Access Model DeiC National HPC Centre, SDU

Overview

This document describes the business model for access to the ABACUS 2.0 supercomputer, DeiC National HPC Centre at SDU, hosted at the SDU eScience center.

The HPC facility provides a pay-per-use service open to all, where national academic users are given priority. The final decision on awarding access to the HPC facility remains with the SDU eScience Steering Committee. The Committee allocates resources at the facility taking into consideration the requests received and according to the rules in the present document.

Requests for access to the HPC facility for private/commercial users are allocated depending on the available resources and within the limits of the service agreement with DeiC.

Access to the facility

The DeiC National HPC Centre, SDU, hosts state-of-the-art solutions for academic HPC suitable for a wide range of research and technological applications. All researchers at Danish universities, and all academic users can benefit from the available resources under the same conditions.

Access to the facility is not free. All academic users, independently of their host institution, pay the same price. This allows all researchers at Danish universities to take advantage equally of the partial public funding to the national facility at SDU.

The ABACUS 2.0 supercomputer is currently one of the most power efficient HPC installation in the Nordic countries and offers one of the best pricing options for academic users in Europe, also thanks to the national funding from DeiC.

Users are billed according to how many node hours they are allocated on the ABACUS 2.0 supercomputer. This means that node hours not used by the applicant within the agreed time frame will not be refunded.

Access to the HPC facility, the allocated resources as well as the appropriate user support are provided within the scope and the limits of the HPC Centre policies and regulations.

Three Danish universities — AAU, AU and SDU — have committed to buy HPC resources for a total amount of 21M DKK. AU has committed to buy 5M DKK over 4 years (March 2015-February 2019). AAU has committed to buy 0.25M DKK resources every year over 4 years (March 2015-February 2019). The Rector of SDU has set aside 15M DKK for the period 2015-2018 to (co)finance access to computational resources on the HPC facility by SDU researchers.

Pricing model for Academic Users

The price for academic access to HPC resources is calculated based on the full cost of ownership to operate the facility. This includes:

  • the cost of the HPC hardware and the cost of the fast, parallel storage system;
  • the cost of the infrastructure needed to host the HPC facility at SDU, such as: the server rooms, the cooling system, the required electrical components to connect to the power grid (e.g. transformers), etc.;
  • the cost of the electricity for the whole HPC facility (HPC hardware, storage system, cooling system).

The costs for support personnel to the facility are not included in the above cost. Currently, this cost is very low being 1.5 FTE.

The final price for academic users is calculated to be (2017 price):

  • Slim nodes: 1,90 DKK / node*hour (~ 0,08 DKK / CPU core*hour)
  • Fat nodes: 2,30 DKK / node*hour (~0,10 DKK / CPU core*hour)
  • GPU nodes: 2,65 DKK / node*hour (~0,11 DKK / CPU core*hour)

The rates above are per node per hour (node*hour) in DKK excluding VAT. All nodes on ABACUS 2.0 have 24 CPU cores, i.e., the rates per CPU core, are obtained by dividing node-hours prices by 24. Rates are subject to change annually.

The prices are estimated based on the assumption of an average utilization of 80% of the machine, a life span of the HPC hardware of 4 years and of 10 years for the supporting infrastructure.

The prices take into account the contribution from DeiC, which reduces the overall price for all users by about 35%.

Note that the pricing model at the national HPC facility at SDU is such that the costs for the storage are included in the cost of node-hours, i.e. users are not required to pay separately for the use of the fast storage system.

Academic users

Academic users can request computational resources in the form of two different types of allocation: Test Projects and Regular Projects. Principal Investigators of projects allocated at the HPC facility must hold at least the position of postdoc within their institution. PhD students cannot request on their own, but must instead do so in consultation with, and under the auspices of, their supervisor.

Test Projects 

Test Projects are those which only require a small amount of HPC resources. Typically, they are exploratory or preliminary in nature.

