All Hands' Home
BNL USQCD 2010 Site
Call for Proposals
Supplement Call for Proposals
Oak Ridge NCCS
Date: February 2, 2010 3:40:12 PM CST
To: All members of the USQCD Collaboration
From: The Scientific Program Committee
Re: 2010 USQCD Call for Proposals
This message is a Call for Proposals for awards of time on the USQCD
computer resources dedicated to lattice QCD and other lattice field
theories. These are the DOE QCDOC at BNL, clusters at Fermilab and
JLab, a GPU-cluster at JLab and awards to USQCD from the INCITE program.
In this call for proposals we expect to distribute about
10.6 M Jpsi-core hours on QCDOC (*)
117.8 M Jpsi-core hours on clusters at JLAB and FNAL (+)
(detailed benchmarks from 9q still missing)
1.4 M GPU-hours (200 GPUs)
18.1 M Jpsi-core hours on BG/P at ALCF (**)
10.0 M Jpsi-core hours on XT5 at Oak Ridge (*)
(*) needs to be used during 07/10 - 12/10.
(+) During this allocation period new ARRA funded resources that
will became available at JLab are likely to lead to an 10% increase
of CPU time available on clusters; new benchmarks will soon be updated
(**) allocation starts already on April 1st and will also include
guidelines for the usage of discretionary time that may become
available. Further remarks on the nature of the INCITE award are
given below in section (iv).
The above list includes about 4 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours which we
expect to charge for disc and tape usage.
All members of the USQCD Collaboration are eligible to submit proposals.
Those interested in joining the Collaboration should contact Paul
Let us begin with some important dates:
February 2: this Call for Proposals
March 1: proposals due
March 28: reports to proponents sent out
April 16/17: All Hands' Meeting at BNL
May 16: allocations announced
(NOTE: INCITE allocations will already be announced
and will start on April 1.(see section (iv))
July 1: new allocations start
Proponents are invited to make an oral presentation of their proposals
at the All Hands' Meeting. These presentations are not mandatory,
but are recommended for large projects and in those cases where the
report raises serious issues.
The web site for the All Hands' Meeting is
The requests can be of three types:
A) requests for large amounts of supercomputer time---more than
2 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours---to support calculations of
benefit for the whole USQCD Collaboration;
B) requests for medium amounts of supercomputer time
--- 2 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours or less---
to support calculations that are scientifically sound but not
necessarily of such broad benefit;
C) requests for exploratory calculations, such as those needed to
develop and/or benchmark code, acquire expertise on the use of
the machines, or to perform investigations of limited scope.
Requests of Type A and B must be made in writing to the Scientific
Program Committee and are subject to the policies spelled out below.
These proposals must also specify the amount of disk and tape storage
needed. Projects will be charged for new disks and tapes. How this
will be implemented is discussed in section (iii).
Requests of Type C should be made in an e-mail message to
Bob Mawhinney (firstname.lastname@example.org) for QCDOCs at BNL,
Paul Mackenzie (email@example.com) for clusters at FNAL,
Chip Watson (Chip.Watson@jlab.org) for clusters at JLAB.
Type C requests for QCDOC can be for access to either a 64-node, single
motherboard partition or a larger partition; the total request should
be less than ten thousand node-hours. Type C requests for clusters
should not exceed 80,000 Jpsi-equivalent core-hours. The requests
will be honored up to a total not exceeding 5% of the available time
on USQCD hardware. If the demand exceeds such limits, the Scientific
Program Committee will reconsider the procedures for access.
Collaboration members who wish to perform calculations on USQCD hardware
or on resources awarded to USQCD through the INCITE program can present
requests according to procedures specified below. The Scientific
Program Committee would like to handle requests and awards either in
QCDOC core-hours (for QCDOC) or in the equivalent core-hours for the
FNAL "Jpsi" cluster (for all other computers). Conversion factors
for all machines are given below. When making requests, please keep
in mind that computing resources distributed at this time on QCDOC,
BG/P and XT5 need to be used during CY2010.
The time awarded to USQCD in CY2010 on leadership-class computers at
Argonne (BG/P) and Oak-Ridge (XT5) corresponds to 67M core-hours on
BG/P and 40M core-hours on XT5. Half of this allocation for CY2010
(see section (iv)) will be distributed in this call. This completes the
current USQCD INCITE project. The handling of a possible new INCITE
proposal needs to be discussed at the All Hands Meeting. Input for
this discussion will be asked for in a separate mailing.
