At the occasion of the 25th PRACE Council Meeting in Amsterdam, the PRACE Members ratified a Resolution to proceed with the second phase of their Partnership: PRACE 2. The PRACE 2 programme defines the second period of PRACE from 2017 to 2020. With this agreement, PRACE will strengthen Europe’s position as world-class scientific supercomputing provider, a technology considered a key enabler for knowledge development, scientific research, big data analytics, solving global and societal challenges, and European industrial competitiveness.
In the context of the global HPC race between USA, Asia and Europe where European countries decided to compete allied, the overarching goal of PRACE is to provide the federated European supercomputing infrastructure that is science-driven and globally competitive. It builds on the strengths of European science providing high-end computing and data analysis resources to drive discoveries and new developments in all areas of science and industry, from fundamental research to applied sciences including: mathematics and computer sciences, medicine, and engineering, as well as digital humanities and social sciences. Recently PRACE was confirmed as the only e-Infrastructure on the ESFRI 2016 Roadmap (European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures)
“PRACE 2 is a natural next step in the successful pan-European collaboration in HPC. Our ultimate goal is to provide a world-class federated and sustainable HPC and data infrastructure to all researchers in Europe,” said prof dr Anwar Osseyran, Chair of the PRACE Council.
For the PRACE 2 programme, the PRACE Members have thoroughly discussed and defined the underlying funding model of the Research Infrastructure, based on the contribution of the 5 Hosting Members and the General Partners. The European Commission supports specific PRACE activities via project funding.
The new PRACE 2 programme will help to create a fertile basis for the sustainability of the infrastructure, in order to continue fostering world leading science as well as enabling technology development and industrial competitiveness in Europe through supercomputing. This will be accomplished through:
- Provisioning of a federated world-class Tier-0 supercomputing infrastructure that is architecturally diverse and allows for capability allocations that are competitive with comparable programmes in the USA and in Asia.
- A single, thorough Peer Review Process for resource allocation, exclusively based on scientific excellence of the highest standard.
- Coordinated High-Level Support Teams (HLST) that provide users with support for code enabling and scaling out of scientific applications / methods, as well as for R&D on code refactoring on the Tier-0 systems.
- Implementation actions in the areas of dissemination, industry collaboration, and training, as well as the exploration of future supercomputing technologies that will include additional application enabling investments co-ordinated with the support team efforts.
Hosting Members and General Partners undersigning the PRACE 2 programme will be eligible to apply for Tier-0 resources, provided to the PRACE 2 programme, which are then available to principal investigators from academia and industry in their countries. Scientists from other countries may be invited to contribute to these projects to benefit from these large allocations.
PRACE 2 will award substantially more core hours to larger projects than before, boosting scientific and industrial advancement in Europe. With 5 Hosting Members (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland) the capacity offering is planned to grow to 75 million node hours per year. Resources remain free of charge at the point of usage.
The impact of PRACE 2 is already visible for user communities: In the 14th Call for Proposals for Project Access, PRACE was able to make available 3 times more resources than in previous calls, offering a cumulated peak performance of more than 62 Petaflops in 7 complementary leading edge Tier-0 systems.
“We are very pleased with how the PRACE Members have come together and invested substantial efforts and resources in the project. PRACE 2 will deliver a much needed increase in computational power, and with the new High Level Support Teams we are also establishing a joint computational infrastructure that will strengthen European competitiveness,” said prof Erik Lindahl, Chair of the PRACE Scientific Steering Committee.