Network & Infrastructure

Twelve centers - one network: The competence network HPC.NRW combines the expertise of the three large tier 2 HPC centers with that of the nine smaller university centers residing on tier 3 of the supply pyramid. Thus, it offers a competent first point of contact and central advisory hub for HPC users and administrators of HPC centers in NRW.

The HPC.NRW competence network offers an extensive range of diverse HPC infrastructures plus a number of thematic clusters for low-threshold training, consulting and coaching services. The aim is to make effective and efficient use of high-performance computing and storage facilities and to support scientific researchers of all levels, particularly researchers at the post-graduate and post-doctoral levels.

Regular, intensive exchanges take place between the sites of the competence network on the following topics:

- Service & Support for HPC users in NRW

- Software & Operation

- HPC usage

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In its recommendations on the "Strategischen Weiterentwicklung des Hoch- und Höchstleistungsrechnens in Deutschland", the German Council of Science and Humanities recognises HPC as a decisive factor in international scientific and industrial competition. In many scientific fields, computer-aided simulation and data analysis have established themselves as an indispensable bridge between theory and experiment. Developments in high-performance computing, which can be summarized under the keywords Simulation Science and Data Intensive Science, are of crucial importance in a large number of scientific areas.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia has a differentiated ecosystem of high-performance computing systems, the HPC supply pyramid, consisting of levels 0 and 1 (Forschungszentrum Jülich), level 2 systems (Aachen, Cologne, Paderborn) and high-performance computers of level 3 at almost all university locations. Against this backdrop, the HPC working group of the “Digitale Hochschule” of NRW (DH.NRW) has drawn up an HPC state concept which aims to advance this HPC ecosystem further in North Rhine-Westphalia within the national HPC context.

Two initiatives formulated in the HPC state concept have already been combined and implemented within the framework of HPC.NRW:


1.) Establishment of an HPC consulting network

Creation of the administrative and organizational structures required to enable scientific services to be provided in addition to pure hardware infrastructure.


2.) Structured provision of HPC resources on levels 2 and 3

Support for users in selecting the appropriate level, HPC infrastructure and, if necessary, assistance with the computing time application.

Establishment of standardized, science-based application and approval procedures at level 2.

Networking of computing facility operators with the goal of improving the quality of service (software equipment, monitoring, utilization, efficiency control).


Further information

- The HPC.NRW consortium partners

- German Council of Science and Humanities: Strategische Weiterentwicklung des Hoch- und Höchstleistungsrechnens in Deutschland. Position paper, 2012


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