New: The maximum available quota for RWTH-M projects has been increased by a factor of 2x starting Jan 1, 2019.
At the same time this is the minimum for future JARA-HPC projects.

NEW: If the PI uses a trusted email address (fz-juelich or rwth-aachen domain) the submission can be finalized by the PI online (without paper).


What is project-based resource management?

The RWTH Compute Cluster is a precious but limited resource of great help to research and education. In order to make best use of this expensive device, the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) requires a procedure to allocate computing  resources following scientific considerations.

Thus, the project-based resource management is supposed to guarantee fair distribution of the available resources from scientific and technical points of view.
Researchers who would like to use more than the default quota of cluster resources are required to submit project applications that will undergo mandatory technical and scientific evaluations.

Students who would like to use more than the default quota of resources will only be able to do so in the context of university courses, seminars, practicum, thesis works or research projects and only when the corresponding scientist (thesis adviser, lecturer or principal investigator) has submitted a compute project proposal.

For different purposes multiple project categories have been defined.
Please find an overview including links to the JARDS online submission system here.

 

Who is (not) affected?

Project-based resource management affects the batch usage in the Linux partition of the compute cluster above a certain threshold which is measured in the amount of core-hours (core-h) CPU time you require for a certain period of time (max 1 year).
Minor usage of compute resources is possible within default quota without any project submission by students and employees of RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich.
Users can check their compute time usage for the past several months by logging into the cluster and executing the command r_batch_usage, e.g. with parameter –m 12 in order to obtain usage statistics for the past 12 months.

 

Support for research and education

Scientists can request specific resource allocations for their research work, which are guaranteed to be available once they are approved, so that you can carry out your work in a planned manner.
In order to keep the overhead in limits, bigger allocations should not be requested individually but rather managed as projects that span up to one year. Continuations are of course possible.
Processes have been established in order to guarantee the orderly execution of courses and the ability for students to work on their theses when that requires the use of the RWTH Compute Cluster.
Courses can either take place as a single block or happen periodically during the semester.

 

Roles and tasks related to any computing project

There are several roles related to any computing project: Each project has one leading scientist as principal investigator (PI) and one person to contact (PC) (previously called technical contact,TC), as well as further project members (PM).

The principal investigator (PI) has to take responsibility for the project application and the project execution.
He/She has to be a senior researcher (a leading scientist with a Dr./PhD degree or a permanent position) who can also act as a reviewer for other submissions of computing project applications or otherwise to nominate and supervise a delegate who is able to thoroughly take part in the reviewing process.
He/She has to sign the paper version of the application and he/she is also responsible for any due status or final reports.
Furthermore, the PI is responsible for granting access to further project members. He has to make sure that citizens of countries that are subject to the export control policy of the German Federal Government have an additional authorization from the German Federal Office for Econimic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) before they are allowed to use the RWTH Compute Cluster.

For lectures, seminars and practica  the corresponding lecturer acts as the PI; for thesis works the primary adviser acts as the PI.

The person to contact (PC) (previously called technical contact,TC) prepares the application and the project description, fills out the (online) forms and manages the computing project technically.
After the project has been approved and set up by the IT Center, the PC is responsible for adding each (new) project member PM to the project.

Typically the PI nominates the PC, but he can as well act as the PC himself.

Both, PI and PC, are project members as well.

Please be aware that all data stored in directories belonging to the compute project account will be deleted 8 months after the end of the project unless an extension has been approved.

Applicants from external institutions are responsible for providing any necessary software licence, please find more information here.


Getting an HPC account for the RWTH Compute Cluster

Each project member must have one single valid entry in the RWTH Identity Management system, the so-called TIM ID.
Anyone actively working on machines of the RWTH compute cluster must also have one corresponding HPC account, which looks identical to the TIM IDs.

Any member of RWTH already has his TIM ID.  Any member of the Forschungszentrum Jülich can get a TIM ID here . In order to get access the RWTH Compute Cluster you can provide yourself with an HPC account using your TIM ID.

 

Filing a compute time application

Three steps are required in order to successfully file an application for compute time for research purposes:

  1. Provide a description of the project
    1. A concise project description should be formulated for small research projects (1-2 pages).
    2. For larger compute projects a detailed project description similar to the one described in Guidelines on form and content of application for computing time on the JARA-HPC partition is required.
      Should your project be related to a peer-reviewed and approved research project (DFG, BMBF, EU or alike), please add to your project description the corresponding note of approval in order to reduce the effort for the scientific assessment. 
      We ask you to provide your project description in English. As an exception, we are ready to accept project descriptions in German under the condition that you provide an English version in case this is requested by the reviewers.
  2. Next, fill out the JARDS online form providing your resource requirements necessary for the technical assessment. In many cases it is just the sheer compute capacity that is the limiting factor. The form asks for information not only about the resource requirements in CPU-hours, but also about the parallel processing, the memory, storage and software requirements, and others of that kind.
    The amount of disk space which is provided by default is150 GB, 250 GB, and 1 TB on the HOME, WORK, and HPC_WORK file systems respectively.
    Furthermore, you are prompted to classify your field of research according to the DFG’s subject classification system.
    We depend on your information in order to provide an optimal environment concerning hard- and software for your immediate work. We also need to have a good knowledge of your needs in order to be able to shape the future of the RWTH compute cluster.
  3. JARDS generates a PDF file which will be sent to you by email once you finalize the online submission.
    NEW: If the PI uses a trusted email address (fz-juelich or rwth-aachen domain) the submission can be finalized by the PI online (without paper).
    Otherwise print out this PDF file. It has to be signed by the principle investigat and then sent to us:
    1. by mail to
          RWTH Aachen University, IT Center,
          Seffenter Weg 23, 52074 Aachen
    2. or by fax to
          (+49) (0241) 80-22134    (please check fax transmission status!)
      Please, do not send a scanned version of this file by email!

More than one scientist can participate in these projects, in which case the resources granted will be available for collective use by the project members. In fact, in order to reduce the complexity while processing the proposals, we would kindly ask you to define meaningful project sizes and if possible combine your requests instead of having each scientific employee submit his or her own application.

Applications for compute time for courses and thesis works follow a similar path, but instead of project description you only need to provide the title of the course/seminar/practica, respectively the title of the thesis work and information about the graduate.

Here you can find an example of a PDF file generated by JARDS (and an example of an equivalent old application form), and here a template of a project description for projects, which have to be reviewed.

For compute time applications for a large computing project you can use the detailed JARA-HPC application template.

 

Acknowledgement

Please don't forget that in publications arising from any compute project the computing time granted by RWTH Aachen University should be acknowledged using this phrase:
Simulations were performed with computing resources granted by RWTH Aachen University under project <ID of your project>.
Please provide electronic copies of these publications by  E-Mail to hpc-projects@itc.rwth-aachen.de.


Project extension

The longest project period is a year (12 months). If your project lasts longer you are welcome to file in a new project proposal with filled in 'project extensions' field; in this case we will re-use the existing project ID. Please add to the project description an 'achieved results' chapter. Project extension is not possible for THESIS and PREP projects. (User of PREP projects should file in an JARA or BUND project).


More information