Information


The National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) 2018 Call for Applications is now open. Applications close Friday 20 October 2017.

All applicants (Lead CIs)  and members of their research groups are required to read the following application guidelines and reference information in full before preparing an application.

This documentation may be updated during the call to clarify rules and processes as determined by the Committee Chair, participating HPC facilities and the Secretariat. 

Please see the FAQ page if you have queries regarding the application process. If you have further questions about the NCMAS 2018 call they can be submitted by email to ncmas@nci.org.au. Email to this address will create an issue ticket in the NCMAS Secretariat help system.

The Secretariat wishes all applicants success in the 2018 call.

 


Important Dates

 

01 Sep 2017 Applications open
20 Oct 2017 Applications close (8:00pm AEDT)
03 Nov 2017 Technical  Assessments close
24 Nov 2017 Merit Assessments close
28-29 Nov 2017 Allocation Committee meeting
05 Dec 2017 Outcomes announced

 

Application Types

Three types of NCMAS application are available:
 

Open Unrestricted. Applicants are expected to demonstrate successful utilisation of national HPC facilities at scale, and have a track record of research outcomes and independent funding.
Early Career Researcher (ECR) The ECR category provides an opportunity for researchers who have been awarded a PhD within the last five (5) years.  Early Career Researcher applications are highly competitive. Applicants are expected to demonstrate a record of independent research funding, such as an ARC DECRA, NHMRC CDA, or similar award.
Special Consideration  A limited number of special allocations will be made available to other applicants who may otherwise not be competitive in the NCMAS, for example, an individual who has returned to a research role following a significant career interruption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eligibility criteria for each of these application types are available in the NCMAS reference documentation – NCMAS 2018 Eligibility and Project Roles.

 


Application Instructions

The NCMAS application process for new projects (and applicants) requires two distinct steps:

  1. registration of your project team and your project; then,
  2. completion of a detailed merit application for your project.

For an established project the initial registration steps are not required.

New Applicants/Projects
  1. An applicant without an NCI account should first register for an NCI user account at https://my.nci.org.au
  2. All applicants should update their personal and career profiles at https://my.nci.org.au.
  3. Start the application process – use the "Propose a project" link on your https://my.nci.org.au home page to submit a brief proposal and register the project for NCMAS. Select "NCMAS" as the resourcing scheme. These steps will register your new project.
  4. Complete and submit the merit proposal for your project at https://ncmas.nci.org.au. (Important: this step must be completed to finalise your application.)

Note that the same login credentials are used for https://my.nci.org.au and https://ncmas.nci.org.au

Existing Projects

Applicants who wish to resource an existing project should:

  1. update their personal and career profiles and project memberships at https://my.nci.org.au; and then,
  2. complete the full merit application for the project at https://ncmas.nci.org.au.

If you currently lead a project created under a Partner scheme that has not been previously considered for NCMAS, the initial registration steps are not required. 

 

Figure 1: NCMAS application steps:

  1. New user registers and updates details, or current user updates personal and career profile information at https://my.nci.org.au,
  2. For new projects, enter a project proposal summary at https://my.nci.org.au (select NCMAS as the resource scheme,
  3. Login to https://ncmas.nci.org.au,
  4. Complete and submit your NCMAS project proposal. 

The NCMAS Allocation Committee will assess complete applications only. The applicant (Lead CI) is responsible for completion of the project registration (for new projects) and staff profile updates at https://my.nci.org.au, and completion of the full NCMAS proposal web form at https://ncmas.nci.org.au. Cases where an applicant completes step 1 only - the project registration and profile update in https://my.nci.org.au - will be considered incomplete and will not be assessed. Incomplete applications will not be considered under the administrative appeal process.

When to use https://my.nci.org.au 

  • To register for a new user account
  • To reset your password
  • To update personal details
  • To update your research track record
  • To register a new project for NCMAS
  • To approve requests to join a project (Lead CI or Delegate Lead CI only)
  • To remove a member of the project team (Lead CI or Delegate Lead CI only)

When to use https://ncmas.nci.org.au

  • To complete your NCMAS merit proposal
  • To submit your NCMAS proposal
  • To view your NCMAS outcome (Lead CI only)

Application Deadline

The application deadline for NCMAS 2018 is 20:00 (8pm) AEDT Friday 20 October 2017.

Getting Help

Read supporting documentation including FAQs if you have questions. Contact ncmas@nci.org.au if you require support with your application. 

Proposal Length

The length and rigour of a proposal should be proportional to the requested allocation. Guidelines for the length of proposals are listed in the table below. Note that 500 words is approximately one page of single-spaced, 12-point type, with 2 cm margins.

