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DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative (DECI)


Operation of the DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative (DECI)
Support of DECI: the Applications Task Force (ATASKF)
ATASKF Activities
ATASKF Contacts

The DECI-6 Call (2010) was opened on Dec 3, 2009.
Closing date is Feb 16, 2010

Call for proposals


The main objective of the DEISA Research Infrastructure is to advance computational sciences in Europe. Enabling and operating new challenging supercomputing applications is a central part. The DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative was launched in May 2005 by the DEISA Consortium, as a way to enhance its impact on science and technology. The main purpose of this initiative is to enable a number of “grand challenge” applications in all areas of science and technology. These leading, ground breaking applications must deal with complex, demanding and innovative simulations that would not be possible without the DEISA infrastructure, and which benefit from the exceptional resources provided by the Consortium.

The DEISA applications are expected to have requirements that cannot be fulfilled by the national services alone.

Operation of the DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative

The Extreme Computing Initiative operates as follows:

  • A Call for Proposals is offered every year.
  • Evaluation of the proposals is carried out by the National Evaluation Committees. The DEISA Executive Committee, on the basis of the national recommendations, takes the final decisions.
  • Projects are chosen on the basis of innovation potential, scientific excellence and relevance to the DEISA infrastructure. A priority is given to proposals that benefit from an excellence label from more than one partner organisation.
  • Projects run at a given time window. Large simulations access the DEISA infrastructure as a large scientific instrument, at a predefined period of the year.

Support of DECI: the Applications Task Force (ATASKF)

The Applications Task Force (ATASKF) was created in April 2005. It is a team of leading experts in high performance and Grid computing whose major objective is to provide the consultancy needed to enable the user’s adoption of the DEISA research infrastructure. It complements the traditional user support for established users of the infrastructure (the SA4 Service Activity, with a key task in deploying and maintaining a Common Production Environment across all sites), because it helps users to design and adapt applications to the DEISA infrastructure.

Since the European Call for Proposals will be renewed every year, continuous support will be needed for enabling new applications and for the conduction of leading present and future European projects. When we speak about enabling new applications, this does not mean starting a new code from scratch. This means taking existing codes that are on production at the level of the national services, and providing all the modifications necessary for them to operate at the level of the DEISA supercomputing Grid. It follows a description of state-of-the art activities.

ATASKF Activities

Activities of the ATASKF aim at enhancing scientific applications from the DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative, Virtual Communities and EU projects to cope with a production infrastructure characterized by an aggressive parallelism on heterogeneous HPC architectures at a Europe-wide scale. Of special importance are the support of new applications and HPC systems, code reengineering, and specific code optimizations.

Support of New Applications and HPC Systems, Code Reengineering: In Europe, different activities are in progress to develop important new simulation codes that might overcome the algorithmic and functional limitations of existing codes and address novel applications and methodologies. It is therefore important to assist in the development of these applications, cooperating with scientific communities to make them aware of the emerging HPC ecosystem, and also considering emerging supercomputers with a new architectural design. When an application is migrated within the DEISA heterogeneous environment to another type of architecture, it needs to be ported to (and sometimes reengineered for) the new target system.

Also very important are portable data formats. Output data is often written in platform- or application-dependent formats. HDF5 and NetCDF are two standardized portable data formats, defined and already widely accepted in many scientific communities, which combine the portability of a standardized file format with the scalability of parallel I/O. To enhance the portability of applications across various European platforms, and the migration of jobs inside DEISA, it is essential to support the usage of portable data formats.

Specific Code Optimizations: To attain the highest level of performance, it is often required to change the inner structure of applications and exploit new algorithms which are hardware-aware. Optimised scientific libraries for important numerical methods (like Dense and Sparse Linear Algebra, Spectral Methods, N-Body Methods, Structured and Unstructured Grids, and Monte-Carlo methods) have to be provided, maintained, and integrated into the DEISA environment. However, it is outside the scope of most centres to have a pool of local experts with knowledge of all these methods. Therefore, a network needs to be established combining the expertise of the DEISA partners and directing users to the appropriate experts to optimize the applications.

ATASKF Contacts 

The ATASKF is particularly concerned with the preparation of proposals for the DECI, and with the enabling of the selected projects for running on the DEISA HPC infrastructure efficiently. Prospective users of DEISA HPC facilities can contact the ATASKF via at any time to explore the possibilities to utilize the DEISA infrastructure efficiently.

Members and national contact partners of the ATASKF are:

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