- o -
The rest of this message deals with requests of Types A and B. It is
organized as follows:
i) policy directives regarding the usage of awarded resources;
ii) guidelines for the format of the proposals and deadline for
iii) procedures that will be followed to reach a consensus on the
research programs and the allocations;
iv) policies for handling awards on leadership-class machines
v) description of USQCD resources at BNL, Fermilab, and JLAB
i) Policy directives.
1) This Call for Proposals is for calculations that will further the
physics goals of the USQCD Collaboration, as stated in the proposals for
funding submitted to the DOE (see http://www.usqcd.org/), and have the
potential of benefiting additional research projects by members of the
2) Proposals of Type A are for investigations of very large scale,
which will require a substantial fraction of the available resources.
Proposals of Type B are for investigations of medium to large scale,
which will require a smaller amount of resources. Proposals requesting
more than 2 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours will be considered as
Type A, smaller ones as Type B. For QCDOC, this dividing line is
12 weeks (2000 hours) on a 4096-node partition.
Proposals that request time on the leadership-class computers at Argonne
and Oak Ridge should be of Type A.
It is hoped that on USQCD hardware about 80% of the available resources
will be allocated to proposals of Type A and about 15% to proposals
of Type B, with the rest being reserved for small allocations and
contingencies. Because our process is proposal-driven, however,
we cannot guarantee the 80-15-5 split.
For this round of project proposals we will consider all GPU project
proposals as Type B. GPU projects will not count against the above
mentioned 80-15-5 split.
3) Proposals of Type A are for investigations that benefit the whole
USQCD Collaboration. Thus it is expected that the calculations will
either produce data, such as lattice gauge fields or quark propagators,
that can be used by the entire Collaboration, or that the calculations
produce physics results listed among the Collaboration's strategic goals.
Accordingly, proponents planning to generate multi-purpose data must
describe in their proposal what data will be made available to the whole
Collaboration, and how soon, and specify clearly what physics analyses
they would like to perform in an "exclusive manner" on these data (see
below), and the expected time to complete them.
Similarly, proponents planning important physics analyses should explain
how the proposed work meets our strategic goals and how its results
would interest the broader physics community.
Projects generating multi-purpose data are clear candidates to use
USQCD's award(s) on leadership-class computers. Therefore, these
proposals must provide additional information on several fronts:
demonstrate the potential to be of broad benefit, for example
by providing a list of other projects that would use the shared
present a roadmap for future planning, presenting, for example,
criteria for deciding when to stop with one ensemble and start
discuss how they would cope with a substantial increase in
allocated resources, from the portability of the code and
storage needed to the availability of competent personnel
to carry out the running;
Some projects carrying out strategic analyses are candidates for
running on the leadership-class machines. They should provide the same
information as above.
4) Proposals of Type B are not required to share data or to work towards
stated Collaboration goals, although if they do that it is a plus.
Type B proposals may also be scientifically valuable even if not closely
aligned with USQCD goals. In that case the proposal should contain a
clear discussion of the physics motivations. If appropriate, Type B
proposals may discuss data-sharing and strategic importance as in the
case of Type A proposals.
5) The data that will be made available to the whole Collaboration will
have to be released promptly. "Promptly" should be interpreted with
common sense. Lattice gauge fields and propagators do not have to be
released as they are produced, especially if the group is still testing
the production environment. On the other hand, it is not considered
reasonable to delay release of, say, 444 files, just because the last 56
will not be available for a few months.
After a period during which such data will remain for the exclusive use
of the members of the USQCD Collaboration, and possibly of members of
other collaborations under reciprocal agreements, the data will be made
available worldwide as decided by the Executive Committee.
6) The USQCD Collaboration recognizes that the production of shared data
will generally entail a substantial amount of work by the investigators
generating the data. They should therefore be given priority in
analyzing the data, particularly for their principal physics interests.
Thus, proponents are encouraged to outline a set of physics analyses that
they would like to carry out with these data in an exclusive manner and
the amount of time that they would like to reserve to themselves to
complete such calculations.
