2016 NSC and NCAR ASD Call

This opportunity closed as of the deadline noted below.

2016 Call for Proposals from NCAR Researchers
for ASD and NSC Resources

Accelerated Scientific Discovery

NCAR researchers are encouraged to apply for resources through the Accelerated Scientific Discovery (ASD) initiative. ASD projects will run on the new Cheyenne system from approximately January through March 2017. The ASD projects will have early access to Cheyenne in December 2016 with full-scale access in January 2017.

The deadline for ASD submissions is August 29, 2016.

NCAR Strategic Capability program

Very large allocations of computational resources for NCAR-led research also are awarded through the NCAR Strategic Capability (NSC) program. NSC allocations target large-scale projects lasting one year to a few years (but not indefinitely long) that align with NCAR’s scientific priorities and strategic plans. NSC projects will have access to the Cheyenne system early in 2017.

The deadline for NSC submissions has been extended until September 30, 2016.

Cheyenne Specs: The Cheyenne system will be a 5.34-petaflops SGI ICE™ XA cluster with 145,152 Intel E5-2697V4 Broadwell cores, 313 TB of memory, and 36 PB of parallel disk storage. Its peak performance will be more than 3.5 times that of the Yellowstone supercomputer. See the Cheyenne documentation for more details.

See this section below to compare Cheyenne and Yellowstone core-hours.

NSC and ASD requirements

To be successful, a proposed project must study a challenging and important problem in the atmospheric sciences or computational science in support of the atmospheric sciences. 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, NSC and ASD projects must also:

  • Require 10 million core-hours or more for the set of computational experiments proposed. Very large requests are encouraged. To estimate the number of Cheyenne core-hours needed, multiply Yellowstone core-hours by 0.82. For example, using that factor, a 20 million core-hour project on Yellowstone would require 16.4 million core-hours on Cheyenne.

  • 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.

Special ASD requirements

NCAR ASD teams that are recommended for awards should be prepared to submit a preliminary benchmark from the Laramie test system by November 21, 2016, and a production benchmark that demonstrates efficient use of Cheyenne no later than December 30, 2016. These dates assume that first access to Cheyenne is on December 18, 2016. 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 January 3, 2017, and continue rapidly to completion by the end of March 2016. 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 before the project’s start on Cheyenne. ASD projects will be granted data analysis and visualization allocations through October 31, 2017.

ASD projects must provide a short preliminary progress report by February 13, 2017, and a final accomplishment report by November 30, 2017, 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 read “Acknowledging NCAR/CISL” for how to properly acknowledge NSF and NCAR/CISL computational resource support in your publications.

2016 NSC and NCAR ASD proposal instructions

All NSC and NCAR ASD proposals must be submitted via the NSC web form; email or postal mail submissions will not be accepted. Please fill out the web form and attach the ASD Proposal Document, described below, as a PDF file.

NSC proposal document (ASD applicants follow same format)

Proposals should be five pages or less for Sections A–E below; the data management plan, accomplishment reports, references, and figures (Sections F–I) should be an additional five pages or less. The proposal should address each numbered item; please retain the section and item numbering and order in your responses.

Note: The request document must identify all PIs and Co-Is on any associated awards. In addition, the web submission form must include the names and affiliations of all PIs and Co-Is on the supporting NSF grant(s) and a complete list of collaborators and their institutions.

A. Project title and PIs

On the first page of the NSC/ASD proposal document please include the following:

  • Project title

  • Project PIs and Co-Is along with institutional affiliations

  • HPC core-hours requested

  • Peak disk space needed

  • Specify NSC request only, ASD only or consideration requested for both programs

B. Scientific objectives

Describe the scientific problem that will be studied and its importance. This section should include discussion of related work recently completed by the PIs and other scientists along with supporting references. Describe the linkage between any NSF award(s) or other agency awards and the proposed NSC/ASD activity. See NCAR Strategic Capability Projects for more discussion of linkages. Also indicate the relationship to or alignment with NWSC Community Science Objectives, if any.

C. Computational plan

Discussion of your planned computational experiments and the resources needed should comprise the bulk of the five-page proposal.

  1. Describe the numerical approach or models to be used. (For a non-standard or non-community model, the numerical description should briefly describe the approximations and other methods proposed to obtain valid solutions to the problem.)

  2. Describe the computational experiments being proposed and how they relate to the scientific objectives in sufficient detail for reviewers to confirm the estimate of system resources required.

  3. Describe the number of core-hours required for each proposed experiment and the total resources for the request, including the total data written to disk, sufficient for reviewers to assess the project’s ability to co-exist with other NSC/ASD projects, and the data destined for the HPSS archive, sufficient for reviewers to assess the appropriateness and efficiency of the data management plan. Explain how the number of core-hours per simulated year was determined.

  4. Provide a table summarizing the number of core-hours, disk space, and archive space required for each experimental configuration and the total for the proposed set of computational experiments

D. Code requirements and production-readiness

The reviewers will use this section to assess the production-readiness of the code and to determine if the code will perform well on Cheyenne.

  1. Describe the model or code to be used in a few sentences, including an assessment of its current production-readiness. Please include the name of the model or code. You may cite a web page where the model or code is described.
  2. Describe your proposed project's special programming or runtime environment requirements. For example, required software, libraries, wall-clock time, scratch disk space needs, particularly if they differ significantly from what is currently available by default on Yellowstone today.
  3. Benchmarks and scalability
    1. Benchmarking system and results. Please summarize benchmark details or reference web page.
    2. Describe the model or code’s scalability on current systems and estimate the maximum number of Cheyenne nodes that could be used efficiently.
  4. Other special requirements

E. Data analysis and visualization

NSC/ASD projects will be granted allocations on Geyser and Caldera. CISL will provide help in constructing visualizations to improve understanding and presentation of results. Please describe plans or estimated needs for data analysis and visualization resources following the ASD project period on Cheyenne.

Supporting information

Sections F–I together should be an additional five pages or less.

F. Data management plan

Because of the potential for large-scale Cheyenne projects to produce extensive data output, the project’s short-term disk storage needs and the NSC/ASD project data targeted for longer-term storage should be described in Section C. The Data Management Plan should be used to provide additional explanation of the project’s data needs and plans.

  1. Disk space: Describe the project’s medium-term disk needs for data analysis and visualization following completion of the primary HPC runs through the submission of the final report in November 2017.

  2. Archival storage: NCAR will provide archive space, commensurate with review panel recommendations, for up to one year after the ASD project ends. Describe any longer-term needs for archival storage and/or relevant plans for sharing or managing the resulting data over the longer term.

  3. Offsite Data Transfer: Discuss the amount of data to be transferred to another center and the frequency of transfers.

G. Accomplishment report on prior large allocations

The reviewers will use the accomplishment report to judge the proposing team’s experience with large-scale computations and their likelihood of NSC/ASD success on Cheyenne. The accomplishment report should focus on research in the past five years conducted with large (merit-reviewed) computing allocations at NCAR or other HPC centers. In addition to summarizing the computational experiments and scientific outcomes, the accomplishment report should include (a) the scientific publications produced, (b) the number of graduate students that worked on each large allocation project, (c) the theses produced, if any.

H. References

Please limit references to those directly related to the proposed project.

I. Figures and captions

Optional. Figures may be embedded within the first five pages of the proposal document; however, embedded figures will count against the five-page limit.


Questions on the NSC and NCAR ASD allocation and selection process may be directed to alloc@ucar.edu or 303-497-2400. Questions about the new Cheyenne system and the user transition process may be directed to cislhelp@ucar.edu.