Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

PPI4HPC Report Summary

Project ID: 754271
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.4.1.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PPI4HPC (Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions for High-Performance Computing)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In its communication on the “European Cloud Initiative” the European Commission in April 2016 stressed the need for building an European Data Infrastructure including high-end supercomputers, which will around 2022 reach the exascale performance level. In this proposal, a group of leading European supercomputing centres propose the formation of a buyers group to execute a joint Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) in the area of high-performance computing (HPC). The co-funding by the European Commission (EC) will allow for a significant enhancement of the planned pre-exascale HPC infrastructure from 2018 on. The total investment is planned to be about € 73 million.

The involved HPC centres, namely BSC, CEA/GENCI, CINECA and JUELICH, have a strong track record in providing supercomputing resources at European level. The project participants are foundin members of PRACE and have made Tier-0 systems available through PRACE. This joint initiative will create benefits in multiple respects:
▪ More supercomputing resources will be efficiently exploitable for science and engineering applications in Europe within PRACE, the pan-European HPC infrastructure, as selected, relevant applications will play an important role in guiding this procurement process.
▪ R&D on HPC architectures and technologies in Europe will be strengthened as suitable incentives will be provided by this joint procurement process.
▪ The coordinated approach will give us a greater weight and allow having more impact on the design of the solutions according to the needs of scientists and engineers in Europe.

The participants will work together on coordinated roadmaps for providing HPC resources optimised to the needs of European scientists and engineers. The final decision on which innovative solutions will be procured at the different sites will be made following these roadmaps, but remain a decision of the individual sites.

The proposed concept for implementing this PPI foresees to start with a jointly executed market analysis. This will also be the first public step, where the participants present themselves as a buyers group pursuing common interests on the market of supercomputing solutions. Based on the results common requirements and evaluation criteria will jointly be formulated. These will be complemented by site specific requirements and evaluation criteria. Final procurement contracts will be awarded within four different lots. This effort will lead to the deployment of four different systems based on a variety of innovative solutions, which provide a much broader range of capabilities as what would be achievable through a single solution.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the initial phase the project focused on analysing common needs and identifying common technical goals, objectives and requirements. At the same time the public procurers needed to define and setup a framework for executing a joint procurement with all its legal implications.

Results of this initial working phase were presented to interested suppliers during the market consultation phase. During an Open Dialogue Event, which took place in Brussels on 6/9/2017, the consortium presented their thinking and invited participants to ask questions and provide feedback. The project received many questions and helpful comments related to the legal aspects of the planned joint procurement. During one-to-one meetings between individual suppliers and the technical team of the PPI4HPC project, detailed feedback on the presented technical goals, objectives and requirements has been received.

The fruitful results of the market consultation phase were taken into account for producing a tendering package, which by end of the reporting period started to become ready for publication.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The PPI4HPC project is the first project to perform a joint procurement involving public procurers from 4 different EU member states. It managed to form a buyers group and agree on a procurement procedure that will be executed with GENCI from France being in the role of a lead procurer. During the initial phase of the project it conducted jointly a market consultation that attracted interest from all relevant suppliers. Based on the results of the market consultation it managed to prepare a complete tender package.

By forming a buyers group the already large supercomputing centres involved in PPI4HPC will have an even stronger weight and be in a better position to realise an HPC infrastructure that is more powerful and better serves the needs of researchers and engineers in Europe.

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