Close collaboration among European countries in the field of High Performance Computing (HPC) has led to the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE). PRACE gives top researchers access to the fastest systems in Europe, enabling the Netherlands to continue to compete with countries such as China and the US.

European ecosystem of supercomputers

Since 2008, PRACE has been promoting and organising European collaboration in the field of HPC, aimed at producing a competitive European HPC infrastructure that includes regional (Tier-2), national (Tier-1) and European (Tier-0) systems. Together, they create a European HPC ecosystem of supercomputers. Top European researchers requiring large-scale computing capacity are given access to the European Tier-0 systems, of which there are currently 6: 3 in Germany, and 1 each in France, Italy and Spain (2015). Each of these systems operates at multiple petaflops. Ultimately PRACE aims to provide systems with an operating capacity expressed in exaflops (1 exaflop = 1018 flops).

More competitive due to high-quality research

Politicians and policy-makers are convinced of the importance of world-class research in Europe. This research is improved by high-quality HPC facilities, which in turn strengthens Europe's competitive position. It is for this reason that PRACE is partly financed by the EU via the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme.

Collaboration between 25 countries

The number of institutions participating in PRACE is growing. During the initial phase, 14 participated and this year, this figure has already increased to 25. PRACE is an extension of the DEISA collaboration project (Distributed European Infrastructure for Supercomputing Applications). DEISA began in 2004 with SURFsara as one of the principal partners and targeted collaboration among the national (Tier-1) systems. PRACE has increased this scope to include Tier-0 systems.

Management and research

Mutual access to HPC systems requires much preparation at statutory, financial and technical level, which PRACE provided during the first stage of its inception. This included selecting the right systems, management of the distributed infrastructure, and application optimisation. PRACE also focuses on the exploration and evaluation of promising new technologies, and enters into partnership agreements with industrial partners to do so.

SURFsara co-manager of work package

SURFsara represents the Netherlands within the PRACE project. Cartesius is one of the Tier-1 systems and is therefore part of the PRACE research infrastructure. More specifically, SURFsara is co-manager of the Applications Enabling and Support work package, making it one of the parties exploring and evaluating new supercomputing technologies.

How do I access PRACE?

PRACE invites all top European researchers to make use of the best research infrastructure in Europe, especially those conducting research with potential for high international impact.

3 forms of access

PRACE distinguishes between 3 forms of infrastructure access:

  • Programme Access: intended for major European projects and infrastructures;
  • Project Access: intended for individual researchers and research groups, with a 1-year duration; and
  • Preparatory Access: intended for users preparing Project Access applications.

Call for Proposals

PRACE issues a Call for Proposals every 6 months; applications for preparatory access may be submitted at any time.

More information

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Start and end date
01 Jan 2008 - 30 Apr 2017
Latest modifications 04 Dec 2015