Advanced user support

An agile national e-infrastructure for research can have a significant impact on the scientific achievements of researchers.  New technology and well designed services can help provide such advantages. In addition, advice and dedicated efforts from highly competent IT experts can boost the potential exploitation of HPC resources and data services. This is known as advanced user support and offers help that goes beyond the general (basic) user support to provide specialised and more in-depth competence to a research group or community. Ultimately, the (advanced) user support should contribute to effective and optimal use of the national computing and data-storage facilities.

For the HPC services, advanced user support aims at helping scientists to improve or extend the performance and capabilities of their applications. This can be in a number of ways, including:

  • code parallelization
  • porting
  • optimization
  • benchmarking
  • improving user-interfaces
  • software development

For the storage services, advanced user support aims at:

  • assist researchers to create data plans
  • implementing best practices
  • identifying or defining meta-data schema
  • identifying suitable storage formats
  • identifying dedicated or specialised tools to help utilise the facilities better

Diffent types of advanced user support

Advanced user support are classified in Discipline specific AUS and Project-based AUS. The two categories are different in the following ways:

  • Who initiates the support
  • Length of support
  • Amount and type of support
  • Local involvement and commitment
  • Funding
  • Plans, follow-up and documentation

A general pre-requisite for obtaining AUS is that the applicant(s) must provide some of the funding for the AUS. The reasons for this is to secure sufficient involvement from both parties. Exceptions for funding can be made when there are clear benefits to other science areas. The exact funding ratio is determined in the call for applications. 

The Metacentre is the main contributor of AUS. The people performing the AUS should as a rule be employed by a Metacentre at a university, exceptions need approval from Sigma2. The focus of the Metacentre is to work closely with the researchers in order to help them to utilize the HPC and storage resources in the best possible way.
 

Interested in advanced user support?