PRACE preparatory project to be launched

A new pan-European supercomputing network will enter its preparatory phase on 12 November with a project presentation at the international supercomputing conference SC07 in Reno, USA. The
Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) project will enable European scientists and engineers to access top European supercomputing resources.

‘The availability of computing power is increasingly becoming a critical factor for success in science and industry: whether we are dealing with the climate, genetics or engineering –
researchers are relying more and more on advanced computing power to stay at the forefront of international competition,’ project partners point out.

The preparatory phase project, which will receive ?10 million of its total budget of ?20 million from the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), is set develop the legal and cooperational
basis for the PRACE permanent research infrastructure with a view to implementation by the end of 2009/beginning of 2010. The project will also make technical preparations for the operation of
the Tier-0 systems, such as the deployment and benchmarking of prototypes for Petaflop systems.

A European model of a sustainable high-performance ecosystem consists of a small number of supercomputer centres offering computing service at the highest performance level (Tier-0); national
and regional centres with supercomputers offering a performance to run most of the advanced computing (Tier-1); and the local computing centres in universities, research labs or in other
organisations strengthening software development and researchers’ competence in computational science (Tier-2).

The PRACE pan-European high-performance computing (HPC) service is intended to be a part of the European Research Area. It will build on services from EU-funded projects such as the
GÉANT2 research and education network and the Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications (DEISA).

The PRACE consortium is made up of research institutions from Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
Once the infrastructure begins operating, the investment needed for the first five years is estimated at ?400 million to ?600 million.

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