The HPC RSE offering to researchers
As part of the University’s ongoing commitment to High Performance Computing (HPC), three new specialist Research Software Engineers (RSEs) have been employed to help researchers make the best use of the world class facilities here at Southampton.
“…provide a centrally backed HPC Research Software Engineering capability as part of the Southampton RSE Group (SRSG) to increase specialist research software engineering support to both current and potential users of HPC. This additional support would both optimise the current usage of our facilities and drive broader adoption of HPC outside the traditional subject areas.”Business case for IRIDIS 6
After consultation with stakeholders including researchers across a range of disciplines and the iSolutions HPC team, the following portfolio of services is available free of charge to researchers:
Ad Hoc Services
- Information about the HPC RSE Service: both proactive & responsive – Presentations to research groups, departments, Schools and Faculties.
- General help (<1d): technical enquiries triaged via the HPC admins team.
- Early projects advice (<5d): feasibility, planning, proposals, bids.
- Training provision (<2d): delivery of training for which materials exist.
Please get in touch for details.
(Subject to the Project Selection Process outlined below).
- Software development and consultancy (1-12 weeks) – for example:
- Developing novel codes to solve research problems in academic domains which don’t typically use HPC.
- Optimising or extending existing codes to make best use of the HPC resources available, e.g. refactoring, porting to HPC, porting to GPU.
- Development of novel training materials (1-12 weeks)
Project Selection Process for Governed Services
- Expression of interest – Researchers are invited to complete a short online form describing the scope of the proposed work and its impact.
- Initial appraisal by RSE group & clarification – RSE will meet with all applicants to clarify their requirements and to agree how much RSE effort is needed.
- Project Proposal – A one page Proposal is drawn up by the RSE outlining requirements, deliverables, timescales as well as risks.
- SRSG Consideration – HPC RSEs meet to consider Proposals; discuss viability and risks, score against selection criteria (below) and provide an initial observations / recommendation for each.
- Project Proposals and RSE recommendations circulated to the HPC Academic Governance Board (AGB).
- AGB Consideration – Proposals and recommendations are considered at AGB
- Projects are Selection – To fit the available effort and resources.
- Scheduling – According to available RSE resources / skillsets.
Project Selection Criteria
“…The HPC RSEs will be assigned to research projects that are most likely to generate impact or to increase the use of IRIDIS across the University. Criteria for selection will include potential for desirable research outputs, potential for increasing the range of researchers accessing the resource, establishment of new projects and support for existing successful projects.”Business case for IRIDIS 6
Applications will be scored 1 (little relevance) to 5 (strong relevance) on the following criteria:
- Increasing Impact – “an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia”. (40%).
- Widening Participation – Increasing the range of researchers accessing the resource. (20%)
- Supporting Success – Researchers with a proven track-record. (20%).
- Making Optimal Use of Resources – Opportunities for improvements to efficiency, e.g. by optimising code or porting to new architectures. (20%).
HPC RSE Allocation application form