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CINECA Guidelines for the submission of proposals

This set of guidelines will help you in the submission of your application to receive an award of HPC resources at CINECA. All the proposals, once submitted, will be evaluated within CINECA Peer Review system. The proposals must be submitted using the web available at https://userdb.hpc.cineca.it.

The following text describes the general structure of the proposal that must be completed to apply for an ISCRA project. Notice that sections and subsections numbers in this document correspond to items with the same references in the web form (e.g. subsection 4.1 here, corresponds to text field 4.1 in the form)

The web form may vary slightly from the described one. Class C template is simplified.

1. Personal data of PI and Research Group

This section explains which personal information are requested to submit a project (“Section 1” of the submission web form). It is requested for all projects classes (B, C).

The Principal Investigator (PI) is the only responsible for the project and for the management of any associated resource. If your project has multiple investigators, you can list all of them in the Resaerch Group section. The PI must be working in an Italian University or in an Italian Research Agency. In any case the work must be performed at an Italian institution.

2. Your Experience

In this section the applicants will have to describe their experience and particurlary any competence that is relevant for the proposal. It is requested for all projects classes (B, C).

2.1 List of Publications
At least the four most relevant publications produced over the last 5 years by the PI or the group must be listed.

2.2 Curriculum Vitae
The proponent is expected to provide a Curriculum Vitae (max 4000 chars) for the PI and any relevant Co-PI listed on the application.

2.3 Outcomes of previous approved projects at CINECA
The proponent MUST describe the main achievements reached during any previous grant received from CINECA. Describe the PI previous activities with regard to any projects carried out in HPC environment at CINECA.

2.4 Outcomes of previously approved projects (if any)
proponent MUST describe his/her previous activities, particularly with regard to his/her experience in supercomputing and any projects carried out in HPC environments (e.g. using infrastructures such as those of DEISA or PRACE). The applicants should declare if they have submitted similar projects in other contexts (e.g. DECI or other computer centres) and, if so, say which ones.

2.5 Availability as scientific referee
The applicants of ISCRA Calls give their availability to be a referee in future ISCRA calls in which they are not involved. For this reason they must declare their main ERC sectors of competence.

3. Your Proposed Project

3.1 Project Type and Focus
Only for class C projects.
You must choose the type of the project (HPC, Cloud, HPC + Cloud, Development & Benchmark) and the project focus (General purpose, Special Focus: AI & ML, Big Data/Bioinformatics, COVID-19, …). Projects requesting resources for Special Focus will be evaluated separately.

3.2 Project Title
For all projects classes (B, C).
Please insert in this field project title and the corresponding Acronym (8 characters max).

3.3 ERC (European Research Council) research fields
For all projects classes (B, C).
Applicants must declare the ERC main fields of their project proposal. Select, among those available in the web-menu, the science category which your project belongs to

3.4 Executive Summary
For all projects classes (B, C).
Please provide an executive summary that accurately describes your proposed research, focusing on the following topics:

  • project objectives;
  • scientific rationale;
  • innovation potential;
  • state of the art;
  • outcomes and high-impact scientific advances expected.

This section cannot exceed 4000 char.

Only for C class projects, please describe here the reasons for requesting specialist support for the enabling and optimization of applications, and for any special needs.

3.5 Scientific Area
For all projects classes (B, C).

3.6 HPC Requirements
Only for ISCRA C projects.

In this section, you are expected to give details on the following items:

  • HPC system: Please specify the preferred HPC system
  • Number of nodes hours: Please insert here the requested number of node hours following the requirements for the call. Use the following formula: (elapsed time of a single run)* (number of nodes used in a single run) * (total number of runs). Please insert any special needs in the Notes tab (e.g. you can use this field in the case your codes cannot run using an entire node; in this case please write the requested budget in core hours and specify here the fact that your code uses only a few cores per run).
  • Maximum Number of useable nodes: Please specify here the maximum number of usable nodes per job. As in the previous case, you can use the Notes tab to describe any special requirements. In the case you can launch more than 1 job at the same time please specify here also the maximum number of jobs you can launch at the same time and the corresponding maximum node occupation.
  • Software used or required: Please insert here the softwares you plan to use in the project selecting them from the menu. If our code is not in the usable list please fill the empty field.
  • Notes: Please insert here any other information about the software you plan to use, e.g.:
    • software dependency (modules, libraries,...)
    • mandatory architectures (if your code can run only in a particular architecture, e.g. X86, Power, GPU, …)
    • visualization or debugging tools you need (rcm, totalview, paraview, idl, r, ...)
  • Storage (TB): Please insert here the disk resources you need in TB. Remember to specify if you need SCRATCH, WORK, DES or TAPE resources.  If available, the resources will be allocated after the project starts and only if you will send explicit request to superc@cineca.it

3.7 HPC Requirements for DGX
Only for ISCRA C projects.

Cineca has some DGX cards. Each DGX card is equipped with 8 Nvidia A100 GPUs, 2 AMD Rome 7742 Processors (128 cores) and  1 TB of RAM. They are specifically suited for Machine learning but are also available for other tasks. The applicants must report:

  • the reason they need DGX architecture (e.g. why resources on cloud or on M100 are not sufficient to complete your project? ….)
  • the time needed to complete the project (typical request from 20k-50k core hours for Development & Benchmark purposes and up to 200k core hours for production);
  • the number of nodes, if 1 node is not sufficient;
  • disk storage requirements;
  • any other information that could be useful to evaluate the project.

