Earlier this month, the European PRACE initiative went into Phase 2, with Switzerland becoming a new Hosting Member. As a Hosting Member, Switzerland is now making its Piz Daint supercomputer at CSCS available for cutting-edge PRACE research. The other Hosting Members are Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
The overarching goal of PRACE is to provide a federated European supercomputing infrastructure with different architectures that is science-driven and globally competitive, according to the PRACE 2 media release. It builds on the strengths of European science by providing high-end computing and data analysis resources to drive discoveries and new developments in all areas of science and industry, from fundamental research to applied sciences including: mathematics and computer science, medicine and engineering, as well as digital humanities and social sciences.
Piz Daint is a CRAY XC40/XC50, makes CSCS the only PRACE computing centre with a scalable hybrid system of graphics processors and conventional processors, having peak performance of around 20 petaflops. The High-Performance Computing and Networking Strategy (HPCN) launched by the ETH Board in 2009 paved the way to procuring a petaflop-league supercomputer for Switzerland.
Researchers in PRACE member states may now apply for compute time on “Piz Daint”, while researchers in Switzerland can gain access to compute time at other Hosting Members. Applications for compute time from Computationally-Intensive, High-Impact Research On Novel Outstanding Science (CHRONOS) projects that previously went via CSCS will now be routed through PRACE instead. “As a Hosting Member, our initiatives in high performance computing with ‘Piz Daint’ will gain further profile internationally and institutionalise our researchers’ access to other leading computing architectures. This will benefit everyone and make Switzerland yet more attractive as a centre of innovation,” says Thomas Schulthess, the Director of CSCS.