2012 University ASD Call

Call for Proposals from NSF-Supported University Researchers

The ASD submission opportunity is now closed.

CISL is pleased to announce the availability of dedicated, large-scale computational resources from approximately August through September 2012 as part of its Accelerated Scientific Discovery (ASD) initiative. Approximately three to five NSF-supported, university-led projects from across the geosciences or the supporting computational sciences will be chosen. These projects will use NCAR’s newly installed Yellowstone system at the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC). 

Yellowstone Specs: The Yellowstone system will be a 1.6-petaflops IBM iDataPlex cluster with 74,592 Intel Sandy Bridge EP cores, 149.2 TB of memory, 11 PB of parallel disk storage. Yellowstone is capable of 30 times the workload throughput of NCAR’s current Bluefire supercomputer. See the Yellowstone documentation for more details.

University ASD eligibility

University researchers in the geosciences and closely related sciences who have received and used a large allocation at NCAR or another HPC center are invited to apply. An active NSF award for the proposed research (or for which the proposed research is a natural extension) is required. Only one submission per research group will be accepted. Joint university/NCAR requests based on a university-led NSF award are eligible for ASD consideration.

ASD project requirements

To be successful, a proposed project must study a challenging and important science problem in the geosciences or computational science in support of the geosciences. CISL is particularly interested in submissions for groundbreaking projects in line with the breakthrough computations described in the NWSC Community Science Objectives.

In addition to a challenging scientific problem, ASD projects must also:

  • Require 5 million core-hours or more for the set of computational experiments proposed. Very large requests are encouraged. For estimating Yellowstone core-hours, users can assume that 1 GAU is equivalent to 0.47 core-hours on Yellowstone. That is, GAUs * 0.47 = Yellowstone core-hours needed. Equivalently, 1 core-hour on Bluefire is equal to 0.65 core-hours on Yellowstone. 

  • Utilize production-ready codes that can scale effectively and efficiently up to thousands of processors or efficiently use an ensemble of comparable size.

  • Have the staff time and experience to complete the computational experiments within 12 weeks.

Guidelines, submission, and schedule

All university submissions must follow the ASD university instructions and be submitted via the ASD university form by March 5, 2012.  (NCAR-led projects must be submitted using a separate form since there are additional requirements.)  University ASD projects will be reviewed and recommended by the CISL HPC Advisory Panel (CHAP).

ASD teams that are recommended for award should be prepared to submit a preliminary benchmark on a smaller test system by June 29, 2012 and a production benchmark that demonstrates efficient use of Yellowstone no later July 30, 2012.  These dates assume that first access to Yellowstone is on July 21, 2012.   CISL HPC consultants will be available to provide tuning guidance and advice for ASD projects during the benchmark process.

Projects must begin production runs no later than August 3, 2012, and continue rapidly to completion by the end of October 2012.  If a project is unable to meet these benchmark and production deadlines and guidelines, the ASD allocation will be reduced to 10% of the original allocation, and CISL will reallocate the resources.

CISL staff will contact recommended ASD projects to discuss data analysis and visualization options and opportunities prior to the project’s start on Yellowstone. ASD projects will be granted data analysis and visualization allocations through June 28 , 2013.

ASD projects must provide a short preliminary progress report by November 5, 2012, and a final accomplishment report by July 1, 2013, of no more than five pages that describe the research results, the computational experiments performed, the code efficiency, and scientific papers submitted or published as a result of the ASD computations. Please acknowledge support from NSF and NCAR/CISL for the provision of computational resources in your publications.

Other opportunities

Researchers whose projects do not meet the size, scalability, readiness, and schedule criteria for ASD have other opportunties to apply for Yellowstone access. The university community will continue to have opportunities to submit large requests to the CHAP twice a year. The next deadline will be March 26, 2012, for Yellowstone and other NCAR resources. See the University allocations page for details.


ASD request instructions and request form link are available here. Questions on the ASD allocation and selection process may be directed to Dave Hart at alloc@ucar.edu or 303-497-1234. Questions about the new Yellowstone system and the user transition process may be directed to cislhelp@ucar.edu.