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The Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) coordinates and provides high end computing capacity for Swedish academic research and education. For this purpose, SNIC provides a set of resources for large scale computation to meet the needs of researchers from all scientific disciplines and from all Swedish universities and university colleges. The resources are made available through open application procedures such that the best Swedish research is supported.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION ON AVAILABLE RESOURCES

In general, each compute resource in SNIC consists of a number of nodes that are interconnected by a high-performance network. Each node contains a number of processors, memory and internal disk. Each processor consists of a number of processor cores. All nodes typically also have access to central storage. The operating system on each of the SNIC compute resources is Linux. The compute resources are hosted and operated by the SNIC-affiliated compute centres.

Despite these similarities, the compute resources differ in hardware characteristics and software configuration, for example the number of compute nodes, processor type, memory per node, node-interconnect performance, I/O-performance, batch system and job scheduler. This diversity (heterogeneity) in computer resources is intentional. The models, algorithms and software applications that researchers develop and use in their work differ widely in the (hardware) resources that are required for efficient execution. A main objective for SNIC is that the set of compute resources provides a balanced and cost-efficient set of resources for large scale computation.

Each compute resource is set up as a shared resource. At any time, each  resource is used by multiple users and several applications from different users are executed simultaneously. Even if the resources are large in terms of the number of nodes, processors, memory, and storage, there are limitations to their capacities. If one or more of these capacities are exhausted, the performance of the overall system may be seriously degraded.

However, to ensure that all users are satisfied with the provided services and to ensure that the resources are used efficiently and provide a smooth, reliable and robust service to all users, some rules for the use of the resources are enforced. One such rule is that (project) access to the compute resources is by application for computing time (allocations). This allows SNIC to assess the science that is proposed to be carried out on the resources, the scientific need for having access to the resources and the technical feasibility of using the allocations efficiently. In addition, by granting allocations to projects, SNIC ensures that the resources are not be (heavily) overloaded.

 

HOW TO APPLY FOR ACCESS 

SNIC uses on-line application forms and procedures to request computing time (allocations) on one or more of the compute resources. An allocation is in the form of computing hours (processor core hours) per calender month.

Applying for allocations on SNIC resources consists of the following steps:

  1. Verify that you are eligible to apply. Individuals and groups can apply for allocations on the available resources. For all types of allocations, except SMALL allocations, the applicant must be a senior scientist in Swedish academia, at least at the level of assistant professor (forskarassistent). Master students, PhD students, postdoctoral students, and guest researchers cannot apply for a MEDIUM or LARGE allocation, but can get access to such allocations that have been granted to PIs that are eligible to apply. (See below for the types of allocations that can be requested.)

    The SNIC resources are available only for research and education, but agreements may be established with SNIC for other usage of the resources (e.g., industrial/commercial research or production workloads). Organizations that are not academic, but that would like to have access, should contact the SNIC office. If you are uncertain whether you can apply, contact the SNIC office.

  2. Apply for a project allocation on one or more of the SNIC compute resources. It is important that the allocations that are requested match the intended usage and the characteristics of the compute resources and application software that will be used. In case of doubt, consult the SNIC office or the support staff at the SNIC-affiliated centers to get assistance in choosing the correct resources. (See below for the types of allocations that can be requested.)

  3. An application that gets a positive evaluation receives a project allocation. Once an application has been approved, a project will be established on the resources on which allocations are granted. The applicant will be responsible (PI) for this project and must keep an overview of the usage of the allocation(s). The PI must specify and approve which users are allowed to use the project allocation. The PI must ensure that the allocation(s) are used only for the activities that are specified in the application that was approved. The project allocation is shared by all users that are connected to the project.

SNIC reserves the right to grant a project allocation that differs from the request in the application. There can be several reasons for this. It can for example be that the total requested allocations (i.e., the sum from all submitted applications) for a specific compute resource exceeds the total available capacity of that resource. Another reason can be that the proposed research activity in the application is believed to be more suited for another compute resource than applied for. In such cases, requested allocations may be reduced in size or be assigned to another resource. The request may also be altered if it appears to be too large and/or the size of the allocation is not sufficiently motivated. A request may also be merged with another request or existing allocation in case the research activities (and or groups) are the same or very similar.

The SNIC policy for allocation of resources can be found here. 

For support questions, see the SNIC knowledge base or contact one of the SNIC-affiliated centers directly.


ALLOCATION TYPES

Three types of project allocations exist. For each type, a project allocation is given in the form of a number of computing hours (processor core hours) per calender month. A project will exist a number of months (typically 6 or 12). Unused allocations in one month cannot be transferred to a later month.

  • SMALL allocations

    SMALL allocations are for up to 5 000 core hours/month per resource.

    This category targets individual researchers and research groups that are not familiar with using HPC resources and would like to build experience and install applications. Also existing SNIC projects that would like to get acquainted with other compute platforms can make use of this category.

    - Available resources for SMALL allocations

    - Application form for SMALL allocations

  • MEDIUM allocations

    This category is for allocations up to a maximum size (core hours/month). The maximum size of a MEDIUM allocation varies for each resource. The total size of all MEDIUM allocations granted to you can maximally amount to 150%. For example, 80% of the maximum size of a MEDIUM allocation of one resource and 70% of the maximum size of a MEDIUM allocation of another resource.

    Applications for MEDIUM allocations can be submitted at any time via a unified online application form. Applications are evaluated by the center(s) that host(s) the resource(s) on which the allocation(s) is/are requested. The evaluation is carried out by application experts and assesses the feasibility of using the requested resources efficiently. The evaluation will normally be completed in two weeks.

    Note that you cannot be granted a MEDIUM allocation if you have already been granted a LARGE allocation. Already granted MEDIUM allocations will be terminated once you are granted a LARGE allocation.

    Available resources and limits for MEDIUM allocations

    Application form for MEDIUM allocations

  • LARGE allocations

    LARGE allocations are larger than the upper limit for a MEDIUM allocation (for at least one resource).

    Calls for LARGE applications are issued twice a year. For the evaluation of applications for LARGE allocations,  a peer review procedure is used. SNAC evaluates the applications and decides on the allocations. The evaluation is based on scientific merit, need for the resources, feasibility of efficient use of the requested resources, and impact. For the evaluation of an application for a LARGE allocation, SNAC may consult experts in the scientific and engineering area of the application as well as experts in applications and techniques for efficient resource utilization.

    LARGE allocations are granted for a specific period. The allocation period is a 6-month or 12-month period, starting January 1 or July 1.

    LARGE allocations are usually decided a few weeks before the start of the allocation period. It is not possible to apply for a LARGE allocation outside the regular calls. Applications outside the regular calls are normally only granted allocations of SMALL or MEDIUM size.

    Minor applications for additional allocations to be added to an existing LARGE project allocation can be included.

    Note that if you have been granted a LARGE allocation for some research activity, you cannot submit additional applications for MEDIUM allocations for the same research activity.

    Available resources for LARGE allocations

    Application form for LARGE allocations

 

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