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Support to the next implementation phase of Pan-European High Performance Computing infrastructure and services (PRACE)
Deadline: Mar 30, 2016  

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 International Cooperation
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

In order to create a world-class pan-European High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure and to provide state-of-the-art services with access by users, independently of their location, the HPC resources need to be further pooled, integrated and rationalised. Horizon 2020 is a key element to support the European strategy on High Performance Computing which sets the way forward, in particular regarding the access to the best supercomputing facilities and services for both industry and academia. This topic is synergetic to the activities of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in HPC in order to fully implement the European HPC strategy.


Proposals will address all points below:

(1) Provide a seamless and efficient Europe-wide Tier-0[[Tier-0 are those services provided at pan-European level with machines devoted to the pan-European infrastructure for a significant fraction of cycles (to be agreed with the Commission) and having a minimum performance level to be periodically defined by the consortium]] service to users, based on promoting research excellence and innovation; this includes peer-review procedures for the allocation of computing time; transparent billing; and specific services adapted to the needs of users, including ESFRI projects, Horizon 2020 projects/programmes, large institutional users or industry.

(2) Carry out activities (training, service prototyping, software development etc.) that build on national HPC capabilities (Tier-1) and are necessary to support Tier-0 services or a functional European HPC ecosystem;

(3) Ensure openness to new user communities and new applications; promote industrial take-up of HPC services in particular by SMEs;

(4) Implement inclusive and equitable governance and a flexible business model to ensure long term financial sustainability; the business model should allow financial or in-kind contributions by research projects/programmes, institutions, industry and regions or countries; based on an auditable cost model for the operation of HPC Centres providing European services with different financing sources;

(5) Develop and maintain the strategy for the deployment of a rich HPC environment of world-class systems with different machine architectures - evolving towards exascale - including the implementation roadmap at EU and national level, taking into account financial aspects, best practices for reduction of operating and energy costs, and the specifications and technical requirements for a varied set of Tier-0 systems ensuring a broad coverage of user needs;

(6) Working in synergy with the European Technology Platform for HPC (ETP4HPC) and the Centres of Excellence in HPC applications in support of the European HPC strategy towards the next generation of computing systems, technologies and applications. In particular, the mechanisms to be put in place by PRACE for the provision of technical specifications to guide research activities for future exascale prototypes and systems, for the testing and demonstration of such exascale solutions, for the identification of new user needs in the use of next generation computing systems evolving towards exascale, and for the reaching out to scientific and industrial communities and the transfer of know-how for the use of HPC.

(7) Design and execute training and skills development programmes tailored to the needs of research in academia and industry and relevant public services in order to stay at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs, as well as introduction of scientific computing and HPC in academic curricula;

(8) Develop an international cooperation policy and associated activities in the area of HPC aiming at systems interoperation.

The PRACE infrastructure should provide core and basic services in coordination with other e-infrastructure providers to promote interoperability and a seamless user experience. Interworking with other computing infrastructures such as clouds and grids should be ensured.

Expected Impact:

The successful response to this area will improve services and procedures for user access to HPC infrastructure resources and services. Allocation schemes fostering openness to new user communities and applications will increased the amount of computing cycles available to researchers at European level through user-friendly and efficient procedures. This will help Europe staying at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and innovation. This initiative will increase the number of industrial organisations (in particular SMEs), EU projects and institutional users benefiting from access to services including training in HPC. Benefits will also translate in increased investment in HPC infrastructure in Europe (national, regional and EU), long term financial sustainability through flexible business models and inclusive governance, better coordination between demand and supply in the European HPC ecosystem, with improved collaboration of the users and procurers with technology developers and suppliers to foster innovation.

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