 

Computing Request (KSU) Proposal Length (words)
> 4000 3000
1000 - 4000 2000
250 - 1000 1000

Acknowledging NCMAS and the National Facilities

A condition of accepting an NCMAS allocation is that applicants acknowledge both NCMAS and the high-performance computing facilities used in all publications and presentations of the associated work. The following is a standard acknowledgement template:

This work was supported by computational resources provided by the Australian Government through <facility_name> under the National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme.

 


HPC Facilities

Computing resources available through NCMAS 2018 are summarised in the following table.

System Computing Time (KSU)
NCI: Raijin (Fujitsu/SandyBridge and Lenovo/Broadwell) 100,000
Pawsey Centre: Magnus (Cray) 100,000
Monash: MASSIVE 2,060
UQ: FlashLite (Xenon) 1,930

All references to computational resources in NCMAS supporting documentation will be in units of kilo-service-units; 1 KSU = 1000 service units (SU). Service units, nominal cpu-hours, are scaled to be equivalent across all participating HPC facilities.

 

Summaries of capability for NCI, the Pawsey Centre, MASSIVE and UQ/FlashLite are provided below.

National Computational Infrastructure (NCI)
Facility overview

NCI is Australia's national research computing service. Home to Raijin, the nation's most highly integrated and highest performance supercomputer, NCI provides innovative, world-class services to Australian researchers. NCI operates a formal collaboration between Australia's national university - ANU; the national research agency - the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; the national meteorological agency - the Australian Bureau of Meteorology; and the national geosciences agency - Geoscience Australia. Since 2007, NCI's partnership has expanded to include a further 22 Australian universities. NCI's infrastructure was established through Commonwealth Government funding. It includes a 1.2 petaflop supercomputer, that has now been expanded to host 120 nVidia K80 GPUs, and from January 2017 will receive a boost in performance and capacity with the addition of the latest generation Broadwell CPUs supporting the 512 AVX instruction set. Additional resources at NCI that may be leveraged include a 3,600-core compute cloud, data storage in excess of 14 petabytes and a purpose-built data centre.

NCMAS computing resources 100 M core hours on Raijin. 
NCMAS storage resources 1070 TB available to NCMAS scheme. Commitee to allocate according to project requirement. Allocations are limited to the duration of compute allocation (2018 calendar year).
Software NCI maintains more than 170 application software packages for use on its systems. The NCI application software catalogue is available online at https://opus.nci.org.au/display/Help/Application+Software.
User support NCI operates an expert Service Desk for users during normal business hours, Mon-Fri between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm AEST. NCI Academic Consultants can provide assistance with user and project registration and operational issues, and can provide advice on code development and performance, and the use of scientific software in HPC environments. The User Services team aims to resolve help requests within four working hours.

 

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre
Facility overview

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre (Pawsey) is one of two NCRIS funded national High Performance Computing centres.  Pawsey is a joint venture of the CSIRO, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and The University of Western Australia, and it provides services to all Australian computational researchers through schemes including NCMAS.

Pawsey has an array of scientific computing instruments available for researchers, including a machine for operational radio astronomy (Cray XC-30 Galaxy), machines for data analysis and processing, and Australia's most powerful research supercomputer the Cray XC-40 system called Magnus.

NCMAS applicants can request time on the Cray XC-40 system Magnus, which has 35,572 Intel E5-2690v3 cores.  The processors are arranged in nodes of 24 cores, with 64 gigabytes of memory per node, and there is a scratch file system capable of a sustained I/O bandwidth of approximately 70 gigabytes per second.  Magnus has a very high performance Cray network with a dragonfly topology, and Cray's tuned Linux environment and software stack.

Magnus is particularly suited for compute problems (i.e. application codes and datasets) that have high network bandwidth requirements, and/or scalable problems that would benefit from the Cray interconnect.

NCMAS computing resources 100 M core hours on Magnus.
NCMAS storage resources Storage is available on a group filesystem which currently has a total of 750 terabytes available for all Pawsey projects.  Each project is allocated 1 terabyte by default, and up to 10 terabytes can normally be accommodated.  Requests for more than 10 terabytes of storage need to be justified with reference to the files and data to be stored, a capacity plan over the project duration, and any compression techniques and data lifetime purge policies employed.
Software A list of currently installed software is available at https://support.pawsey.org.au/documentation/display/US/Software+Map however this list is under review and researchers should clearly articulate their actual requirements in their NCMAS submissions.
User support The Pawsey Help Desk is available by email between 9am and 5pm AWST daily except for Western Australian public holidays and the extended Christmas closure period.  In addition to the general helpdesk, additional application and optimisation support is available, as well as training courses in the use of the Pawsey systems.
Additional notes Applications for time on Magnus must demonstrate the ability to make effective use of the architecture by running scalable applications and research problems.

