Pan-European High Performance Computing infrastructure and services (PRACE)
To create a world-class pan-European High Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure and to provide state-of-the-art services accessible by users independently of their location, by pooling, integrating and rationalising the HPC resources at EU level.
Proposals should address all the following activities:
- Provide a seamless and efficient Europe-wide Tier-0 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 academia and industry users, including Centres of Excellence on HPC;
- Support software implementations (i.e. through high level support teams), helping Tier-0 users and communities in adapting and adopting novel software solutions to cope with the rapidly evolving HPC architectural and programming environment landscape;
- Collaborate with Centres of Excellence on HPC and other national and EU funded activities that focus on similar or complementary activities for HPC codes and applications;
- Identify and support new user needs and ensure openness to new user communities and new applications; reach out to scientific and industrial communities, promoting industrial take-up of HPC services in particular by SMEs;
- Carry out activities (such as service prototyping, software development, etc.) that build on national HPC capabilities (Tier-1) and are necessary to support Tier-0 services and a functional European HPC ecosystem;
- Run training and skills development programmes tailored to the research needs of academia and industry and relevant public services and transfer of know-how for the use of HPC; Coordinate at European level such programmes in cooperation with the Centres of Excellence on HPC;
- Implement inclusive and equitable governance and a flexible business model to ensure long term financial sustainability;
- Support the development of 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, in particular in the context of EuroHPC;
- Coordinate activities 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 and for the testing and demonstration of such exascale solutions;
- Develop an international cooperation policy and associated activities in the area of HPC.
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. Appropriate KPIs should be provided addressing all the above activities and allowing the assessment of the progress towards the objectives, both in terms of outputs and ultimate impact.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 22 and 24 million would allow this this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts or duration.
- Improved services and procedures for large user access, fostering openness to new users and applications, to world-class HPC infrastructure resources and services.
- Increased amount of computing cycles available to researchers at European level through user-friendly and efficient procedures for helping Europe staying at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and innovation.
- Increased number of research communities, industrial organisations (in particular SMEs), and institutional users benefiting from access to services including training in HPC.
- 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.
Socio-economic science and humanities
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.