When using the shared data, all other members of the USQCD collaboration
agree to respect such exclusivity. Thus, they shall refrain from using
the data to reproduce the reserved or closely similar analyses. In its
evaluation of the proposals the Scientific Program Committee will in
particular examine the requests for exclusive use of the data and will
ask the proposers to revise it in case the request was found too broad or
excessive in any other form. Once an accepted proposal has been posted
on the Collaboration website, it should be deemed by all parties that the
request for exclusive use has been accepted by the Scientific Program
Committee. Any dispute that may arise in regards to the usage of such
data will have to be directed to the Scientific Program Committee for
resolution and all members of the Collaboration should abide by the
decisions of this Committee.
7) Usage of the USQCD software, developed under our SciDAC grants, is
recommended, but not required. USQCD software is designed to be
efficient and portable, and its development leverages efforts throughout
the Collaboration. If you use this software, the SPC can be confident
that your project can use USQCD resources efficiently. Software
developed outside the collaboration must be documented to show that it
performs efficiently on its target platform(s). Information on
portability is welcome, but not mandatory.
8) The investigators whose proposals have been selected by the Scientific
Program Committee for a possible award of USQCD resources shall agree to
have their proposals posted on a password protected website, available
only to our Collaboration, for consideration during the All Hands'
9) The investigators receiving an allocation of time following this Call
for Proposals must maintain a public web page that reasonably documents
their plans, progress, and the availability of data. These pages should
contain information that funding agencies and review panels can use to
determine whether USQCD is a well-run organization. The public web page
need not contain unpublished scientific results, or other sensitive
The SPC will not accept new proposals from old projects that still have
no web page. Please communicate the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org
ii) Format of the proposals and deadline for submission.
The proposals should contain a title page with title, abstract and the
listing of all participating investigators. The body, including
bibliography and embedded figures, should not exceed 12 pages in length
for requests of Type A, and 10 pages in length for requests of Type B,
with font size of 11pt or larger. If necessary, further figures, with
captions but without text, can be appended, for a maximum of 8 additional
pages. CVs, publication lists and similar personal information are not
requested and should not be submitted. Title page, proposal body and
optional appended figures should be submitted as a single pdf file, in an
attachment to an e-mail message sent to email@example.com
The deadline for receipt of the proposals is Monday, March 1, 2010.
The last sentence of the abstract must state the total amount
of computer time for QCDOC in core-hours and/or for clusters and
leadership-class computers in Jpsi-equivalent core-hours and for
GPU-clusters in GPU-hours (see below). Proposals lacking this
information will be returned without review (but will be reviewed if
the corrected proposal is returned quickly and without other changes).
The body of the proposal should contain the following information,
if possible in the order below:
1) The physics goals of the calculation.
2) The computational strategy, including such details as gauge and
fermionic actions, parameters, computational methods.
3) The software used, including a description of the main algorithms
and the code base employed. If you use USQCD software, it is not
necessary to document performance in the proposal. If you use your own
code base, then the proposal should provide enough information to show
that it performs efficiently on its target platform(s). Information on
portability is welcome, but not mandatory. As feedback for the software
development team, proposals may include an explanation of deficiencies
of the USQCD software for carrying out the proposed work.
4) The amount of resources requested, for QCDOC in core-hours
or for clusters and leadership-class computers in Jpsi-equivalent
core-hours. Here one should also state which machine is most desirable
and why, and whether it is feasible or desirable to run some parts of
the proposed work on one machine, and other parts on another.
USQCD has clusters with several kinds of nodes, from single-processor,
single-core, to dual-processor, quad-core. The Scientific Program
Committee will use the following table to convert:
1 QCDOC node-hour = 0.24 Jpsi core-hour
1 kaon core-hour = 0.88 Jpsi core-hour
1 7n core-hour = 0.77 Jpsi core-hour
1 J/psi core-hour = 1 Jpsi core-hour
1 9q core-hour = 1.94 Jpsi core-hour
1 9g(GPU) hour = 1 GPU-hour
1 BG/P core-hour = 0.54 Jpsi core-hour
1 XT5 core-hour = 0.50 Jpsi core-hour
The above numbers are based on the average of asqtad and DWF fermion
inverters. In the case of XT5 we used the average of asqtad (HISQ) and
clover inverters. See http://lqcd.fnal.gov/performance.html for details.
