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Pan-European High Performance Computing infrastructure and services

Specific challenge: In order to create a world-class pan-European infrastructure, and to provide state-of-the-art services and access to this infrastructure to users, independently of location, the HPC resources in Europe need to be further pooled, integrated and rationalised.

This topic contributes to the implementation of the EU strategy on High Performance Computing (HPC), in particular by providing access to the best supercomputing facilities and services for both industry and academia, and complements the activities of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in HPC in order to implement the HPC strategy.

Scope: Proposals should address the following activities:

(1) Provide a seamless and efficient Tier-0 service to users Europe-wide 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. 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

(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 Centres of Excellence (see topic EINFRA-5-2015 – CoEs for computing applications);

-  the European Technology Platform for HPC; the pan-European HPC infrastructure will consult its users in order to provide technical specifications to guide research activities for future exascale prototypes and systems;

(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.

The infrastructure should provide core and basic services in coordination with other e-infrastructure providers to promote interoperability and a seamless user experience, in accordance with topic EINFRA-7-2014. Interworking with other computing infrastructures such as clouds and grids should be ensured.

Expected impact:  

         Improved services and procedures for all users to access the infrastructure and the common services, and improved allocation schemes to ensure openness to new user communities and applications;

         Increased amount of computing cycles available to researchers at European level through user-friendly and efficient procedures, helping Europe to stay at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and innovation;

         Increased number of industrial organisations (in particular SMEs), EU projects 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;

Type of action: Research and innovation actions