FAQ

What is PRACE?
PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, is established as an international not-for-profit association under Belgian law (association internationale sans but lucrative – aisbl / internationale vereniging zonder winstoogmerk – ivzw) and has its seat in Brussels.

Since when does PRACE exist?
The members and founders of PRACE have been working together for almost 10 years now. Building on EU funded initiatives since 2004 (HPCEUR, HET) and on the first Scientific Case for HPC in Europe, they started the PRACE Preparatory Phase in 2008, which resulted in the founding of PRACE aisbl on 23 April 2010. Four hosting members (France, Germany, Italy and Spain) secured funding for the initial period from 2010 to 2015, while the PRACE Project partners continued to develop the brand and services of PRACE through three FP7-funded Implementation Phase projects. PRACE started with 21 members and grew to 25 by end 2012; several more governments are showing interest.

Where is PRACE located?
PRACE aisbl has its offices in Brussels, Belgium: Rue du Trône 98 (http://www.prace-ri.eu/PRACE-Office). The HPC systems are located at members sites (http://www.prace-ri.eu/Members).

What does PRACE do?
PRACE provides access to 6 leading-edge high performance computing (HPC) systems (supercomputers) to researchers and scientists from academia and industry from around the world through a peer review process.

Additionally, via the PRACE Implementation Projects, PRACE supports users and user communities in porting, scaling and optimizing their applications to fully exploit the capabilities of the PRACE systems.

The PRACE Implementation Projects also run an extensive training programme and operate 6 PRACE Advanced Training Centres (PATC). Users and user communities can also download over 60 White Papers from the PRACE website http://www.prace-ri.eu/white-papers and use the Benchmark Suite.

Who funds PRACE?
PRACE receives funding from three sources:

  • The 6 leading-edge high performance computing (HPC) systems (supercomputers) are funded and operated by four hosting countries: France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Their commitment adds up to € 400 million over a five year period (2010 – 2015).
  • All 25 members of PRACE pay an annual fee and many of them provide national HPC resources as additional in-kind contributions.
  • The European Commission supports the PRACE Implementation Projects for a total of € 67 million under grant agreements RI-261557, RI-283493 and RI-312763. These grants are complemented by a consortium budget of € 43 million.

What is the organisational structure of PRACE?
An explanation of the PRACE governing bodies as well as an organogram can be found here

Which are the 6 leading-edge HPC systems?
Table 1: The currently available PRACE Tier-0 systems

Table 1: The currently available PRACE Tier-0 systems
System Name Hosting Centre Launch date Architecture Speed
CURIEGENCI@CEA, FranceQ2 2011Bullx cluster2 Petaflops/s
HermitGCS@HLRS, GermanyQ3 2011Cray XE65 Petaflops/s
FERMICINECA, ItalyQ2 2012BlueGene/Q2 Petaflops/s
SuperMUCGCS@LRZ, GermanyQ2 2012iDataPlex3 Petaflops/s
JUQUEENGCS@FZJ, GermanyQ4 2012BlueGene/Q5.87 Petaflops/s
MareNostrumBSC, SpainQ4 2012iDataPlex1 Petaflops/s

For more information go hereResources

Who funds the HPC systems of the PRACE members?
The computer systems and their operations accessible through PRACE are provided by 4 PRACE members (BSC representing Spain, CINECA representing Italy, GCS representing Germany and GENCI representing France).

Who are the members of PRACE?
PRACE currently (December 2012) has 25 members. Each European Union Member State or Associated Country (under article 2014 of the Treaty on European Union) can apply to become a member.

How can my country become a member?
For more information on how to become a member, go here

How can I get access to the PRACE HPC systems?
To get access to one of the 6 leading-edge HPC systems, a researcher or scientist can apply through one of the PRACE Calls for Proposals. There are 3 types of access: Preparatory Access, Project Access and Multi-Year Access.

  • For more information on the Calls for Proposals, go here
  • For more information on the application process, go here

I am a researcher or scientist working for an academic institution in a country that is not a member of PRACE, can I apply for access?
Yes, you can. PRACE HPC systems are open to scientists and researchers from academia from around the world.

I am a researcher or scientist working in industry, can I apply for access?
Yes, you can. Special rules apply to applications from industry. Please refer to the Terms of Reference for each Call for Proposals, here

How can I apply?
Please go here for further information on the application process for the PRACE Calls for Proposals.

I would like to have access to a system run by a PRACE member, but that system in not listed in the PRACE Calls for Proposals. What should I do?
To gain access to national or regional HPC systems, please contact the hosting site directly.

What happens to my application after I submit it?
You application will undergo a technical and scientific assessment first. If successful, your application will be ranked via the peer review process. For further information, please go here

On which criteria is my application assessed?The most important criterion is scientific excellence. More information on the assessment criteria can be found here

If my application is successful, will I get the core hours I requested?
PRACE strives to allocate the resources requested for each successful application.

How much does it cost to use the PRACE HPC systems?
Access to PRACE HPC systems is free of charge for successful applications.

When I work on a PRACE HPC system, where is my data stored? How can I access my data?
While projects under the PRACE Calls for Proposals are running, the data is stored at the hosting site. After completion of the project the user must transfer the data to a location of hi/her choice (usually the home organisation). If this is not possible, PRACE will work with the user to find a solution on a case-by-case basis.

Do you have some statistics on the use of the PRACE HPC systems?
Statistics on the use of PRACE HPC systems can be found here

Where can I find information on projects that have used or are using the PRACE HPC systems?
Summaries of the projects that have used or are currently using are published here The page is structured according to the type of access and per call for proposals.

Where can I find the White Papers that the PRACE Implementation Projects publish?
All White Papers can be downloaded from here

Where can I find out more about the PRACE training?
All trainings are announced on the PRACE Training Portal

Further information

You didn’t find what you were looking for in our FAQ?

Go here to find the contact details of PRACE.

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