The total request(s) on QCDOC, clusters and GPUs should also be
specified in the last sentence of the proposal's abstract (see
above). NOTE that resources on QCDOC, BG/P and XT5 will only be
distributed for CY2010.
Proposals of Type A should indicate longer-term computing needs here.
If resources within the INCITE program are requested it should be
indicated whether this project shall be continued on USQCD clusters
or whether a continuation in CY2011 will rely on additional computer
resources from programs such as INCITE.
In addition to CPU, proposals must specify how much mass storage
is needed. The resources section of the proposal should state how
much existing storage is in use, and how much new storage is needed,
for disk and tape, in Tbytes. In addition, please also restate the
storage request in Jpsi-equivalent core-hours, using the following
conversion factor, which reflect the current replacement costs for
disk storage and tapes:
1 Tbyte disk = 26,940 Jpsi-equivalent core-hour
1 Tbyte tape = 2,694 Jpsi-equivalent core-hour
Projects using disk storage will be charged 12% of these costs every
three months. Projects will be charged for tape usage when a file is
written at the full cost of tape storage; when tape files are deleted,
they will receive a 40% refund of the charge.
Proposals should discuss whether these files will be used by one, a few,
or several project(s). The cost for files (e.g., gauge configurations)
that are used by several projects will borne by USQCD and not a specific
physics project. The charge for files used by a single project will be
deducted from the computing allocation: projects are thus encouraged to
figure out whether it is more cost-effective to store or re-compute a
file. If a few (2-3) projects share a file, they will share the
5) What data will be made available to the entire Collaboration, and
the schedule for sharing it.
6) What calculations the investigators would like to perform in an
"exclusive manner" (see above in the section on policy directives),
and for how long they would like to reserve to themselves this
iii) Procedure for the awards.
The Scientific Program Committee will receive proposals until the
deadline of Monday, March 1, 2010.
Proposals not stating the total request in the last sentence of the
abstract will be returned without review (but will be reviewed if the
corrected proposal is returned quickly and without other changes).
Proposals that are considered meritorious and conforming to the goals of
the Collaboration will be posted on the web at http://www.usqcd.org/,
in the Collaboration's password-protected area. Proposals recommended
for awards in previous years can be found there too.
The Scientific Program Committee (SPC) will make a preliminary
assessment of the proposals. On March 28, 2010, the SPC will send a
report to the proponents raising any concerns about the proposal.
The proposals will be presented and discussed at the All Hands' Meeting,
April 16-17, 2010, at BNL; see however,
---- section (iv) for special treatment of INCITE proposals---
Following the All Hands' Meeting the SPC will determine a set of
recommendations on the awards. The quality of the initial proposal, the
proponents' response to concerns raised in the written report, and the
views of the Collaboration expressed at the All Hands' Meeting will all
influence the outcome. The SPC will send its recommendations to the
Executive Committee shortly after the All Hands' Meeting, and inform the
proponents once the recommendations have been accepted by the Executive
Committee. The successful proposals and the size of their awards will be
posted on the web.
The new USQCD allocations will commence July 1, 2010.
Scientific publications describing calculations carried out with these
awards should acknowledge the use of USQCD resources, by including the
following sentence in the Acknowledgments:
"Computations for this work were carried out in part on facilities of
the USQCD Collaboration, which are funded by the Office of Science of
the U.S. Department of Energy."
Projects whose sole source of computing is USQCD should omit the phrase
iv) INCITE award CY2010
Since 2007, USQCD policy has been to apply as a Collaboration for time
on the "leadership-class" computers, installed at Argonne and Oak Ridge
National Laboratories, and allocated through the DOE's INCITE Program
(see http://hpc.science.doe.gov/). This strategy has been successful.
USQCD received a three-year INCITE grant (2008-2010).
For CY2010 USQCD was awarded 67 M core-hours on the BG/P at Argonne
and 40 M core-hours on the Cray XT5 at Oak Ridge. The first half of
this allocation has already been awarded by the SPC to USQCD projects
for the period 01/10-06/10.
The second half of this allocation will be distributed in this Call
for Proposals and needs to be used during CY 2010.
