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HPC-EUROPA — Result In Brief

Project ID: 506079
Country: Italy

Super computing for a super European Research Area

A European initiative has boosted the region's research community by providing integrated access tools through a dynamic virtual infrastructure. Project activities also enhanced training opportunities through a network of high-performance computing centres.
Super computing for a super European Research Area
The 'Pan-European research infrastructure on high performance computing for the science of 21st century' (HPC-Europa) project, an Integrated Infrastructure Initiative, was established to provide the European research community with advanced computational services in an integrated way. To this end, the EU-funded project team concentrated on delivering a wide range of services as well as access to first-class high-performance computing (HPC) platforms and an advanced computational environment. The latter was set up so as to offer technical support and training too.

Four networking activities and two joint research activities (JRAs) were designed, with a view to facilitating and improving transnational access (TA). The project was organised around TA activities, with a focus on realising the deployment and operation of a 'virtual global infrastructure'. Networking activities, also covering management and project evaluation, had the aim of directly supporting the provision of TA services. The integration of TA centres and specific development of access grid technology played an important role in achieving the particular objectives.

The six TA partners offered visitors many 'side utilities', including access to local training courses, interactive online training material, technical reports, a discussion forum and collaborative virtual 'surgeries' via AccessGrid. These helped create a dynamic HPC-focused network and global environment.

The JRAs undertook research and development (R&D) efforts aimed at developing valuable tools for exploiting capabilities of the TA service offered. The first JRA completed work on development to port and increase the scalability of the tools with subsequent work relating to use, validation and extension of the defined methodology. The second JRA, by building a framework based on standards allowing test users to run their applications, designed and developed a portal providing access to heterogeneous computational infrastructures, and thus achieved its objective of offering single-point-of-access tools. The portal offers tools for resource information, file management and single sign-on authentication.

Over the course of the project, the 14-member selection panel (comprising eminent professors from various scientific fields) offered a total of 744 places to various user projects, with 738 visits carried out in the 6 HPC centres. The strength of its composition and selection methodology allowed the selection panel to record a major success in representing a possible stable and comprehensive model for assessment of access provision, as well as for selection for any Integrated Infrastructure Initiative.

The outcomes and successes of the HPC-Europa project will go a long way to helping European researchers maintain a competitive edge on the world stage in an enhanced culture of cooperation. These are important elements for those wanting to play a part in the evolution of computational activities and for driving advances in HPC in the context of the European Research Area (ERA).

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