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Sunday, 05 Feb 2023

The Cy-Tera project

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The Cy-Tera project aims at creating a research facility including a high-performance computing (HPC) infrastructure supporting cutting-edge scientific applications, with associated user support and computational science research and training programs. The Cy-Tera facility will be the first HPC facility at multi-Tflops level in Cyprus, serving the needs of the Cyprus Institute (CyI) and its partners for frontier research applications in many fields of great scientific and/or societal importance. It will provide the initial funding for the infrastructure of the Computation-based Science and Technology Research Center (CaSToRC).

The principal components of the Cy-Tera project are as follows:

  1. To set up a Tier-2 (in PRACE terminology) HPC facility based on multiple core architecture with scalable design of peak performance higher than 20 Tflops and 100 Tbytes of storage.
  2. To provide computational and data resources, and associated user support, for the CyI research thrusts, and the research activities of its partner institutions. This will notably include applications in Climate Modeling, simulations of Desalination Systems, Digital Cultural Heritage, Computational Physics and Biology as well as basic research in Computational Science. The system will be designed to allow the range of applications described in the proposal and accommodate additional applications in the future, according to user demands and peer review process.
  3. To develop research activities in Scientific Computing, devoted both to the above-mentioned applications and to basic research interfacing with Computer Science, thus creating local expertise in new architectures, multithreading and other  specialized programming, all targeted to applications. New architectural solutions will be investigated including GPUs and other accelerator-based designs, which reduce the power and cooling requirements while offering much higher performance at the cost of greater programming complexity. Parallel programming environments and software tools to facilitate the development of scalable parallel applications will be given particular attention, since many-core chips, with hundreds of simple cores on the chip, have been shown to be attractive for a number of technical computing applications.

The Cy-Tera unit will be developed by the CyI team and its partners: the National Center of Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in the US, the Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC) in Germany, the University of Cyprus (UCY) and the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) project in Jordan. It will be embedded in the general development plans of the CyI that foresee future expansion to Tier-1 scale elevating the CaSToRC to a regional center for the Eastern Mediterranean in the context of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) supported by the EU. CyI has formed a strategic partnership with NCSA for the design, planning and implementation of CaSToRC, formalized by a Collaboration Agreement signed in 2007. This planning includes the sustainable operation and future expansion of the Cy-Tera facility beyond the four year period of the project, with a focus on developing green solutions to power, cooling and related infrastructure needs, as detailed in the CaSToRC Enterprise Plan.


The present proposal describes the objectives, resource requirements, and organizational issues for the four-year timeline of the project. Cy-Tera and CaSToRC will be developed against the backdrop of the evolving computing environment within the European Union (EU), in which CaSToRC is already strongly integrated being the Cyprus representative in PRACE and a partner in the PRACE-1IP project. Integration of CaSToRC in the European and regional scientific communities is evidenced by the selection of partners of the Cy-Tera project; it is the objective of continuous regional networking activities, supported by the European Commission (DG-INFSO) through the LinkSCEEM (Linking Scientific Computing in Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean) Support Action and LinkSCEEM-2 Coordination and Support Action.

The Cy-Tera project will boost the development of CaSToRC in terms of HPC infrastructure, related expertise and associated research thrusts. This will considerably strengthen ongoing research collaborations of CyI both with its partners in this project and with other leading institutions, such as the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF) for Digital Heritage, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for energy, environment and water, and the Max Planck Institute at Mainz (MPI-Mainz) for Climate Modeling. As a result, the facility will acquire the desired level of excellence bringing to Cyprus a computational infrastructure and expertise with a regional presence that can integrate with those in the USA, Japan and Western Europe.