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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

FAQ for applicants

1. Can a researcher from a no-Spanish institution request access to RES resources?

Yes, RES resources are open to all scientists and technologist working in open research. Thus, the team leader of the application can be from a foreigner institution. However, it is strongly recommended that at least one member of the research team works in a Spanish research centre to promote collaborations with Spanish research groups.


2. When can I submit an application to get access to supercomputing resources?

The application form is always open except during the evaluation of applications. For this reason, after the closing date of each period, the application form is not available during some weeks. The evaluation of applications takes place three times per year: in January, in May and in September. Check the next deadline in RES intranet.


3. Is it possible to add figures or tables in the application form?

It is not possible to add figures or tables in the application form. However, you can arrange data in columns. To do this, first you have to arrange the data in columns using tabs in a Word document and then you have to copy and paste the paragraph in the application form.

We cannot guarantee that reviewers will check the external links included in applications, so all the important information should be included in the text.


4. What is a test activity?

In your application form, you can indicate that your activity is a test activity (section 2a). This means that it is the first time that you use supercomputing technologies in your current research project and the objective of this activity is to test codes and algorithms. Test activities usually request a low number of computing hours and receive a special follow-up by support teams.


5. What is a long-term activity and a continuation activity?

In your application form, you can indicate that your activity is a long-term activity (section 2b). This means that you plan to request a continuation activity in the next period. If you request a long-term activity, in section 5b of the application form you should indicate the estimated requested time that you will use in total (requested hours in the present activity + estimated requested hours in the continuation activity).

To ask for a continuation activity you have to go through the same evaluation process, but the application form is simplified and has some modifications. For instance, continuation activities are included in the same research project that the previous one, and for this reason there is no need to describe the project or to provide grant references. Instead, applicants must describe the results obtained in the previous period. To apply for a continuation activity, you must click in the “New application” button of the RES intranet, and then the system will offer 2 options: to create a new application or to continue a past activity.

The acceptance of a long-term activity does not guarantee the acceptance of the continuation activity in the following period. However, it has some advantages:

  • The application form is simplified.
  • In the evaluation period, one reviewer is kept form the previous activity and the other changes.
  • Continuation activities are allocated preferably to the same machine as the previous activities.
  • The dissemination information form is common for both activities and has to be completed at the end of the continuation activity.


6. Why adding grant references is important?

According to RES Access Protocol and in line with similar national plans, the access to RES has a double filter system: an initial evaluation by the ANEP (Agencia Nacional de Evaluación y Prospectiva) followed by a peer-review evaluation by the RES Access Committee. However, the first step is not needed if the quality of the research project has been positively evaluated by a national or international evaluation agency (obtaining a funded project or grant). If the team leader does not provide data about any project or grant, the application must go through ANEP evaluation.


7. How should I estimate the total requested time in my application?

The total requested time must be proportional to the estimated number of jobs of your activity, the number of processors (cores) used by each job and the average duration (in hours) per job. We ask you to describe the requirements of a typical job and the requirements of the largest job, which will need a higher number of processors.

The formula that you must use to calculate the total requested time is:

A = Total core hours of typical jobs = number of jobs * number of processors per job * hours per job

B = Total core hours of largest jobs = number of jobs * number of processors per job * hours per job

Total requested time (thousands of hours) = (A + B) / 1000

If you have doubts regarding the resources needed in your application, contact with support [at] bsc.es

If your application is successful, you must use all the total granted hours during the activity period (4 months). If you do not use all the granted hours, this will be taken into account in your next application by the Access Committee, so please do not overestimate the requested resources.


8. What is the minimum and maximum requested time?

There is not a strict minimum or maximum limit of requested time. However, those activities requesting more than 5 million hours should provide a justification (section 5a of the application form).

The amount of resources needed differs a lot depending on the research activity. Typically, RES applicants request between 50.000 and 2.000.000 hours, but smaller or larger projects are also accepted.


9. Is it possible to get access to RES supercomputers through a pay-per-use contract?

The RES provides free access to supercomputing resources for open R&D through open competitive calls. The RES nodes allocate part of their computing capacity to RES calls and they manage the remaining part according to their own criteria. For further information about access possibilities besides RES calls, visit the websites of the different RES nodes.



FAQ for users

1. My application has been accepted. How can I create the user accounts for my research team to access the supercomputer?

To create user accounts in RES supercomputers, you have to create new users in the “Manage Users” section of your current activity (in the RES intranet). The system will create an account for those users with Researcher role and shortly they will receive by email their login credentials.


2. What is the User Responsibilities document?

The User Responsibilities is a document that is automatically generated when a user creates a Researcher account to access supercomputers. It must be signed by the user and the team leader (responsible person) of the activity, and it must be sent by post to RES coordinators in BSC. If we do not receive the signed document 15 days after the account is created, the account is temporally deactivated.


3. Where can I find the User Responsibilities document?

The team leader and the executer can download the User Responsibilities documents of the team members in the section “Manage Users” in RES intranet. In continuation activities, only new users have to sign and send the document.


4. Can I send the User Responsibilities document by e-mail or by fax?

No. For legal reasons, we need the original document and all the signatures must be handwritten (not digital). The only procedure accepted is sending the document by post or delivering it in person to:

A la atención de: BSC User Support

Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS)

Nexus II Building, 3rd floor

c/Jordi Girona, 29

08034 Barcelona (Spain)


5. How can I contact the support teams of the different RES nodes?

You can contact them by email. You can find the contact list is in BSC website.


6. Do I have to send a final report after finishing a RES activity?

RES users do not need to send a detailed final report of their activities. However, they are required to complete the Dissemination Information form in the RES intranet. In this section, users must describe the results obtained, add their publications in scientific journals and provide a picture related to their work with dissemination purposes. The deadline to provide this information is about one year after the activity has finished (indicated in the form).

In long-term activities, users have to complete only one Dissemination Information form at the end of the continuation activity (use the “Merge Dissemination Information” option to unify the forms of both activities).

If users do not provide this information, the Access Committee will take it into account for future applications.


7. How must I acknowledge the support provided by the RES in my publications?

Users have to use the following formula to acknowledge RES in their scientific publications:

“The author thankfully acknowledges the computer resources at MachineName and the technical support provided by MachineOrganizationName (RES-ActivityID)”

For instance, “The author thankfully acknowledges the computer resources at MareNostrum and the technical support provided by Barcelona Supercomputing Center (RES-BCV-2017-2-0099)”

In addition, users must provide the DOI of the publications though the RES intranet (“Add publications” option). This is very important for RES coordinators to justify the funds obtained from national and regional administrations in terms of scientific productivity.


8. What is the RES Users’ Committee (CURES) and how can I contact them?

CURES purpose is to provide advice and feedback to the RES manager and technicians about RES resources and services. CURES aims to promote optimal use of the high performance computing facilities by sharing information about users’ experiences and voicing user concerns. RES users can contact with CURES through the online form available in the RES intranet.