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PRACE investigates application requirements

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PRACE, the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe, has carried out investigations into application requirements for European Petaflop systems, alongside a survey of key users.

The application codes analysed are those selected earlier by PRACE as representative of the likely load on European Petaflop/s systems and which are candidates for inclusion in a benchmark suite to help select such systems.  The applications analysed cover molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry (NAMD, CPMD, CP2K, GROMACS, GPAW, VASP), atomic physics (HELIUM), cosmology (GADGET), computational fluid dynamics (CODE_SATURNE, N3D, ALYA), plasma physics (TORB, PEPC), particle physics (QCD) and earth system modelling (NEMO, ECHAM5). 

Each of the applications was run on one of the classes of architectures identified by PRACE as suitable prototypes for future Petascale systems. The appropriate data sets for each application were selected and profiling data on production-scale runs was collected so that the requirements of each application could be identified.  In addition, PRACE complemented this data by the results of a survey of many of the major HPC users in Europe. This survey included questions about the user, usage patterns, HPC infrastructure, upcoming algorithms and general comments about future Petascale systems. Almost 70 responses were received and analysed by PRACE. 

This work is essential for later tasks in PRACE, which will involve optimising and petascaling these applications and packaging them into a benchmark suite to be used in future Petaflop procurements.