 

MASSIVE
Facility overview

The Multi-modal Australian ScienceS Imaging and Visualisation Environment (MASSIVE) project operates an integrative HPC facility that sits at the nexus of instruments, experiments, new users communities, and data science techniques.

The MASSIVE facility provides data processing and analysis services to drive research in disciplines such as biomedical science, medical science, materials research, and engineering – with particular focus on neuroscience and molecular imaging through ARC CoE partnership, and underpins a range of advanced imaging modalities, including synchrotron X-ray imaging, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), X-ray Computer Tomography (CT), electron and optical microscopy.

MASSIVE provides easy access through a dedicated remote desktop environment and supports a wide range of users new to HPC. The facility runs three HPC systems, M1, M2 and M3, with fast parallel file systems and NVIDIA GPUs. M1 and M2 are set to be retired in 2018 and therefore are not available through the NCMAS.

The MASSIVE facility and computers are run with a particular emphasis on:

  • Wide usability by new communities over capacity;
  • Data science techniques, including machine learning and deep learning;  
  • Hardware and software suited to data analysis over modelling and simulation;
  • Underpinning a large number of high performing wet and experimental laboratories, with growing data processing needs;
  • Connectivity and workflows, such that data is processed, analysed and visualised automatically so that inexperienced users can begin to leverage new-generation instruments;
  • Porosity and flexibility to serve specific requirements in life sciences.

Further technical information:

NCMAS computing resources

2.060 M core hours on MASSIVE.

 

(A 10% portion of M3. Detailed information about M3 compute resources is available here:
http://docs.massive.org.au/M3/m3users.html#about-m3)

NCMAS storage resources

M3 runs a Lustre parallel file system which is configured into project and scratch partitions.

By default, quotas for projects directory will be applied as below:

  • Default projects for Cryo-Electron Microscopy: 5TB
  • Default project for MX2 data: 5TB
  • Other projects: 500GB

Increased project quotas may be provided by request.

Default quota for scratch directory is 3TB.

Software

A list of software available on MASSIVE is available at:
http://docs.massive.org.au/M3/software/software.html

User support

MASSIVE provides extensive user support, with particular focus on:

  • New HPC communities;
  • Instrument users - strong capability in developing near-realtime analysis workflows for instruments and experiments;
  • Data processing and data science techniques including ML and DL;
  • Strong experience in data processing, in-particular large cohort data studies, volumetric data and imaging data;
  • Visualisation: support for a range of visualisation tools accessible through the MASSIVE Desktop, and large-scale multi-node visualisation;
  • Molecular science: processing workflows for structural biology data, including MX and CryoEM;
  • Brain research: supports a large selection of brain (both psychological and fundamental) science projects, with a particular emphasis on MRI data processing. MASSIVE is the host of an Australian mirror of the Human Connectome Project; and
  • General HPC support.

 

University of Queensland Research Computing Centre (FlashLite)
Facility overview FlashLite is a research computer that has been designed explicitly for Australian research to conduct data intensive science and innovation. FlashLite is optimised for data intensive computation and has 1632 cores, 34.8 TB of RAM, 326.4 TB of NVMe storage and 65.28 TFLOP/s (Rpeak) Compute nodes in FlashLite can be flexibly aggregated together into larger "supernodes" using ScaleMP’s vSMP software. Given the network topology, a supernode of 22 physical compute nodes with 528 cores and 11TB of shared memory is a likely practical limit but larger supernodes are also possible.
NCMAS computing resources Total core hours for NCMAS on FlashLite is 1.93 MSU.
NCMAS storage resources There is a limited amount of network attached GPFS filesystem storage available within FlashLite. FlashLite is co-located with the QRIScloud research data storage. It is envisaged that NCMAS projects would make an application for a research data collection based at QRIScloud.
Software Details of software available on FlashLite will be published on RCC website and elsewhere as the information becomes available.
User support Only basic user support will be available for applications and external groups using FlashLite.
Additional notes

The workloads for FlashLite must be demonstrated to be data intensive or very large memory in character.

 

 


Recommendations for Applicants

 

The NCMAS 2018 Call for Applications is expected to be highly competitive. For NCMAS 2017:

  • ~220 million cpu-hours were available to applicants at NCI, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, MASSIVE and UQ/RCS
  • 246 applications were submitted
  • demand for computing time exceeded available supply by a factor of 3
  • 183 applications (74%) received allocations on one or more of the participating facilities.

The recommendations below are provided as general advice to help you improve your NCMAS application. The recommendations listed address questions received and the experiences of applicants, the Secretariat and the Allocation Committee in previous NCMAS calls. The NCMAS 2018 FAQ page may also provide information to help you complete your application.

All Applicants

  • Read all NCMAS announcements and supporting documentation in full. Watch for updates from the NCMAS Secretariat throughout the Call for Applications period.
  • You must provide the year of award for your highest degree (PhD) in your applicant profile.
  • Ensure that personal profiles and research track records of the Lead CI and all CIs on your application are fully up to date.
  • Respect the length guidelines (for word count and degree of detail) for each question in the application form.
  • Provide a comprehensive justification of your request for HPC resources.
  • Successful proposals will demonstrate an ability to use the HPC facilities at scale, and leverage efficient multi-cpu jobs, data interconnects and high-performance storage.
  • Cite publications which acknowledge NCMAS and the participating HPC facilities.
  • Cite only those research grants that are directly attributed to the Lead CI or CIs on the application. Citing a grant on which the Lead CI or CI is not directly named is not acceptable, and will disqualify the application.
  • Submit your application before the final submission deadline. Late submissions will not be accepted.

New Applicants - New Projects

  • Describe your previous experiences with HPC in as much detail as possible. Assessors expect to see:
    1. a summary of your previous HPC experience
    2. systems and facilities used
    3. experience with other resourcing/allocation schemes, e.g. facility Startup or Partner schemes
    4. details of application codes, algorithms and workflows
  • Describe your experiences using a Startup or Partner allocation on the facilities to develop HPC expertise and capability.
  • Align your resource request with the scope of work and your track record of HPC experience. An application with very large requests, for example 10,000 KSU/year, should clearly demonstrate sustained, expert utilisation of HPC at scale.  
  • Applicants for Early Career Researcher awards must cite evidence of independent research funding. 
  • If you require less than 250 KSU for your project, NCI will accept applications which request 100-249 KSU/year. You also have the option to apply to facility or partner schemes (below - HPC Resourcing Alternatives). Partner schemes generally have more flexibility to provide smaller allocations than NCMAS, and have less onerous proposal requirements. A partner scheme allocation is the ideal vehicle for gaining experience and growing a project to a level where it is competitive in NCMAS.

Returning Applicants - Existing Projects

  • Assessors will expect to see a detailed justification of your resource request. Requests for increased allocations in 2018 should provide as much detail as possible justifying the additional resources.
  • Update all scientific and technical components of the proposal to reflect the current scope of work and methods. The Committee will recognise cases where proposal components are copied and pasted verbatim from previous applications.
  • Provide compelling evidence for code performance and scaling in your application. 
  • If your project has used less than 80% of your 2017 allocation as of 2017 Q3 (pro rata), you should provide an explanation for under-utilisation of your current allocation. Applications that do not address under-utilisation of a current allocation have a low probability of success.
  • Provide a status update on your experiences and outcomes in 2017 (to date). Describe notable outcomes and changes to the project.
  • If your 2017 NCMAS application was not successful, you are welcome to apply again. A demonstration of lessons learned and advancement of your experience and capability will work in your favour. 

     


 

Eligibility Criteria

In accordance with guidelines for access to Commonwealth-funded research infrastructure and relevant Australian Government legislation, Chief Investigators (CI) and Lead Chief Investigators (Lead CI) of NCMAS projects must hold at least a 0.2 FTE research position at an Australian higher-education institution, research institute or publicly-funded research agency, and be based in Australia. If an applicant (Lead CI) holds a fixed duration contract for at least 0.2 FTE for the calendar year 2018 he/she is eligible to to apply to NCMAS. 

Lead Chief Investigators and Chief investigators on a NCMAS application must provide evidence of independent research funding, for example, grants from the ARC or NHMRC. Any grants referenced by a Lead CI or CI must name that applicant as a primary recipient. Applications citing grants on which the applicants are not a the primary (named) grant recipients will be disqualified for non-compliance.

A person holding a Postdoctoral appointment at an Australian institution or publicly-funded agency is eligible to apply as a Lead CI. He/she is expected to provide evidence of independent research funding in an NCMAS application.

A person undertaking a higher degree by research is not eligible to be a Chief Investigator or Lead Chief Investigator on a NCMAS proposal.

An individual may be Chief Investigator or Lead CI on one NCMAS 2017 application only.

Definitions and responsibilities for Lead Chief Investigator and Chief Investigator roles are listed at the bottom of this page.

