There will always be limits to the scale of HPC systems which are available locally to the research community. However in so far as possible this should not hinder the ambitions of researchers. A number of access programmes exist whereby Irish based researchers can gain access to very large scale HPC resources in the US and Europe. The systems in question represent some of the world's fastest machines.
To assist users in this area ICHEC is happy to discuss appropriate hardware and access programmes. On a number of such proposals ICHEC staff have acted as co-investigators, adding their HPC experience to PI's scientific expertise to help create a multidisciplinary team which can effectively use such large scale resources.
It is ICHEC's policy to offer user support to its users when they are using external systems in much the same fashion as we do on our own systems, with obvious restrictions because ICHEC will not have administrative control of the systems. Liaising with the local administration and support teams is a key part of this effort. A number of different access schemes are outlined below all of which ICHEC has experience of working with. If you have any questions do not hesitate to get in contact.
PRACE the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe operates an access programme. Currently there are six systems available:
The next call for proposals is expected to open in September 2013. Full details of these calls can be found here: http://www.prace-ri.eu/Calls-for-Proposals. Irish based researchers who interested in applying to future calls are strongly encouraged to contact ICHEC to discuss their application.
Note: as of November 2013 the BlueGene/Q at FZJ is the 5th fastest system in the world in terms of the Top 500. With SuperMUC 6th, FERMI 9th, CURIE 11th, HERMIT 27th, and MareNostrum 36th. PRACE awards access to six supercomputers ranked within the top 50 machines in the world.
PRACE also operates a Preparatory Access scheme. The aim of this scheme is to permit rapid access to modest levels of resources to aid porting and optimisation to the six systems described above. Preparatory access is intended for testing or development of computer codes for preparation for applications for PRACE project access. Standard production runs will not be allowed as part of preparatory access. For types B and C a detailed description of code bottlenecks is very important for the assessment.
Preparatory access calls are rolling calls. There are 3 types of preparatory access:
Details of some successful Irish application's can be found here. For more information on PRACE see http://www.prace-ri.eu and http://www.prace-ri.eu/IMG/pdf/prace_preparatory_access_call.pdf or contact us.
INCITE is a US HPC access programme that is operated by the Department of Energy. It grants access to "leadership Computing Facilities" at both the Argonne and Oak Ridge National Labs.An annual call is made though applications can be for multi-year programmes. The 2011 call will allocate 1.6 billion compute hours. With the average award being in excess of 20 million hours. This programme is open to applications from European researchers. More information can be found here.
From time to time one-off programmes are run often corresponding to the commissioning of a new HPC system. The Argonne "Early Science Program" is one such programme it aims to get researchers using the next generation IBM Blue Gene being installed at Argonne National Lab in the US as early as possible. The system will be a 10 Petaflop machines with roughly 0.75 million cores. Roughly 2 billion compute hours were offered. While this call has now closed it was open to European researchers. More details can be found here.
DEISA the Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications operated an access programme called DECI (DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative) from 2004 to 2009 issuing six calls. Taken under the PRACE brand now DECI stands for the Distributed European Computing Initiative and stills provides a single-project HPC access scheme within Europe. Under the PRACE projects (PRACE-2IP), DECI has been integrated into the PRACE ecosystem of HPC facilities and services. In order to provide seamless access to users, PRACE took over the organisation, operation and dissemination of DECI scientific results.
This initiative operated as follows: