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Full National Service

Overview

The Full National Service is the primary mechanism through which researchers gain access to ICHEC general-purpose computing resources (Fionn). These resources are allocated to user projects that range in size from small "Discovery" (Class C) projects to large multi-year "High Impact" (Class A) projects. Researchers based in Irish third-level institutions can apply for such projects provided that they are eligible and that they follow the application process as outlined below.

Access to a limited level of resources without going through, or in addition to, the National Service application process is also available to researchers from specific institutions (DCU, DIAS, NUIG, NUIM, UCD, UL) that have "condominium shares" in ICHEC resources. More information on this type of access and the relevant procedures are available from Condominium Access.

In addition, those looking for large-scale HPC resources or specialised architectures can apply for access to systems in Europe and the US; these systems represent some of the fastest supercomputers in the world. More information is available from HPC Systems Abroad.

Please read the information provided below then apply using the online application link at the bottom of the page:

Additional information:

 

Project Classes

There are three project classes available, each with differing resource allocations, review levels and review turnaround times. Applicant should choose the class of project that best fits their requirements. Applicants are also advised to consider forming consortia with other researchers when applying.

Class A "High Impact"

Class A projects are intended for consortia concerned with high impact problems. These groups will require resources representing a substantial fraction of the centre's resources over a long period of time. Successful applications are expected to yield high-impact scientific publications.

Class A project project applicants are expected to have a good knowledge of the characteristics of the code(s) which they intend to use - such as scalability properties - before writing their proposal. For this reason, applicants who are not in such a position are advised to first apply for an exploratory Class C project in order to undertake a basic scalability and performance study. Such an exercise is essential to provide an accurate estimate and a proper justification of the resources requested. If you intend to use packages supported by ICHEC, you may contact us via the Helpdesk as we can assist you in this task.

A 'light touch' interim project report and material for inclusion in ICHEC annual reports may be requested as a requirement for continued resourcing. A more substantive report again for inclusion in annual reports may be requested at the end of a project.

Class B "Regular"

Class B projects are intended for the needs of the bulk of the research community. Typically applicants will be small research groups or individual researchers. Successful applications are expected to lead to refereed publications.

No more than 3 concurrent Class B projects from any one PI will be supported. In the case of multiple projects and periods of high contention the burn rate for all of a PI's projects may be monitored and controlled.

The resource limits for a Class B project are listed below.

Class C "Discovery"

Class C projects are intended to provide fast access to modest resources with less review overhead. They have multiple possible uses including: introductory access for inexperienced HPC users; exploratory access for researchers who need to develop, port, optimise or benchmark codes; easier access for users planning small scale runs with very modest requirements; immediate access for researchers awaiting Class A or Class B application approval.

Class C project applicants should note that the maximum resource levels are modest and will be exhausted very quickly if larger scale runs are performed.

 

Project Limits

Each project class has its own distinct limits on duration and resource allocation. The table below shows the limits imposed on the various project classes, including resources, and review processes:

  Class A
"High Impact"
Class B
"Regular"
Class C
"Discovery"
Max Processor
Core Hours
(Fionn)
6,000,000 800,000 60,000
Max Storage
(Fionn)
3,000 GB 1,000 GB 100 GB
Max Project Duration 24 Months 18 Months 12 Months
Application Acceptance Continuous[1] Continuous Continuous
Max Review Duration[2] Within 12 Weeks of submission Within 8 Weeks of submission Within 1 Week of submission

1Applicants are encouraged to contact ICHEC at the drafting stage to discuss whether ICHEC Class A or a PRACE/DECI submission is more appropriate.

2 In a minority of cases despite the best efforts of both the Science Council and ICHEC these targets are exceeded, generally in cases involving international peer review. In this event an applicant may contact ICHEC to request interim access. Resources proportional to the application will be provided until a verdict is reached. Should this be positive the advanced resources will be subtracted from the award. This measure allows applicants to proceed with their work as planned, however it in no way influences the verdict that will be reached.

The following equation should be used as a template to determine the total number of core hours required for all class of project.
Core Hrs Requested = Number Core Hrs on Thin Component + (3.2 * Number Core Hrs on Shared Memory Component) + (2.24 * Number Core Hrs on Accelerated Component)
A detailed description of each non zero component request is required within the proposal and in the online form.

 

Application Requirements

A project application requires that basic information be supplied along with a detailed project proposal document.

Basic Information

The following basic information is required to apply for a Full National Service project:

  • Project Class - The class (see above) that best suits the project requirements.
  • PI Details - Basic contact information. In the case of Class A applications details should also be provided for any co-investigators.
  • Project Details - Basic project details. This will include a title, scientific area, funding source, funding grant number, proposed start date, proposed duration, and resource requirements.
  • Abstract Document (PDF) - A short abstract document in PDF format. The contents of this document will be made publicly available.

Detailed Project Proposal

A project proposal document in PDF format is required. Please use one of the templates provided above to create the PDF. The application should provide sufficient information for review of the proposal and in particular it should show the likelihood of it generating suitable scientific output for that project class. It should also include a case for support outlining how access to ICHEC facilities will improve the applicant's research.

The following information is required for all applications:

  • Context and Outcome - How does your proposal fit within your research discipline and in what ways will it contribute to the global advancement of science? Applications for Class A projects should take care to explain the "High Impact" nature of their project.
  • Methodology - Explain the approach you intend to follow to meet your objectives. For example, which algorithm(s) and simulation technique(s) do you intend to use, which code(s), etc.

The following additional information is required for Class A and Class B applications:

  • Justification - Describe the performance and properties of the code you intend to use (assuming it already exists - if not, please specify), etc. Explain how many runs you intend to carry out, their memory requirements, expected run-times, on how many CPUs, etc. It is important that all Class A and Class B applications justify adequately the levels of resources they are applying for. In the case of shared memory, Xeon Phi or GPGPU projects the added technical complexity of using these effectively means that a greater level of technical detail is expected.
  • Workplan - Applicants are required to provide a short workplan and utilisation profile. This will assist us in determining the likely demand over time and tune our scheduling policies to optimise usage of our resources. Applicants must also specify the number and type of staff who will be undertaking the research described in the proposal (PhD students, post-docs, PI in person). Failure to provide either will result in the application being held back until such information has been provided.
  • List of Relevant Publications - Applicants should include a list of relevant publications (no more than ten) at the end of their proposal.
  • Short Biographies - Applicants should include short descriptions of research positions and successful uses of previous resource awards.

The following are the guideline proposal lengths for each project class:

  • Class A - 6-10 pages.
  • Class B - 4-5 pages.
  • Class C - 1-2 pages.

Further Guidelines to PIs

Grant award details, where applicable, are recorded for applications. Where the grant holder is the PI and is a post-doc. only their name need appear on the applications. Where the grant holder is the principal of the research group but the applicant is a post-doc., (or research student), both names should appear on the application.

Previously reviewed proposals, which have attracted major funding, should be explicitly flagged by grant details and PI name.

Inexperienced post-grads, if primarily responsible for running project jobs may be required to visit and establish contact with ICHEC personnel, to ensure efficient methodology and best use of resources. Alternatively, they should be encouraged to gain experience on Class C projects before being involved in Class B and up. The aim should be to encourage student participation, but also good practice.

Ahead of new proposal submission and in accordance with the ICHEC Acceptable Usage Policy, applicants should notify ICHEC of all publications arising out of work completed with the help of ICHEC from past projects. Simply email with the publication reference and link to the online version.

 

Application Form

To apply please fill out the relevant online application form: