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Saturday, 30 Aug 2014

Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre - CaSToRC

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The Cyprus Institute (CyI) is developing a Computation-based Science and Technology Research Centre (CaSToRC) that will include a high performance computing (HPC) facility on a scale expected to be in the tens of teraflops, with an associated research and educational centre devoted to computational science (addressing in particular such issues as the planning of hardware architecture, code optimisation, fine-tuning of clusters, production of code libraries, middleware development, and data repositories). CaSToRC is designed primarily to serve the needs of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean region, in fields such as climate modelling, astrophysics, high energy and plasma physics, materials science, chemistry, 3D visualisation, biology, financial and economic modelling, etc.


A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Cyprus Institute and the University of Illinois, providing in particular for a founding partnership between CyI and Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) for the joint planning and implementation of CaSToRC. The MoU also provides for the formation of a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprising internationally recognised experts from Europe and the United States.


An initiative under the acronym LinkSCEEM (Linking Scientific Computing in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean) has been developed to guide the integration of CaSToRC into the European HPC community and to contribute to its regional role in the Eastern Mediterranean. Two EU FP7 funded projects, LinkSCEEM and LinkSCEEM-2 contribute to the realization of the CaSToRC vision.


The original LinkSCEEM project grouped European, US and Eastern Mediterranean research institutions active in the field of HPC coordinated by CaSToRC. The project focused on the assessment of needs for computational resources within the scientific community of Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean, the coordination of HPC resources and their integration in Europe and the region, the planning of the access of users, the preparation of research and educational programmes in computational science, as well as a feasibility study for the upgrade of the network connectivity in the region. Dissemination and outreach actions, including an International Conference and several users’ workshops, were also conducted.


LinkSCEEM-2 aims at establishing a HPC eco-system in the Eastern Mediterranean region by interlinking and coordinating regional compute, storage and visualization resources to form an integrated e-infrastructure. To achieve its mission, the project will link e-resources, provide user support and training, carry out targeted networking activities, and, develop and implement a well-structured HPC resource allocation mechanism.The project's actions will further develop the Virtual Research Community in Computational Science of the Eastern Mediterranean  and enable scientific research by engaging and supporting research communities with an initial emphasis in the fields of climate research, digital cultural heritage and synchrotron radiation applications.