Early Career Researchers

The Early Career Researcher (ECR) category provides an opportunity for researchers who have been awarded a PhD within the last five (5) years.  Early Career Researcher applications are highly competitive. Applicants are expected to demonstrate a record of independent research funding, such as an ARC DECRA, NHMRC CDA, or similar award.

Early Career Researcher conditions:

  • The applicant (Lead CI) must have been awarded a PhD within the previous five (5) years.
  • The applicant should not be nominated as a Researcher, CI or Lead CI on another NCMAS application.
  • The body of an ECR proposal should be no longer than 1000 words, or approximately two pages in length.
  • The ECR award is 250 KSU/year at one HPC facility only.
  • An individual may apply for Special Consideration allocation for a maximum of three (3) consecutive years.

Special Consideration

A limited number of special allocations will be made available to other applicants who may otherwise not be competitive in the NCMAS, for example, an individual who has returned to a research role following a significant career interruption. 

Special Consideration conditions:

  • The applicant (Lead CI) must have been awarded a PhD within the previous nine (9) years.
  • The applicant should not be nominated as a Researcher, CI or Lead CI on another NCMAS application.
  • The body of a Special Consideration proposal should be no longer than 1000 words, or approximately two pages in length.
  • The Special Consideration award is 250 KSU/year at one HPC facility only.
  • An individual may apply for Special Consideration allocation for a maximum of three (3) consecutive years.

Eligibility FAQs

I am a research student, and my supervisor has asked me to submit an application to NCMAS. What do I do?

As a research student you are not eligible to apply for NCMAS. You should advise your supervisor that he/she should check eligibility and apply.

As a Lead CI, I wish to delegate preparation of my NCMAS application to a senior member of my group. How do I do this?

Promoting a team member to a Delegate Lead CI role on your project will grant them access to the NCMAS online application system. Promotion is done through the online registration system at https://my.nci.org.au :

    1. log in to https://my.nci.org.au
    2. go to your project listing (click on project name - in blue)
    3. select your delegate's name (click on name)
    4. use the Change tab to change the person's role to Delegate Lead CI
    5. submit the change.

I collaborate closely with a research group at another university. Can I be included as a Chief Investigator on my collaborator's NCMAS application?

No. An individual can be a Chief Investigator or Lead Chief Investigator on one NCMAS application only.

I have recently started a Postdoctoral appointment and wish to submit an application to NCMAS. What should I do?

You are eligible to apply to NCMAS, however you will be expected to demonstrate that you have independent research funding support, such as an ARC DECRA or similar award. Applications which do not provide evidence of research funding will be disqualified before merit assessment.

I have recently resumed my research career after a period of interruption. Am I eligible to apply to NCMAS?

You are eligible to apply as a Special Consideration provided your research work has resumed within the last five (5) years, and your PhD was awarded within the previous nine (9) years. Please also note that Special Consideration applications are expected to demonstrate independent funding support.

I am a Research Scientist employed at an Australian Government science agency (e.g. ANSTO, BoM, CSIRO, DST, Geoscience Australia). Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, however applicants from Australian Government agencies are expected to hold a position of CSOF5 (or equivalent) or higher. 

Our research group pursues several related compute-intensive research projects, with each research thread is led by a different member of the group. Can we submit individual NCMAS applications for each body of work in the combined research effort?

No. The group should submit a single, combined application to NCMAS. Note that an individual may be Lead CI or CI on one application only, so individual applications submitted in this case would be ruled non-compliant.

I am an experimentalist who wishes to use NCMAS supplement my research with theory/computation. Am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Your application should aim to demonstrate HPC expertise of your group and clearly describe how computation will contribute to your research plan.

I am a new research faculty/Postdoctoral appointment, but do not yet have a track record of funding support. Am I eligible to apply?

NCMAS applicants are expected to demonstrate a record of independent funding support. NCMAS recommends that you investigate HPC resourcing through your local institution, which may have an active partnership with one or more of the NCMAS facilities: NCI, Pawsey Centre, MASSIVE,  and UQ/FlashLite. A resource allocation from your institution can be a vehicle for development of HPC expertise, with a view toward a future NCMAS application.

Project Roles

Lead Chief Investigator

  • Leads and manages the project research team.
  • Approves or rejects project team membership requests, and removes persons who are no longer active participants from the project.
  • Provides a track record of research output and funding support in the NCMAS application.
  • Approves and submits the final NCMAS application for the project.
  • Acts as official point of contact between the project, the NCMAS Secretariat and the Allocation Committee.

