this be fixed.

Primary email address mismatches

Changing your CERN primary email address to anything but the original address, including any aliases, also causes a mismatch with VOMS records and will invalidate your VO membership. If you have created an email alias and set it as the primary address for your CERN account, please modify your email address record in VOMS to match. If you are unable to change your email address in VOMS, or doing so does not resolve this issue, the current procedure is to email the ATLAS VO Admin list to request a change in your email address record such that it matches that of your CERN user account primary email.

Mismatched name records

Users may encounter strange messages when attempting to access the VOMS Admin service, referring to a missing ID in the session, or being flagged inappropriately without a VO membership. The most common cause for this issue is a mismatch in a user's full name between their CERN user account record and VOMS, and this is most commonly caused when part of the full name, such as a middle name or suffix, has been lost in the VOMS record.  If you suspect a similar name record mismatch, the current procedure is to open a CERN Service Now ticket with the VOMS service, and request restoration of your name record such that it matches that of your CERN user account full name.

Adding certificates

If your certificate has changed, or a new certificate authority (CA) has issued your certificate, you may need to add your new certificate to your existing VO membership. See our relevant documentation for instructions.

Next steps

Once you are approved as a member of the ATLAS VO, you can install your grid certificate and begin using grid software. Note that there may be up to 24 hours of lag between your final approval and the point at which all ATLAS sites worldwide will recognize your credentials.

You may want to visit Setting Up the ATLAS Grid Environment to help you set up your environment and create a grid proxy.

You may also need more information on getting your certificate approved for use on certain grid servers, or more information on grid certificates and tools.

Troubleshooting and FAQ

For more information on using grid certificates, VO membership, VOMS, and troubleshooting, please refer to our FAQ.

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