The distribution of computational resources closely follows the technological and industrial development of a country. In other words, computational power is an indicator of technological advancement. All the fields of science and engineering, as well as finance and some of the humanities require access to world-class computational facilities to remain competitive. The Eastern Mediterranean region is particularly lacking in this area: with a population approximately equal to that of the United States, it has just 1% of the world’s computational capacity compared to 43% for the United States.
The Computation-based Science and Technology Research Center (CaSToRC) of The Cyprus Institute aspires to cultivate the use of high performance computing in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean region and to serve the needs of the scientific community for computational power and data intensive computing.
CaSToRC, after securing a € 1.1 million strategic infrastructure project has developed a national computational facility similar to the ones that most European countries have established decades ago. The University of Cyprus as well as the Synchrotron Light Source Facility SESAME in Jordan are participating in the project. The aim of the project is to provide all Cypriot scientists as well as industry, a competitive infrastructure for large computation as well as training and educational programs in the usage of supercomputers. With the creation of universities in Cyprus such a national facility is crucial for supporting research and innovation. Furthermore, technical expertise in operating and using such facilities is scarce in the region and therefore Cyprus has the opportunity to lead.
With the funding provided through this project, the Cy-Tera supercomputer, the largest supercomputer for non-military usage in the region was installed in 2011 and inaugurated in Jan. of 2012. The machine is open to all Cypriot Universities, Research Institutes, and Industry through a call for proposals issued on Dec. 1st 2011.
Exploiting the Cy-Tera infrastructure, CaSToRC secured a European funded infrastructure program of a total budget of € 2.5 million to lead the development of high performance facilities and computational science in the Eastern Mediterranean. The project with the name Linking Scientific Computing in Europe and in the Eastern Mediterranean (LinkSCEEM) includes two computational facilities in Egypt in addition to Cy-Tera. The Cy-Tera machine with peak per-formance of about 35 Tflop/s is the largest of the three computers. It also has an innovative architecture being a hybrid computer. Among other activities, the project funds training programs for scientists in the region. Many workshops have been organized by CaSToRC personnel since Jan. of 2011. Scientists from the region but also around Europe were funded to attend the workshops, positioning CaSToRC within the European landscape and establishing it as a bridge between Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Since 2008, CaSToRC represents Cyprus in the Pan-European infrastructure project PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe. Along with 20 other European countries, PRACE aims to provide a common computer infrastructure across Europe. CaSToRC’s participation opens up the opportunity to all Cypriot researchers to access the largest available supercomputers currently being operated in Germany and France. The Cy-Tera facility in combination with training programs designed by CaSToRC provide higher level training for machines more powerful than Cy-Tera so that the Cypriot community can take advantage of the European infrastructure available through PRACE and participate in relevant competitive European projects.
In order to construct computers optimally suited for climate studies CaSToRC is leading code development for a new generation of computers within an innovative EU infrastructure project entitled “Dynamical Exascale Entry Platform” (DEEP), the European response to the Exascale challenge. The project involves leading European institutions and large computer companies, A senior scientist and a doctoral student were funded by the project to work with companies in designing the most suitable computer for climate studies.
With its strategic alliance with the Julich Supercomputer Center (JSC), Europe’s largest computational facility that leads PRACE and its founding agreement with the National Super-computing Center (NCSA) of the University of Illinois, CaSToRC is ideally positioned to assume a leading role for computational science and engineering. CaSToRC brings the high-level expertise of JSC and NCSA to Cyprus and the region, and acts as a portal to their high-end resources that include some of the most powerful computers in the world. The EU views this role very positively, as manifested by the funding that has been granted to the Center.
The creation of a National Computational Center with an infrastructure of regional significance is a landmark not only for CaSToRC and CyI, but also for the whole of Cyprus.
Cy-Tera: A Multi-Teraflops Computing Facility for Science and Technology in Cyprus
The aim of the Cy-Tera project was to create a research facility including a high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure supporting cutting-edge scientific applications, with associated user support and computational science research and training programs. The Cy-Tera facility is the first HPC facility at multi-Tflops level in Cyprus, serving the needs of the Cyprus Institute (CyI) and its partners for frontier research applications in many fields of great scientific and/or societal importance. The Cy-Tera project provided the initial funding for the infrastructure of the Computation-based Science and Technology Research Center (CaSToRC).
- Provide physical building infrastructure to host a high performance computing (HPC) facility
- Acquire an HPC system tailored to the regional needs
- Implement operations procedures
- Build-up a user HPC community in Cyprus
- 116 twelve-core iDataPlex dx360 M3 compute nodes, 18 of which with dual NVidia M2070 GPUs
- 48 GB memory per node
- Total memory 4.7 TBytes
- 4x QDR Infiniband network for MPI and for I/O to the global GPFS filesystem
- 360TBytes of storage
Cy-Tera HPC Production Access Call for Proposals
The Cy-Tera project allows researchers from Cyprus to apply for time on Cy-Tera through two different types of access:
- Preparatory access which is for projects that require porting, scalability testing, development or specialised assistance. These projects undergo only a light technical review and the call for proposals is permanent. The upper limit for allocations for such projects is 10,000 core hours.
- Production access which is for projects to implement a scientific research project. These projects undergo a full technical and scientific review. There are 2 calls for proposals per year with published opening and closing dates. In general, such a call is for experienced users where the codes necessary for the project are available on the system requested and/or, in case of codes developed by the applicants, have been sufficiently tested for efficiency, scalability, and suitability (either via proposals for preparatory access or in systems similar to the LinkSCEEM-2 systems). The upper limit for allocations for such projects is 100,000 to 200,000 core hours. There must be a verifiable work plan for resource usage included in the proposal.
For more details please see here.
Cy-Tera Helpdesk System
Cy-Tera in Pictures
|Related Projects:||Cy-Tera, LinkSCEEM-2, PRACE|
C. Alexandrou, L. Barrie, T. Christoudias, S. Erotokritou, K. Klingmüller, H. Merx, G. Tsoulouppas, J. Wiegand, C. Kallidonis
|Key Partners:||NCSA University of Illinois (US); JSC (Germany); University of Cyprus; SESAME (Jordan)|
The Project Cy-Tera (ΝΕΑ ΥΠΟΔΟΜΗ/ΣΤΡΑΤΗ/0308/31) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus through the Research Promotion Foundation