Chief Investigator:

  • Supports the Lead Chief Investigator in preparing the NCMAS application and managing the project.
  • Provides a track record of research output and funding support for the NCMAS application.
  • Can be promoted to Delegate Lead CI role in cases where the Lead CI wishes to delegate project management responsibilities.

Delegate Lead Chief Investigator

  • Appointed by Lead Chief Investigator to actively manage a project and NCMAS application.
  • Responsibilities are those of the Lead Chief Investigator.
  • Expectation that the Lead Chief Investigator will appoint a Chief Investigator as Delegate.
  • Research track record is included in NCMAS application.

Researcher

  • Member of the project research team.
  • Research track record is not included for consideration in the NCMAS application.

 


 

Assessment Criteria and Scoring

NCMAS applications will be scored on the following criteria.

Project quality and innovation

    • Significance of the research
    • Originality and innovative nature of the computational framework
    • Advancement of knowledge through the goals of the proposed research
    • Potential for the research to contribute to Australian Science and Research Priorities

Investigators

    • Research record and performance relative to opportunity (publications, research funding, recognition and esteem metrics)

Feasibility

    • Adequacy of the time commitment of investigators to undertake the research and utilise the resources successfully
    • Capacity to realise the goals of the project within the resources request
    • Appropriate track record in the use of high-performance computing systems, relative to the scale of the resources requested
    • Suitability of the system to support the research, and an appropriate and efficient use of the system

Benefit and impact

    • Ability of the project to generate impactful outcomes and produce innovative economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia and the international community.

       


Application, Assessment and Allocation Process

The 2018 Call for Applications (September-December) process can be summarised by the following steps:

  1. Call for applications announced (Secretariat)
  2. Applications accepted (Secretariat)
  3. Eligibility and compliance verification (Secretariat)
  4. Technical assessment (nominated Facilities and Secretariat)
  5. Merit assessment (Committee)
  6. Allocation Committee meeting (Committee, supported by Secretariat and Facilities)
  7. Notification of outcomes (Secretariat).

The Secretariat will review all applications for compliance as soon as possible following the application deadline. Potentially non-compliant applications will be referred to the Committee Chair for a final decision. The Secretariat will notify the Lead CIs of all applications confirmed as non-compliant within seven (7) days of the application deadline.

Nominated HPC facilities will assess each application for suitability/fit for its HPC systems in the technical assessment. A facility may contact an applicant for further information as part of the technical assessment. Technical assessments are provided by the facilities as advice to the Allocation Committee. The Committee may also recommend that an applicant consult a nominated facility for further technical advice during merit assessment or after an allocation is awarded.

Assessment and Allocation Protocol

Assessment of proposals will be based on a combination of technical and scientific merit (see selection criteria section) based on material provided in the proposal. All applicants are expected to provide a detailed justification of the resources requested, and are expected to demonstrate the capacity to utilise the requested HPC resources effectively. All requests must be proportional to the scientific merit of the proposal. The NCMAS Committee reserves the right to allocate all or part of the resources available, and all or part of any specific request.

Assessment and allocation decisions are made by the Allocation Committee only. The NCMAS Secretariat and HPC facilities provide advice or supporting information to the Allocation Committee but are not otherwise involved in determining allocations.

Minimum Computing Request and Allocation

Each facility will set a minimum threshold (cpu-hours per year) for resource requests. The minimum request value for each facility is listed in the application form. Applicants requiring less than the NCMAS minimum allocation are encouraged to approach their home institution, regional or state-based HPC consortia (i.e. Intersect, QCIF, eRSA, TPAC), or partner schemes on the national facilities held by their institution with their resource request. 

Minimum Allocation 

Each facility has set a minimum value for NCMAS allocations, as listed in the table below. Proposals assessed as not requiring the minimum allocation at a selected facility will not be awarded NCMAS resources at that facility.

Facility-System Minimum Allocation (KSU/year)
NCI-Raijin 250*
Pawsey-Magnus 250
Monash-MASSIVE 50
UQ-FlashLite 20
* NOTE: 100-249 KSU (NCI-Raijin) will be considered for proposals which demonstrate a reasonable requirement for allocations in this range.
Maximum Computing Request and Allocation

Resource requests for NCMAS are not subject to a maximum limit (cap). This is to allow researchers to prepare a single proposal that can be considered by multiple allocation schemes, and which reflects their actual need for HPC resources. A request for more than 4000 KSU per year on any facility would normally be associated with teams of experienced researchers who can clearly demonstrate a track record of efficient and productive use of HPC resources. Note that any proposal deemed not to have fully justified the resources requested will be rejected.

