Advanced Support and IPÉA

Missions and Services of the User Support Team

The IDRIS User Support team is composed of about fifteen engineers specialised in intensive numerical calculation who form a true centre of HPC expertise. The most important mission of this team is to serve as the interface between IDRIS and its users by providing basic services which are directly accessible:

  • Assistance to users by telephone or electronic mail
  • IDRIS WEB site, complete knowledge base for users
  • Assistance in porting codes on the available IDRIS architectures
  • Installation and maintenance of software applications and scientific libraries
  • Training and courses

The User Support team dedicates itself to providing services of the highest quality requiring technical expertise, specialized proficiency in HPC and extensive experience in all domaines of numerically intensive calculations. These activities include the following:

  • Individually adapted user assistance (parallelization, vectorisation, optimisation, code coupling)
  • Implication in the PRACE European projects
  • Test benches for new architectures
  • Technology watch

How to respond to user problems linked to massive parallelism

The architectural evolution of high performance computing is clearly tending towards diversity in which massive parallelism has an important place. At the same time, the basic architectural building blocks are becoming more complex (multiple memory hierarchy, FPGA co-processor, GPGPU, Xcon Phi, many-core, etc.). These inevitable architectural evolutions imply an adaptation of applications in order to maximally use this brute computing power. Code parallelization, taking into account both massive parallelism and adaptation to it (i.e. hyperscaling by optimisation of parallel algorithms, communication or I/O), represents difficult technical work requiring specialists with extensive experience in the domaine.

There is currently a strong need for user support to those who have neither the human resources, nor necessarily the required technical skills, to develop new codes or to adapt them to recent and future architectures.

Building on its leadership role in European projects such as DECI (in DEISA), followed by PRACE, and responding to the high demand emanating from its users, IDRIS has decided to intensify and expand its activities in HPC software development engineering through two complementary services: IPÉA and Advanced Support.

IPÉA : Initiative for the Hyperscaling of Applications

The Initiative for the Hyperscaling of Applications (IPÉA) was launched in 2013 and is piloted by the Maison de la Simulation (MdS) with the contribution of the national computing centres (CINES IDRIS and TGCC), and the support of GENCI. The mission of IPÉA is to identify the relevant French scientific communities or teams for the purpose of providing them with the technical expertise and human resources needed for hyperscaling their applications. This expertise can only concern the codes already offering a good level of scalability on Tier 1-type machines (i.e. more than 1000 execution cores) and can only be provided for a defined period of 2 to 6 months.

Whether you are already a user in a national computing centre (CINES, IDRIS, TGCC) or not, you can submit an IPEA request through the server which is common to the three centres. If you are currently a user, you may provide your DARI identification number and this will automatically fill in some of your IPÉA file. If you are not a current user, you may create your file by following the instructions given on the DARI site. The submitted files are then examined by the centres' user support teams and the Maison de la Simulation, also taking into account the opinions of the Thematic Committee (CT) presidents. A response to the IPÉA request is given within 3 months.

Click here for more information about the IPÉA initiative.

Advanced User Support

Complementary to the IPÉA, IDRIS also proposes Advanced User Support. More generalist in nature and of a reduced duration (1-2 months maximum), Advanced User Support is open to all IDRIS users wishing to benefit from assistance and expertise in the following domains:

  • Porting, vectorisation, optimisation and hyperscalability on Turing, the IDRIS Blue Gene/Q machine
  • Parallelization of intensive calculation codes (MPI, OpenMP, Pthread, hybrid, PGAS) and implementation of new algorithms
  • Debugging and code optimisation in the framework of massive parallelism (algorithms, numerical libraries, adaptation to the architecture, communications, I/O, etc.)
  • Assembling/coupling of multidisciplinary applications in an HPC context (MPI, CORBA, CCA, etc.)

This scientific computing advanced support activity is organized in the following way: Intensive calculation project requests for advanced support must be addressed to the IDRIS senior management. IDRIS will evaluate the technical aspects of the project and determine its capacity to furnish an effective support. IDRIS could also request the advice of the Thematic Committees as to the scientific pertinance of the project. The projects which are finally selected for advanced support will receive the assistance of the IDRIS engineers for a determined period of time (1-2 months) and for a precisely defined mission. These close collaborations with the users will not only be the occasion to develop codes adapted to the latest technical evolutions of computing arcitectures and programming paradigms but also, and above all, to initiate a transfer of technical competence and experience from IDRIS to the users and to the French research teams. At the end of each project, a final evaluation will be carried out to verify if the objectives initially defined were indeed reached.

  • Feedbacks from projects that has benfited from Advanced Support.
  • Request form for Advanced Support (doc)

This form should be sent to the following address:

IDRIS - Support Avancé
Batiment 506 - BP 167

or faxed to : 01 69 85 37 75