Rules for Test Projects

  • The maximum amount is 10000 node*hours on slim nodes and 2000 node*hours on fat and GPU nodes.
  • The maximum allowed period to use the compute time is 6 months.
  • Requests can be done at any time, and they will be processed as soon as possible.

Procedure to request and grant the request

1. Submit the request form through the website of the HPC facility (http://deic.sdu.dk).

The request form includes the following sections:

  • A short abstract of your Test Project that if granted will be published on the SDU eScience Center website (maximum 250 ch);
  • Requested ressources.

As part of the allocated resources, access to the HPC facility storage system is provided. Requesters are asked to provide the storage requirements for their request in the form.

2. The completed request will be forwarded to the eScience Steering Committee for decision.

The eScience Steering Committee will facilitate the allocation of resources to Test Projects as much as possible to allow access of new users to the HPC infrastructure.

3. If approved, you will receive an email informing you of the resources allocated to your project.

4. You will receive a separate activation email for your HPC account.

Regular Projects

Regular Projects are those which require large amount of HPC resources, which cannot be accommodated by Test Projects. These projects are typically used by researchers or research groups with experience in HPC computing, which require continued access to HPC resources.

Rules for Regular Projects

  • This kind of allocation provide access for a period of one year.
  • Requesters are required to have a track-record of research based on the use of HPC platforms.
  • The allocation of the available resources for regular projects follows a schedule of four months’ periods, called “allocation periods”. The three yearly allocation periods are: 1st of March to 30th of June, 1st of July to 31st of October, 1st of November to last day of February.
  • Up to a 20% of the original allocated resources for a period will automatically be carried over to the next period, if the project has not used all available resources. Unused resources in excess of 20% of the original allocated amount will be lost.

Procedure to request and grant the request

1. Submit the request form through the website of the HPC facility (http://deic.sdu.dk).

The request form includes the following sections:

  • A short abstract of your Regular Project that if granted will be published on the SDU eScience Center website (maximum 250 ch);
  • A description of the planned activities that requires access to HPC resources and a justification of the requested resources. Must also contain a technical description of the software which will be used to carry out the project and its adequacy in relation to the requested HPC resources (maximum 4000 ch);
  • A description of the team experience in HPC environments and listing of research publications from previous HPC allocations (maximum 3000ch);
  • How many resources (compute and storage) are needed for each of the next three allocation periods.

You can submit requests continuously, but they will be gathered, evaluated and resources allocated at several cut-off dates. There are 3 cut-off dates: 1st February; 1st June; 1st October.

Requests submitted since the last cut-off and before each of these dates are reviewed together before the start of the next allocation period.

2. The completed request will be forwarded to the eScience Steering Committee for evaluation.

During the evaluation of the requests for access, the eScience Steering Committee can also use the advice of the HPC technical team at the SDU HPC facility in relation to the overall technical feasibility of the project.  Projects which cannot possibly be accommodated by the HPC installation for technical reasons will be rejected.

3. In the week preceding the start of the new allocation period you will receive an email from the HPC Coordinator informing you of the resources allocated to your project.

A consequence of the limited resources available, even high-quality projects might not be allocated resources for the current allocation period, but could be allocated for the next allocation period for these projects, if deemed appropriate by the requester, so as to ensure access without the need to resubmit a request.

4. You will receive a separate activation email for your HPC account.

Access for non-academic Users

Non-academic users, such as private companies, can also request access to the DeiC National HPC Centre at SDU.

Non-academic users request access to the HPC facility by writing to escience@sdu.dk.

The price for non-academic users does not include the co-funding from DeiC and are aligned with current market prices.

Individual prices are agreed with non-academic users, based on their needs and level of support which they require.

In addition, access for non-academic users is regulated by the service provider agreement with DeiC which limits the amount of resources which can be allocated to non-academic users.

The DeiC National HPC Centre at SDU will provide access at any requested time to the infrastructure and the requested resources as well as the appropriate user support within the scope and the limits of the HPC Centre policies and regulations.

The SDU eScience Centre uses a standard Collaborative Agreement that contains the terms and conditions that governs non-academic users´ access to and use of the service offerings.