Maximum Allocation

There is no formal maximum allocation for NCMAS. Allocations will reflect the relative merit of proposals and the demand for resources from the facilities. As a general rule, allocations of more than 5,000 KSU per year will only be made to exceptional projects involving researchers with an outstanding record of success. The maximum allocation on Raijin for 2017, for example, would be expected to be approximately 10 per cent of the available compute resource, or 10,000 KSU/year. 

Allocations are Quantised

Computing resources will be allocated in specific increments (quanta) as indicated on the NCMAS application form. Allocations are quantised to simplify the work of the allocation committee.

 


 

NCMAS 2018 Allocation Committee

 

Name Institution
Julian Gale (Chair) Curtin University
Amanda Barnard CSIRO - Data61
Alexander Heger Monash University
Brian Smith La Trobe University
Cedric Simenel Australian National University
Charmaine Franklin Bureau of Meteorology
Craig O'Neill Macquarie University
David Edwards University of Western Australia
Debra Bernhardt University of Queensland
Derek Leinweber University of Adelaide
Ekaterina Pas Monash University
Evatt Hawkes University of New South Wales
Jing-Jia Luo Bureau of Meteorology
Julio Soria Monash University
Mark Krumholz Australian National University
Nigel Marks Curtin University
Patrice Rey University of Sydney
Petra Heil University of Tasmania
Richard Sandberg University of Melbourne
Warren Kaplan Garvan Institute for Medical Research
VACANT --
VACANT --
VACANT --

 

A call for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in Committee membership is currently underway to fill the three vacant committee seats. Details of the Committee EOI are available at https://ncmas.nci.org.au/2017/NCMAS-Committee-EOI. The Committee EOI call closes Sunday 17 September.

 


 

Appeal Process

 

All decisions of the NCMAS Allocation Committee are final. Appeals will be considered only against adminstrative or procedural issues and not against decisions of the Committee or against assessor ratings and comments, in a manner consistent with the practices of the Australian Research Council.

Administrative appeals must submitted by the project Lead CI, using the administrative appeal form on the NCMAS website. The URL for administrative appeals will be on the NCMAS sebsite (https://ncmas.nci.org.au) on or before the application deadline, 20 October 2017.

The deadline for submission of administrative appeals is 5:00 pm AEDT Friday 09 February 2018. 

Administrative appeals will be considered by the NCMAS Allocation Committee Chair and Deputy Chair, and processed within 28 working days. Appellants will be notified of their outcome by email as soon as possible following a decision by the Chair.

The administrative appeal process is intended to:

  • determine whether administrative or procedural errors have occurred in NCMAS processes;
  • determine whether any such errors affected decision making by the NCMAS Secretariat and/or Allocation Committee;
  • determine whether to uphold or dismiss an appeal;
  • provide advice to the NCMAS Committee and Secretariat in relation to how NCMAS processes could be modified or improved.

 


 

Conditions of Use

 

Autonomous Sanctions and the Defence Trade Controls Act

All Lead Chief Investigators on NCMAS applications are required to certify (via a question on the NCMAS application form) compliance of their project with recent Commonwealth legislation, in particular, the Autonomous Sanctions Act (2011, Cth) and the Defence Trade Controls Act (2012, Cth). These articles of legislation impose additional requirements for supporting documentation and certification of project researchers in some circumstances. Applicants should review the current conditions of use on the websites of each of the participating HPC facilities:

Compliance with Commonwealth legislation is managed through your institution's research office. Consult your research office if you have specific questions about Autonomous Sanctions or DTCA compliance. 

Email Addresses

To ensure compliance with relevant Australian Government legislation, all researchers named in NCMAS applications must register and use an official institutional email address for all correspondence. Chief Investigators and Researchers who currently use a non-institutional email address (for example, @gmail.com or @yahoo.com) must register an official institutional email address. It is the responsibility of the project Lead Chief Investigator to ensure that all project staff register and use official email addresses. 

 


 

Proposal Format

Guidelines for proposal formatting follow ARC conventions. Use plain English and comply strictly with the proposal format and submission requirements. Use Australian English spelling.

