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NSF Invites Input on HPC perf. requirements

October 18, 2005

Request for Input:  High-performance computing system performance requirements and benchmarks.

Over the next few years, NSF anticipates releasing a number of solicitations for the acquisition of high-performance computing (HPC) systems and support of subsequent HPC services.  A robust and effective acquisition process, driven by the science and engineering research and education community, is one of the key elements of NSF’s HPC strategy.  To help match HPC systems and services to the needs of the research community, NSF will work with the research community and vendors to develop a better understanding of the performance requirements associated with a range of science and engineering research applications.  NSF anticipates that benchmark applications will become a cornerstone of the acquisition process.  These benchmarks will capture the salient driving attributes of those scientific and engineering applications that place the most stringent demands on the systems to be provisioned.  Each will characterize a family of challenges that the science and engineering research community desires to tackle.

The process of developing performance requirements and benchmarks that are representative of the needs of scientific and engineering research applications is expected to ramp up over the course of FY 2006.  There will be a number of opportunities for the research community to provide input to the process.  It is anticipated that requirements and benchmarks will continually be updated as both research and technology advance.

Input sought
NSF invites interested parties to provide input on the HPC performance requirements of science and engineering research communities, on performance metrics appropriate for use in HPC system acquisition, and on potential benchmark codes representative of classes of science and engineering applications.  Academic users or potential users of HPC systems, individuals and institutions with experience benchmarking HPC systems, and vendors are particularly encouraged to provide input.  Providing such input will not affect an organization's or individual’s eligibility to respond to any subsequent solicitation(s).

How to respond
If you wish to provide written input, please do so via email.  Input should be provided in a Word or PDF document of no more than 6 pages attached to an email message sent to: with the subject line: “HPC requirements and metrics.”  Input may be on one, two or all of the following areas: (i)performance requirements, (ii)performance metrics, (iii)potential benchmark codes.  Please include section headers that clearly identify which of the above three areas is being discussed.  Please do not include any proprietary information in your input.  Comments received may be shared with other interested parties.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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