Although most universities in North Rhine-Westphalia offer straightforward access to HPC through local support services and documentation, the multifaceted cooperation between individual HPC-centers greatly benefits both the centers and users alike.
For example, a joint, NRW-wide HPC help-desk has been set up to promote the exchange of information among the sites, aiming to process and solve complex issues or problems more efficiently.
The help-desk is intended only as 3rd-level support, meaning that HPC users should continue to make use of their local support as before. In this way, simple support inquiries can be filtered out directly and processed at the respective location. However, if neither local 1st- nor 2nd-level support can resolve the issue in question, a support member from the respective location can create a ticket at the HPC.NRW help-desk.
This process ensures that HPC users will continue to have uncomplicated access to support channels, and, at the same time, guarantees the best possible result through knowledge transfer between the individual locations.
For HPC users in NRW without local support, two channels are available for HPC service inquiries:
- Users with access to the local HPC infrastructure should utilize the corresponding support infrastructure at the respective HPC location.
- Users who do not yet have access to any HPC.NRW partners’ compute systems should contact the general support email. A response can usually be expected within 78 hours.
In the latter case, the help-desk acts as a first level support structure. The query is evaluated by the HPC.NRW office and forwarded to a suitable institution in North Rhine-Westphalia. This communication channel particularly targets users from universities of applied sciences.
The service is completely free and accessible to all HPC users in North Rhine-Westphalia.
No topics are off-limits when using the help-desk, but support is usually provided in the following areas:
- Availability of HPC resources
- Application of computing time
- Code optimization
- General issues
Communitiy-specific in-depth consulting
In addition to the usual support structures provided by HPC.NRW, a special in-depth consulting service is on offer that HPC users in North Rhine-Westphalia can take advantage of. The channels for placing a request are identical to those above (help-desk), but this service extends much further than standard support.
For example, specific consultations are available for challenging research projects. This type of support spans HPC-methods, the operation of HPC-systems, and research-oriented issues.
If, for example, the computing power at Tier-3 locations is no longer sufficient for the planned project, users receive full support to help them migrate to the next highest tier in the HPC pyramid.