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User Mailing

ICHEC mail #20

Posted: 2006-03-31

Dear ICHEC users,


1. Transition to the full national service
2. First call for Class A applications
3. Changes in scheduling policies, charging and accounting
4. Changes on login nodes
5. 2nd ICHEC User Group Meeting
6. IAHPC workshop

1 – Transition to the full national service

As indicated in earlier mailings, the transitional service (TS) will come to an end on 31st May 2006. Access will be discontinued for anyone not supported under the Full National Service (FNS). FNS applications have been accepted from 1st February, with a total of 12 Class C and 4 Class B projects already accepted to date (http://www.ichec.ie/research). A further 4 Class B applications are currently being reviewed by the Scientific Council.

A number of measures have been put in place to incite potential applicants to apply early rather than wait until the end of the TS. Thus,

- FNS batch jobs will be granted a better QoS than TS batch jobs, hence benefit from a faster turn-around time.

- resources granted to FNS projects will not be charged until 1st June 2006, so in effect benefiting from the same "free for all" policy as TS projects.

As the Scientific Council will not be able to process a very large number of applications within a short period, we strongly recommend potential PIs to submit their application to the FNS as soon as possible (instead of waiting until May). Failure to do so may result in delays in the review process, and subsequent breaks of access (for late applicants) when the TS is discontinued.

For further information on how to apply to the full service, see http://www.ichec.ie/full_national_service and carefully read the application guidelines at http://www.ichec.ie/application_guidelines.

2 – First call for Class A applications

ICHEC is now inviting proposals for Class A ("Grand Challenge") applications.

Class A applications will typically be submitted by consortia concerned with "Grand Challenge" problems, and are expected to yield high-impact scientific publications. These groups will require resources representing a substantial fraction of the centre's resources over a long period. As such, we only anticipate supporting a total of 7 such projects over the lifetime of the service.

Applicants considering applying for a Class A project 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 Class C access 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.

Key characteristics of Class A project:

- Maximum duration: 24 months
- IBM 1350 cluster (Walton)
- Compute resources: up to 650,000 CPU hours
- Storage resources: up to 500 GB
- Bull NS6320 shared memory (Hamilton)
- Compute resources: up to 40,000 CPU hours.
- Storage resources: 100 GB

Applications will be peer-reviewed to international standards, and applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application within 8 weeks of the closing date. The deadline for application is Tuesday 2nd May, 9am.

Further information can be found at http://www.ichec.ie/full_national_service. A copy of the application guidelines can be found at http://www.ichec.ie/application_guidelines.

3 – Changes in scheduling policies, charging and accounting

Two changes will take effect on Monday 10th April:

a/ the maximum job size on Walton will be brought down from 256 CPUs to only 128 CPUs.

b/ Use of the -A flag in PBS scripts will be compulsory. The syntax is as follows:

#PBS -A <project_code>

See the ICHEC User Mailing #18 at http://www.ichec.ie/newsletters for further information.

4 – Changes on login nodes

A load balancing system is now in operation on the login nodes to dynamically start user sessions on the login node with the lowest load. Any new login carried out within 10 minutes of the original session will be directed to the same host.

Note that you may bypass this mechanism by specifying the login node's hostname in place of the generic address walton.ichec.ie, e.g.:

ssh walton.ichec.ie

will log you on one of the three login nodes

ssh l2cu27.ichec.ie

will log you on this specific login nodes, irrespective of its current load. The two other login nodes are l2cu28 and l2cu29.

Obviously we recommend using the generic address walton.ichec.ie.

5 – 2nd ICHEC User Group Meeting

The second ICHEC Users Group Meeting will take place on Tuesday 25th April 2006 (11am - 2pm), at the School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 2.

Further details will be circulated in the next User Mailing.

6 – IAHPC workshop

The Irish Association for High-Performance Computing (IAHPC) will be holding a two day workshop on 8th-9th June at the Tyndall Institute in Cork.

This meeting will include a series of presentations by HPC experts from EPCC and Daresbury Laboratories, so anyone with interest in HPC is warmly invited to take part in this event.

Further information will appear shortly at www.iahpc.ie.

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