DECI Access: The Evaluation Process

The DECI submission and evaluation process is composed of the following major steps.

During this step, the call is opened and communicated to potential users through various PRACE and national communication channels.

Applications are accepted via the DECI submission tool until the final day of the call.

Several submissions of the same proposal before the submission deadline are permitted, but only the last one will be considered. Applicants fill in an on-line form within the submission tool with a number of fields to be completed. In addition, a Word template is provided which allows the applicant to describe their project in more detail.

DECI defines “internal proposals” as all proposals where the Principal Investigator (PI) is from a country which both participates in and contributes resources to DECI calls. Similarly, “home sites” are institutions of a country contributing resources to DECI and also dealing with the administrative side of applications.

After a call closes, each internal proposal is assigned to its home site – with the country of a PI being the same as the home site. “External proposals”, which are DECI proposals with a PI from a country which is not contributing resources to the DECI call, are also assigned a home site from the available pool of DECI home sites.

Once applications have a home site, all applications are checked for the consistency of their information and completeness of the applications. If any clarifications or extra details are required, home site representatives may contact the PIs of applications.

All applicants will receive confirmation that their proposals have been correctly submitted and that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Applications then undergo technical review by a member of DECI staff at the relevant home site to assess that the technical requirements of applications conform to DECI expectations.

This means that applications should be scalable for the requested resources and that these resources will be managed and used in an efficient manner.

The technical review should find any obstacles that would prevent the project succeeding but also find out if the required architectures suggested by the candidate are suitable.

For internal proposals, scientific reviews are usually carried out by a national panel of experts assembled from the same country as an application’s PI.

For external proposals, reviews are carried out by scientific reviewers
from across Europe, including reviewers from the Tier-0 Project Access
pool of scientific reviewers provided by the PRACE aisbl.

Occasionally, internal proposals are reviewed by the Tier-0 pool.

National panels and the external reviewers all rank their respective subset of applications based on scientific excellence.

Once all reviews are completed, the DAAC (DECI Access and Allocation Committee) meets to agree which proposals will be awarded resources with the key principle being scientific excellence. Therefore, decisions are made based on the rankings provided by scientific reviewers.

Allocation of resources follows the juste retour principle where each country receives approximately the same amount of computing time the country has contributed, minus up to 30% which is dedicated to external projects.

Taking into consideration each application’s technical requirements, projects are then assigned to the DECI Tier-1 machine where the project will run.

Applicants are then informed of their awarded computational allocation and their assigned machine, and they are expected to confirm their acceptance of their award or inform us of any potential problem with the chosen machine.

Once awards are accepted, and the time for projects to begin approaches, applicants are put in contact with technical personnel of their assigned machine for projects and user accounts to be created.

During computational access time, users discuss any difficulties they may face with their projects with their DECI technical contact – in which case they are directed to local user support or other avenues for resolving their issues are sought (such as assigning a project to a different machine).

Projects end at the allocation closing period unless users have requested an extension in their project run-time. If such an extension is approved by the site hosting the project, the project may run for a few weeks longer.

At the end of each project, users are reminded of their obligation to provide DECI with their project final reports for which templates are provided.

The submission of the final reports is the final stage of a project’s lifetime.

Based on the analysis of project final reports, various articles or success stories in cooperation with Principal Investigators of projects and the PRACE Communications team may be created to highlight project results and the success of DECI.