The HECToR Service is now closed and has been superceded by ARCHER.

What is this?

In contracts, a variety of terms may be implied by law, that is, they are treated as if they are there, even though they are not included in the text.

For example, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 deals with goods being fit for the purpose and of satisfactory quality. The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 says that reasonable care and skill will be used in providing services. The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 deal with the time within which goods must be delivered.

Other terms may be implied into a contract by the courts, for example because of necessity, established usage in commercial contracts, reasonableness and so on.

Because of all this, it can be difficult to decide whether any particular term applies in any particular contract or not. What the Terms and Conditions are doing is to exclude all these various warranties and conditions, so as to add some clarity to our obligations and our relationship with our users. Instead, the Terms and Conditions themselves set out how far our responsibilities go, namely that the service is provided 'as is'.

This may sound like a rather raw deal for users. However, HPCx has a contract with EPSRC which lays down a lot of conditions and standards which we must meet, and specifies penalties if we fail to do so. In the last resort, EPSRC could even take over the service from us. If in addition we were liable to each individual user for any mishap with the service, our position would become impossible.

The backup policies we will follow are good and secure, and will cover most conceivable eventualities, but it is impossible to be 100% certain. Our recommendation is that in using the service you should take the usual precautions you would take with any computer system: keep copies of essential data and codes, copy your most important results away to your home machine, and so on. Almost certainly, all this will be unnecessary, but it is as well to be sure.