Innovatives Supercomputing in Deutschland
inSiDE • Vol. 11 No. 2 • Autumn 2013
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PRACE Projects meet in Varna

Over 100 researchers from the three PRACE Implementation Phase projects convened for their annual all-hands meeting in Varna, Bulgaria, from 3 to 5 June 2013. These meetings are a unique opportunity to inform the participants in the projects about the current status and achievements of PRACE, coordinate and synchronize the work between the work packages, and plan the steps for the coming year.

Starting in 2010 the European Commission supported the implementation of the PRACE Research Infrastructure with a total of 57 million Euro. The grants were awarded to three individual, partly overlapping projects. Although the overall objective for all three is supporting the accelerated implementation of the pan-European high-end computing Research Infrastructure created and operated by PRACE, each of them has a specific focus.

Careful planning coordination is essential to avoid duplication of work in the 29 work packages and among the nearly 400 collaborators from 25 countries especially if the descriptions sound similar like dissemination, training, operations, or application support. Each of the three projects has to cover these areas and does so addressing complementary aspects or taking over after completion of a predecessor project. A key element to achieve this is the fact that Jülich Supercomputing Centre is the coordinator of all three PRACE projects.

On Monday, June 3, highlights of PRACE-1IP were presented. This provided a comprehensive overview of the results achieved in the first project’s years setting the stage for the follow-on projects PRACE-2IP and PRACE-3IP. The majority of the work was completed in 2012 and approved by the European Commission. Until the end of 2013 the evaluation of prototypes for multi-petascale technology and the porting of applications to the emerging Intel MIC technology will complete the work. Prof. Thomas Lippert, coordinator of the project, stressed that the project has been an indispensable step for the implementation of the PRACE Research Infrastructure. Among its many achievements, he highlighted in particular the initiation and support for the update of the Scientific Case for HPC in Europe that supports the efforts of PRACE Research Infrastructure to maintain HPC as a high-priority item on the political agenda in Europe.

The remaining two days were dedicated to in-depth discussions of the future work of the PRACE-2IP and PRACE-3IP projects within the individual work package and between related work packages. The largest part of the work of PRACE-2IP will end in August; therefore, an important topic was the handover to PRACE-3IP of ongoing activities such as application enabling support, operation of the six PRACE Advanced Training Centres (PATC), operation of the distributed HPC infrastructure, and the Distributed European Computing Initiative (DECI) calls, which provide access to national HPC resources (Tier-1). The final arrangements for ISC’13 in Leipzig were made. This included the PRACE booth at the exhibition, the ‘Dare to think the Impossible’ outreach campaign to be launched at ISC’13 and the PRACE Scientific Conference 2013. Another major element of PRACE-3IP is a joint pre-commercial procurement (PCP) pilot, focusing on whole system design for energy-efficient HPC. The PCP tender will be published in October, and the meeting provided a good opportunity to continue preparing the documents for the related focused EC review.

The PRACE projects are especially grateful to Prof. Stoyan Markov and his team from our Bulgarian partner NCSA, the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications, for organizing this very productive meeting in a secluded hotel on the Black Sea near Varna. The excellent conference facilities provided a satisfying working environment that contributed greatly to the success of this all-hands meeting.

Participants of the PRACE All-hands meeting in Varna, Bulgaria.

• Florian Berberich
• Dietmar Erwin
Jülich Supercomputing Centre

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