All pages of additional text (uploaded in PDF form) must be as follows:

  • Black type, or occasional coloured type for highlighting purposes
  • Single column
  • White A4 size paper with at least 0.5 cm margin on each side, top and bottom
  • Text must be size 12 point Times New Roman or an equivalent size before converting to PDF format and must be legible to assessors. Otherwise, a highly legible font type must be used: Arial, Courier, Palatine and Helvetica subject to them being an equivalent size to 12 point Times New Roman. Variants such as mathematical typesetting languages may also be used.
  • References only can be in 10 point Times New Roman or equivalent
  • Adhere strictly to page limits designated for each part of the proposal.
  • Applicants should note that colour graphs, colour photographs, detailed graphics, and grey scale objects may be reproduced in black and white.
  • Additional text uploaded as PDF may appear slightly reduced in size due to NCMAS formatting of attachments. Additional text uploaded in PDF form should be directly generated rather than scanned to maximise the quality of reproduction.
  • The NCMAS Secretariat reserves the right to seek an original electronic copy of the Proposal to determine that the text meets these requirements.

     


HPC Resourcing Alternatives

Facility partner schemes and startup schemes offer an opportunity to supplement your NCMAS allocation, or provide alternatives to NCMAS for projects which are gaining experience and developing HPC capability in their research. An application to a partner or startup scheme will usually be less onerous than an application to a merit scheme (NCMAS). Partner schemes, in many cases, can allocate resources on a more flexible schedule than the merit schemes.

Partner and startup scheme allocations are determined by a Scheme Manager for each partner. The Scheme Manager is the responsible allocation authority for the partner institution.

The following sections describe startup and partner scheme options to obtain national facility resources independently of NCMAS. 

Startup and Introductory Schemes

Projects that are developing experience, or that require less than the minimum NCMAS allocation available on the national HPC facilities should consider applying to a facility startup scheme. 

Scheme Facility Resources Available / Information Email
NCI Startup NCI/Raijin

 1000 cpu-hours on Raijin per quarter, for one year.
 Default allocation on /short of 72 GB.
 Not eligible for /g/data or massdata allocations.
 Apply at https://my.nci.org.au/

help@nci.org.au

Pawsey Pawsey/Magnus https://support.pawsey.org.au/documentation/display/US/Director%27s+Share help@pawsey.org.au
MASSIVE Startup MASSIVE https://www.massive.org.au help@massive.org.au
FlashLite Startup UQ/FlashLite https://rcc.uq.edu.au/flashlite m.hankel@uq.edu.au
Partner Schemes - NCI Raijin

20 partner schemes are available to NCI users. The following table lists the NCI partner schemes, scheme managers, 

The ANU-NCI partner scheme is a special case. The ANU Merit Scheme operates a merit-based allocation call similar to NCMAS, offering compute time on Raijin to ANU researchers only. The ANU Merit Scheme call for applications normally operates October-December each year, roughly in parallel with the NCMAS call. ANU-based researchers are eligible to apply. NCI will announce the opening of the ANU Merit Scheme 2018 call in September 2018.

NCI partner schemes are listed in the following table. Scheme eligibility generally depends on your home institution. NCI User Services (help@nci.org.au) can answer general questions about partner scheme eligibility and help you to contact scheme managers.

To apply for NCMAS supplementation from a partner scheme use the online form available on the Information page at https://ncmas.nci.org.au. Supplementation requests will forwarded to your nominated partner scheme after your NCMAS outcome has been determined. Assessment and allocation of the supplemental request are done by the nominated partner scheme (Scheme Manager), independently of the NCMAS process.  

Scheme Availability Scheme Manager
ANU Merit (ANUMAS) October 2017 Markus Hegland
ANU Startup NOW Roger Edberg (NCI Delegate for ANU)
Bureau of Meteorology NOW Robin Bowen
CSIRO NOW Rob Bell
Geoscience Australia NOW David Lescinsky
Intersect NOW Wei Fang
QCIF NOW Marlies Hankel
Adelaide NOW Derek Lienweber
Monash NOW Simon Michnowicz
UQ NOW Marlies Hankel
Sydney NOW Dietmar Mueller

UNSW

NOW Joachim Mai
Deakin NOW Christopher McAvaney
RMIT NOW Salvy Russo
Tasmania
(ACE-CRC, AGP, AAD)
NOW Ben Galton-Fanzi
Wollongong NOW Keith Brophy
UTS NOW Mike Lake
Macquarie NOW Grant Sayer
Garvan Institute NOW Warren Kaplan
Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute NOW Adam Phipps

 

Click below to apply for an NCI partner allocation. Please Note: Applying for a partner allocation is COMPLETELY SEPARATE to your NCMAS Application. If you wish to apply for NCMAS, please follow instructions provided above.

Partner Schemes - Pawsey Magnus
Scheme Links
General Information https://support.pawsey.org.au/documentation/display/US/How+to+Apply
Startup Allocation https://support.pawsey.org.au/documentation/display/US/Director%27s+Share
Pawsey Partner Allocation https://support.pawsey.org.au/documentation/display/US/Pawsey+Partner+Scheme