Rising Demand

Today, simulations come into play where experiments are no longer possible or the traditional method no longer suffice. Scientists from an increasing number of disciplines are thus resorting to high-performance computers for their research.

In the competition for precious computer time, a transparent review process conducted by an independent committee of specialists decides how the time should be allocated. Every project proposal is evaluated by two scientists who belong to academic establishments from around the world and two technical experts from CSCS. An independent expert committee ultimately decides on the allocation of the computer time in a final evaluation based on these assessments. The painstaking procedure is designed to guarantee that all projects are treated equally and that all promising projects can be implemented on high-performance computers.

Anticipating the significant increase of compute power available in 2014 as well as the move toward hybrid CPU-GPU computing, CSCS has launched a new annual call for proposals dubbed CHRONOS, which specifically addresses these changes. CHRONOS calls are made in addition to the standard semi-annual calls for production projects, which sill dominate resource allocation at CSCS.

In 2013, a total of 90 production proposals were active on "Monte Rosa" as well as the initial (non-GPU) version of "Piz Daint". Although the number of projects is slightly bigger than in 2012 (83), the total allocated time increased sharply from 271 Mio core hours to about 413 Mio core hours. This observation confirms our general experience that computational projects grow rapidly in complexity and demand, thus necessitating regular upgrades and expansion of supercomputer facilities.

In the following graphs you can see the usage by research field and by institution in 2013.