PRACE Preparatory Access

Information on the Call for Proposals for PRACE Preparatory Access.

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The objective of PRACE Preparatory Access is to allow PRACE users to optimise, scale and test codes on PRACE Tier-0 systems before applying to PRACE calls for Project Access. Production runs are not allowed as part of PRACE Preparatory Access. Currently, PRACE offers the following schemes for Preparatory Access:

  • Type A: this scheme is intended to produce scalability plots of the performance of the codes on PRACE HPC systems, as well as other parameters that may be relevant to apply for PRACE calls for Project Access. The maximum duration of Type A projects is 2 months. To apply, go here
  • Type B: the objective of this scheme is to undertake code development and optimisation. Applicants will need* to describe the proposed work plan in detail, including the human resources and expertise available to implement the project. The maximum duration of Type B projects is 6 months. To apply, go here
  • Type C: in this scheme, PRACE experts are requested to provide the necessary support to undertake adaptations (development and optimisation) to the codes of PRACE users. The maximum support that can be requested is the equivalent to 6 person-months of effort. The maximum duration of Type C projects is 6 months. To apply, go here
  • Type D: this scheme allows PRACE users to start a code adaption and optimisation process on a PRACE Tier-1 system. PRACE experts help in the system selection process. In addition to Tier-1 computing time, the PRACE user will also receive Tier-0 computing time towards the end of the project (inform of the Type A scheme) to test the scalability improvements. The work is supported by PRACE experts. The maximum support that can be requested is the equivalent to 6 person-months of effort. The maximum duration of Type D projects is 12 months. To apply, go here

*Applicants requesting computing time on Piz Daint, at ETH Zurich/CSCS, will be asked to provide additional information on development milestones.

The Call for Proposals for PRACE Preparatory Access Type A and Type B schemes is a continuously open call, with a maximum time-to-resources-access (start-date) of two weeks after the date of submission.

Requests for Type C and D scheme are evaluated and granted on a quarterly schedule, with cut-offs for evaluations to be set at 11:00 AM CEST / CET of the first working day of March, June, September and December. Awarded proposals for Type C will have a maximum time-to-resources-access (start date) of two months after the relevant cut-off date.

The next cut-off dates for Preparatory Access Type C and D proposals are:

  • 2 December 2019 – 11:00 AM CET
  • 2 March 2020 – 11:00 AM CET
  • 2 June 2020 – 11:00 AM CEST

The following table shows PRACE HPC Tier-0 systems and their current availability for Preparatory Access:

System Architecture Site (Country) Type A Type B Type C
Joliot Curie – SKL BULL Sequana X1000 GENCI@CEA (FR)
Joliot Curie – KNL BULL Sequana X1000 GENCI@CEA (FR)
Marconi-KNL Lenovo System CINECA (IT)
MareNostrum Lenovo System BSC (ES)
Piz Daint(1) Cray XC50 System ETH Zurich / CSCS (CH) Not available
SuperMUC-NG Lenovo ThinkSystem GCS@LRZ (DE)

(1) Applications requesting Piz Daint must use GPU accelerated codes.

The following table lists the PRACE Tier-1 HPC systems, which are available in the context of Preparatory Access Type D. The specific system will be selected by PRACE, but applicants can specify preferences:

Tier-1 system Architecture
ARCHER, hosted by EPCC, (United Kingdom) Cray XC30
ARIS, hosted by GRNET, (Greece) Lenovo NextScale
Bem, hosted by WCSS, (Poland) Haswell based Cluster
Beskow, hosted by KTH-PDC, (Sweden) Cray XC40
Cartesius, hosted by SURFsara, (Netherlands) Bull Bullx B720/B710
CY-TERA, hosted by CaSToRC, (Cyprus) IBM System X iDataplex
EAGLE, hosted by PSNC (Poland) Intel Xeon E5-2697
GALILEO(2), hosted by CINECA, (Italy) Lenovo NextScale
Salomon, hosted by VSB-TUO at IT4I, (Czech Republic) SGI ICE-X
Sisu(3), hosted by CSC, (Finland) Cray XC40

(2) Galileo will be replaced by a new Broadwell machine during the next quarter. The projects already allocated on Galileo, will be moved on this new machine.

(3) Sisu will be decommissioned in 2019–2020 and it will be replaced by a new system.

The indicative schedule of the PRACE Calls for Proposals for Preparatory Access is as follows:

Action Types A & B Type C and D
Proposal submission Continuously open Quarterly cut off dates

1st working day of the quarter

(March; July; September; December)

Administrative validation working days after submission 2 working days after the cut-off date
Review of proposals & decision Up to 2 weeks after submission Up to 2 months after submission
Access start date Up to 2-3 weeks after submission Access is provided starting approx. 45-60 calendar days after the cut-off date.
Please note that access of the December cut-off date may be slightly delayed due to Christmas break

The process to access resources after the communication of the decision on allocation is two-fold:

  • Awardees are asked to confirm their availability and readiness to use the awarded resources during the stated period of time
  • Access is provided after receipt of a positive reply

The allocation decision, including the type of access, start/end dates, duration and the resources awarded is not open for negotiation.

As detailed in the Terms of Reference of the Call for Proposals for Preparatory Access, “the award of Preparatory Access proposals of Types A, B, C and D is limited by the amount of resources available. For type C and D, there are also limitations regarding the availability of the support from experts (in terms of staff hours) and the type of expertise required.”

In case of oversubscription of a particular resource, resources will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to suitable proposals based on the submission date until the resources are exhausted.

Please read the Terms of Reference here.

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