Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PRACE-3IP — Result In Brief

Project ID: 312763
Country: Germany

Providing access to world class supercomputers in Europe

Scientists, industries and European SMEs are being encouraged to boost their innovation and competitiveness by tapping into the full potential of High Performance Computing infrastructure.
Providing access to world class supercomputers in Europe
The EU-funded PRACE-3IP project was launched in July 2012 to support the implementation of PRACE (Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe), an ambitious pan-European High Performance Computer (HPC) research infrastructure involving 25 countries.

Created in 2010, PRACE is an international non-profit association that provides large-scale scientific and academic ventures with access to high level computing and data management resources. This coordinated research infrastructure, which has received significant EU funding, aims to boost European R&D across a range of disciplines.

PRACE systems are available to scientists and researchers either via short-term access or through multi-year access for multinational research groups. Multi-year access is subject to the PRACE peer review process.

‘The task of this project has been to implement PRACE, boost user support and training and initiate joint pre-commercial procurement in HPC,’ explains project coordinator Dr. Florian Berberich Juelich of the Supercomputing Centre at the Institute for Advanced Simulation, Germany. ‘PRACE is focused on using numerical simulation and high performance computing to solve social challenges.’

A key element of PRACE-3IP has been the promotion of SHAPE – the pan-European ‘SME HPC Adoption Programme in Europe’ – which aims to raise SME awareness of the benefits of using HPC to increase innovation and competitiveness. Following the successful pilot run of SHAPE under PRACE-3IP, a second call for applications was launched in November 2014 and closed January 2015.

Approved projects from this second call came from a broad range of fields including wind turbine design, plant breeding optimisation and sailing boat performance. One Italian SME with expertise in the design and development of advanced technologies for process control in metal casting and foundry wanted to use HPC-based numerical simulations to study the fluid dynamics of liquid steel under the effect of electromagnetic stirring in an electric arc furnace.

‘These projects are still ongoing, with initial feedback positive,’ says Juelich. ‘The SHAPE programme is achieving good results, contributing to change the attitude of European SMEs towards HPC, fostering technological transfer between academia and industry and ultimately increasing European competiveness.’ The third SHAPE call opened November 2015 and closed January 2016. Some eight proposals have been submitted and now are being reviewed.

Another key objective of PRACE-3IP has been to deepen coordination of HPC procurers from different countries through a joint pre-commercial procurement (PCP), with an emphasis in energy efficiency of HPC systems and reducing their environmental impact. PCP involves procuring innovative solutions before they are commercially available.

The advantage is that risks and benefits are shared between the procurers and the suppliers under market conditions, and the development of solutions can be steered towards public sector needs. Phase 1 of the PCP started formally in September 2014 and ended with the delivery of positive end-of-phase reports in March 2015. The project is currently in phase 2. ‘The developed technology in phase two is very promising and will help to prepare the next generation of HPC systems,’ says Juelich.

The PRACE-3IP project is due for final completion in June 2016, with the follow up project, PRACE-4IP, already up and running. PRACE project partners have received EU funding for phases I, 2, 3 and 4 totalling 82 million EUR.

Related information


PRACE-3IP, PRACE, high performance computing, HPC, research infrastructure, SHAPE, pre-commercial procurement, PCP, SME
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