The European High-Performance Computing landscape is set to change dramatically in the coming years. The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking is a new initiative designed to establish a pan-European approach to supercomputing. The programme, which is worth 1 billion EUR, will invest heavily in new European computing infrastructure, providing the funds for a staged procurement of new machines: 5 petascale, 3 pre-exascale (approx 150 PFlops) and 2 exascale machines to be deployed between 2020 and 2023.
Although the installation of the first machines will start in July 2020, there is as yet no mechanism in place that regulates access to these facilities. While the distribution of computer time at European level has until now been managed by PRACE, there are ongoing discussions within EuroHPC to establish the access modes for the EuroHPC computers including discussion of a new category called “HPC Community Access”, which would grant an additional quota to identifiable scientific communities.
If established, Community Access is not supposed to replace the current access mechanism but is envisaged as an additional mode. Disciplines represented in Centres of Excellence, as well as mature HPC communities including Lattice QCD may be candidates for Community Access. This has provided the motivation for the creation of an organisational structure for our community on the European level. Failure to do so might endanger Lattice QCD of losing out to other branches of science that are already well organised and/or have an immediate socio-economic impact.
After initial consultation with representatives of the main Lattice QCD groups in Europe, an Ad hoc Committee was formed in October 2019, with the mandate to deliver input for Community Access for Lattice QCD. The collected input from the various European HPC communities will be used for the preparation of a PRACE white paper that will be delivered to EuroHPC.
The future strategy and computing requirements for European Lattice QCD were discussed with input from major European collaborations and representatives from EuroHPC, PRACE and USQCD at a recent Town Hall Meeting in Dublin. The meeting universally recognised the urgency of raising the visibility of the Lattice QCD community in the context of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. It was agreed to create a central body, called “EuroLat”, which would speak on behalf of the European lattice community, act as a central contact point and present a coherent scientific case to EuroHPC and funding agencies, in order to maximise the benefit of the new pan-European approach to supercomputing.
The objectives of such a body were identified as:
Definition of computing requirements for the Lattice QCD community based on a broad scientific programme
Consultation and participation in decisions on hardware procurement, based on community-defined benchmark codes
Provision of training opportunities for Lattice QCD researchers
Managing HPC Community Access, provided it is supported by the Lattice QCD community
Investigation and dissemination of further funding opportunities to benefit the European Lattice Field Theory community at large.
EuroLat takes inspiration from USQCD that represents the US lattice community.
Next steps and timeline¶
To ensure a wide participation in deciding on the way forward, the Ad hoc committee was charged with the preparation of a meeting at Lattice 2020. Since the Lattice 2020 conference has subsequently been canceled, please subscribe to the Mailing List to be informed about the next possible upcoming meeting that will be open to all scientists in this research area (postdoctoral level and higher) who are affiliated with a European institution. During the meeting various issues related to the possible creation of the EuroLat association will be discussed including its Executive Committee.