Access to HPC resources

Whereas the HPC resources of local Tier 3 centers are usually only accessible to scientists affiliated with the local university (or, in exceptional cases, the local university of applied sciences), external researchers can request computing time at Tier 2 centers. The following requirements must be met:

  1. The applicant is a member of a German teaching and research institution.
  2. The applicant is a leading scientist (with at least a doctorate).

Application and approval process at Tier 2

A structured application and approval process is an essential tool to ensure the high scientific quality required for access to Tier 2 HPC resources. In order to achieve the best use of limited HPC resources, projects are evaluated using a technical and scientific peer review process based on criteria such as scientific merit and the amount of resources requested. Technical requirements are used to select target architectures and environments. In collaboration with the Gauss Alliance, the nationwide Tier 2 centers have developed standardized recommendations for application and approval procedures to realize structured access.

An implementation of these recommendations coordinated by the Tier 2 centers in NRW enables a standardization of the application process, for example, through use of common software and its collaborative development and configuration. Based on this, HPC.NRW has adopted these standardizations and developed a clear procedure for users with the corresponding guidelines (Quick Reference Cards, see below). This facilitates long-term quality assurance within the review process along with the corresponding reporting and accounting.

The biggest investment on the applicant’s part is spent preparing the computing time application. The time and effort required is based on the amount of resources requested. Applications must be submitted in million core hours (mill. core-h). The following example demonstrates:

If you want to use an entire compute node with 48 cores for one year (24/7), you would have to request 48 cores * 24 h * 365 days = 0.42 million core-h.

Additionally, there is an option to apply for a test project in advance to help estimate your computation time requirements in order to prepare a larger-scale project. Small projects usually do not exceed 1 million core-h and standard project sizes can amount up to 10 million core-h. Large projects can go significantly beyond that.

After preparation of the application is complete, the corresponding Tier 2 application systems can then be used to submit the proposal:

Aachen (online): https://www.itc.rwth-aachen.de/hpc-project

Cologne (PDF): https://rrzk.uni-koeln.de/en/hpc-projects/hpc/access-and-use-instructions

Paderborn (online): https://pc2.uni-paderborn.de/go/access

The local centers then take care of the further processes for formal evaluation and technical and scientific peer review. All further information can be found in our Quick Reference Cards:

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