3.8 Special Call Requirements
Only for ISCRA C projects.

Please insert here any other request for your project. Please use this tab also to report any other information that you consider useful to better evaluate the project.

3.9 Cloud Requirements
Only for ISCRA C projects that require cloud resources.

Please insert here:

  • the cloud resources you need, by selecting the correct item in the first drop-down menu (other configurations are possible, but need to be explicitly requested in the Notes tab).
  • the permanent storage (GB) you need to complete the project
  • in the Notes tab please fill any information you consider useful to evaluate the project, including duration of the project, software needs, mandatory architectures, ...

4. Research Objectives
Only for class B projects

This section explains how to detail the project, both from a scientific and from a technical point of view-

4.1 Description of Research
This section, including references, cannot exceed 20.000 char and is expected to detail how the specific scientific/computational goals will be achieved and to define detailed workplan.

Proposals will be evaluated on both scientific and technical merit. The provided information should be sufficient for the reviewers in your research field to provide a scientific evaluation of the proposal and to understand if the computational methodology is suitable to reach the project’s goals. Furthermore, a general scientific cross-comparison with proposals in other disciplines should be feasible.

The list of the topics that MUST be detailed/included follows (please notice that incomplete descriptions will lead to the project rejection).

  • Scientific framework
  • Project objectives
  • List of milestones
  • Theoretical and computational methods employed
  • List of the applications to be used and their performance on parallel architectures
  • (scalability and load-balancing)
  • Related Publications
  • Detailed workplan and  timetable of the activities (GANTT)
  • Any relevant figure and image

5. Computational Approach
Only for class B projects.

This section explains how to detail the methodological approach to the project.

5.1 Computational approach
Provide quantitative evidence of the HPC performances of the production application you will adopt in the project (scalability, efficiency, I/O performances). Parallel performances in either strong or weak scaling mode should be provided. Weak scaling behaviours are probed by holding per-processor computational work constant (e.g., the size of the mesh on a processor is held constant) as the total problem size grows with number of processors. Strong scaling behaviours are probed by holding the total problem size constant as the processor count grows, thereby decreasing the per-processor computational work. Benchmark data should be provided in either tabular or graphical form, or both; the speedup curve should be supplied as well for strong scaling examples. Where appropriate, characterize the application’s single-node performance (ex. percent of peak).

Please give evidence that the code is suitable to use the GPU architecture of M100.

This section, including any references you provide cannot exceed 16.000 chars.

5.2 Application Packages
List each application or software package that will be used in the project, including post-processing packages. For each package, specify if it is open, proprietary or licensed and the communication and library requirements.

5.3 Specialistic support
Please describe here the reasons for requesting specialist support for the enabling and optimization of applications. The request will be evaluated by CINECA.

6. Requested Resources
Only for class B projects.

In this section, you are expected to give details on the following items.

6.1 Minimum and Optimal number of NODE hours
Please specify the preferred HPC system and insert here the Minimum and optimal number of NODE hours in order to complete the project

Please fill in the form considering the samples drafted here for the calculation of minimum and optimal number of CPU.

Minimum number of NODE hours = (elapsed time of a single run)* (# NODES  used in a single run) * (total # of runs).

Minimum number of NODE hours: 1000*128*12=1,536,000 NODE hours

The optimal number represents the NODE time necessary to reach all the targets of the project.

The minimal number is the NODE time necessary to accomplish a minimum meaningful work.

6.2 Requirements for a typical run

  • Maximum number of usable NODES
  • Minimal memory per NODE (GB) at maximum number of NODE
  • Total memory for smallest target problem (GB)
  • Total memory for largest target problem (GB)

6.3 Disk Requirements

  • Temporary disk space: Please estimate the temporary disk space requirement during a single run (input, output, restart files, etc.).
  • Analysis data storage: Please estimate the storage requirements for the total project in terms of the data to be stored on on-line devices. Comment and justify your estimate.
  • Archive data storage: Storage requirements for the total project in terms of the amount of data to be stored on near-line devices (tape). Comment and justify your estimate and give an idea of the destination of those data after the end of the project

6.4 Any other requirements
Please write here any other special needs you have.