During CY2008 and CY 2009 USQCD received additional "discretionary"
time on the leadership-class computers. Such an additional resource no
longer exists in CY2010. In order to maximize the chances for getting
in addition also a substantial amount of additional zero priority time
the time schedule for INCITE allocations has been changed:
A) New INCITE allocations will already be announced on April 1st and can
be used from then on. PIs of new INCITE allocations will be asked to
ensure that this allocation is used up by May 15th.
B) After May 15th left over allocations may also be used by those
projects that have no official allocation left over but were granted
access to zero-priority time.
C) As soon as USQCD's official INCITE allocation is used up, projects
are encouraged to use additional zero priority time through the end of
2010. As in previous years the SPC will allocate fractions of the
anticipated zero-priority resources to entitled projects. The usage
of these allocations should be monitored by all PIs of INCITE projects
on the USQCD WEB-page:
It is expected that USQCD will launch an initiative to apply for
a new INCITE grant. The physics objectives of this application will
be decided by the Executive Committee after consultation with the
Scientific Program Committee and input from the entire collaboration.
If successful, this grant will start in CY 2011. The process of
formulating this Incite application and the allocation of what we
hope will be new CY 2011 Incite resources will be discussed in a
v) USQCD computing resources.
The Scientific Program Committee will allocate 7200 hours/year to
Type A and Type B proposals. Of the 8766 hours in an average year the
facilities are supposed to provide 8000 hours of uptime. We then reserve
400 hours (i.e., 5%) for each host laboratory's own use, and another 400
hours for Type C proposals and contingencies.
QCDOC supercomputer 12,288 processors running at 400 MHz.
The typical mode of operation is with a few large partitions, ranging
from 1024 to 4096 nodes and possibly larger. Requests should include
a discussion of possible, as well as optimal, partition sizes for the
total: 3600*12,288*0.24 = 10.6 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
1 QCDOC node-hour = 0.24 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hour
Allocation of time on QCDOC is possible only until 12/2010. In CY2011
we expect continue to operate QCDOC in a friendly user mode.
For further information see http://www.bnl.gov/lqcd/
600 node cluster ("Kaon")
600 dual-core, dual-processor 2.0 GHz Opteron nodes
(2400 total cpu cores available)
4 GB memory/node
88 GB local scratch disk/node
total: 7200*2400*0.88 = 15.2 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
1 kaon core-hour = 0.88 Jpsi core-hour
856 node cluster ("J/Psi")
856 quad-core, dual-socket 2.1 GHz Opteron nodes
(6848 total cpu cores available)
8 GB memory/node
88 GB local scratch disk/node
total: 7200*6848*1 = 49.3 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
1 J/Psi node-hour = 8 Jpsi-equivalent core-hour
These clusters will share about 135 TBytes of disk space in a combination
of dCache and Lustre file systems, plus another approximately 20 TBytes in
conventional NFS-mounted storage. We will add another 67 TBytes of Lustre
(or dCache) space by the end of the allocation year. The cluster will have
access to ~ 750 TByte of tape storage. The current maximum size of files
on tape is 400 GBytes.
For further information see http://www.usqcd.org/fnal/
396 node Infiniband cluster ("7n")
396 quad-core, dual-processor 1.9 GHz Opteron (Barcelona)
(3168 total cpu cores available)
8 GB memory/node
Infiniband 4x fabric
50 GB local scratch disk/node
Users must run 8 processes per node, or run multi-threaded code.
total: 7200*3168*0.77 = 17.6 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
1 7n core-hour = 0.77 Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
320 node Infiniband cluster ("9q")
320 quad-core, dual-processor 2.4 GHz Nehalem
24 GB memory/node
total: 7200*2560*1.94 = 35.8 M Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
1 9q core-hour = 1.94 Jpsi-equivalent core-hours
35 node cluster equipped with 4GPUs ("9g")
14 node cluster equipped with 2GPUs ("9g")
16 node cluster equipped with 2GPUs + QDR Infiniband ("9g")
total: 7200*200 = 1,440,000 GPU hours
These clusters will share 250 TBytes of associated disk storage
divided into a cache (backed by tape) and a work area (no backup) as
users choose. Users have access to a large tape storage facility of
1000 Tbytes. The maximum size of tape files is currently 20 GB, but
could be increased if needed.
For further information see http://lqcd.jlab.org/
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