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Call for ANU Projects on the NCI National Facility Supercomputers for 2013

The ANU is announcing the call for projects to use the NCI National Facility supercomputer resources for 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2014. ANU encourages applications for projects (led by its staff) which have ambitious computational and data-intensive research goals, with the objective of accelerating research, encouraging new opportunities, and underpinning national collaborations that are able to take advantage of these specialised resources.

This call is for applications on the NCI National Facility Supercomputers, in particular the Sun Constellation (Vayu) or the new petascale Fujitsu Primergy System (currently under installation) at the NCI National Facility. For 2013, the ANU share is able to provide resources across a spectrum of projects - from very large-scale, established projects to smaller projects requiring modest resources.

The deadline for the call for proposals is 9am (AEDT) Monday 2 December, 2013

Allocations are determined by an expert committee established by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) to consider online applications according to two equally weighted criteria:

  • Research Quality-according to the excellence and impact dimensions of the project; the experience and research capacity of the lead applicant, and the research team; and alignment with ANU priorities and aspirations, as may be appropriate: and
  • Computational Suitability - including the appropriateness of the project to the resources requested and available; the reasonableness of the resources requested (relative to that which is available, and which is required to make adequate progress); and the track record of the applicant and research team in efficiently and effectively using the computational resources to deliver outputs of high quality and impact.

A call for access to NCI facilities has been issued through the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme. This is an open merit-based access scheme to provide support for nationally and internationally competitive research on the major national computational facilities.

Large applications of the order of 100kSU (1kSU ~= 1000hours) or more per quarter are strongly encouraged to also submit a proposal to the NCMAS.

ANU also wishes to encourage new projects that evaluate the potential for further computational work through a start-up scheme, supported by flexible arrangements for projects to establish their use of the NCI.

Proposal Form

The link for new applications for projects is:
http://nf.nci.org.au/accounts/projects_new/APP_form.php by selecting Compute system and the ANU scheme. For very small applications (500 hours or less) to trial access to the facility, please select the "Start-up" scheme.

Existing projects can renew their applications at the following link:
http://nf.nci.org.au/accounts/projects_renewal/APP_form.php. Much of the detail for renewing projects is preloaded from the most recent previous application for the project. These are to be reviewed and updated as necessary.

Resources Available

Computer time
A description of the NCI supercomputer resources can be found on the NCI National Facility website. Please see the following web sites ( http://nf.nci.org.au/facilities/fujitsu.php for the new Fujitsu petascale system, and http://nf.nci.org.au/facilities/ for existing systems and additional information about the facility and software available.

The unit of computation time is a service unit (SU), which is one hour of wallclock time on one cpu core-hour of the computer. (Jobs get dedicated access to the cores when they are scheduled to run, hence the use of wallclock time instead of the CPU time used by the processes.)

Associated Data Storage
Under the ANU share, NCI provides access to its multi-petabyte data storage systems and national datasets. Reasonable requests for storage under the project are considered as part of the application to NCI.

Additional Infrastucture
NCI provides access to its cloud infrastructure to assist computational and data-intensive research. The compute cloud provides a flexible resource for managing environments that may not be suited to the peak supercomputer systems. Special requests for this infrastructure should be noted on the application form.

Additional and Future Calls for Proposals

ANU makes calls for major allocations annually. Under its share, the ANU intends to provide flexible opportunities for new projects to gain access to the facility during the year to help establish their requirements for the main allocation round.

There will be a further call for proposals as additional resources become available. In particular, NCI is currently:

  • Procuring an expanded compute cloud facility, due to be operational in early 2013 as part of the NeCTAR Super Science initiative, of which NCI is a partner.
  • Provisioning to provide access to nationally significant datasets through the national research datasets through the national research data storage program (RDSI), another Super Science initiative of which ANU/NCI is a partner.

In addition to the ANU share, ANU researchers have access to the NCMAS scheme, mentioned earlier in this notice, and possibly also to other shares, depending on their research collaborations, or associations with particular ARC Centres of Excellence.

These include:

  • ARC Centres of Excellence: Climate System Science (CSS), CAASTRO (astrophysics), and CUDOS (Optics and photonics)
  • Computational facilities to which access is coordinated by Astronomy Australia's Time Allocation Committee (http://astronomyaustralia.org.au/astac.html.)
  • Shares at NCI partner organisations (CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, Geoscience Australia, Intersect Australia, and the Queensland Cyber-infrastructure Foundation) which may be accessible to ANU staff who have collaborations with researchers at these (or partner) organisations.

User assistance

For further information on how NCI (existing or future) resources could be used to assist your research, please contact Dr Ben Evans ( ), Associate Director (Research Engagement and Initiatives), NCI.