Plasma HEC Consortium


The Plasma High-end Computing (HEC) Consortium is an EPSRC funded collaboration of UK plasma physics researchers. The Plasma HEC supports research in the simulation of plasmas, including those plasmas of relevance to magnetic confinement fusion, laser-plasma interactions, and laser fusion energy. The software development includes a commitment to optimizing key codes, with input from EPCC, Daresbury and Warwick Computer Science, and developing new physics packages as required to maintain the UK’s role in laser-plasma physics and all approaches to fusion for energy. The consortium supports meetings and software development. It also manages a block allocation of national super-computer time to be used for plasma physics research. The Consortium academic members are:

All enquiries about the Plasma HEC should be sent to HEC Consortium Enquiry. Do not change the subject header of enquiry emails as any changes will result in the email being automatically deleted. This also applies to other email links below.

Getting an account on HECToR or ARCHER

How users can get accounts on our project

In order to get an account, a potential user needs to know two things: our project code (e281), and our project password. The password you can get from someone else in your group or by sending an email to HEC Consortium Users can register at the same time for an account on the admin website, and on the service machine. They need both. This is what a new user should do. Now the user will be asked to accept the Terms and Conditions of Access by clicking the appropriate button. After this, they will get an acknowledgment, and an email with their password to the admin website. They should change this password as soon as possible. For the user's account on the service machine to be created this will need to be authorised by the Plasma HEC Chair.

If you are a PDRA, PhD student or on a Fellowship, i.e. not academic staff, then before your account is authorised a member of academic staff who is an HEC member in your group needs to send an email to HEC Consortium briefly explaining your project, and stating your current job and employer. This email only needs to be a few sentences. For academics, and researchers in CCFE or RAL, your account can be authorised without such an email.

Acceptable Use Policy

The Plasma HEC has an Acceptible Use Policy which details the maximum job size allowed in the e281 general account along with rules regarding disk space management. This must be read and followed rigorously or accounts will be suspended. Along with rules on using ARCHER this policy also includes details of acknowledgement. Papers published which used the HEC ARCHER allocation must acknowledge the Plasma HEC Consortium EPSRC grant number EP/L000237/1. Publications, i.e. those with the correct acknowledgement, from previous HEC allocations will be used as one of the criteria from project renewals and new projects.

An account is not enough - you may need to join a project

All users will by default have access to the e281 account. This has a small allocation of resources and is just for testing compilation and small runs prior to users been allocated to a project. All new users must check the Acceptible Use Policy which details the maximum job size allowed in the e281 general account along with rules regarding disk space management. This must be read and followed rigorously or accounts will be suspended. For substantial use of ARCHER you must be part of a project. Project time must be requested as set out below or you must request to join an existing project. Once in a project you can run simulations which will be charged against that project's allocation. Multiple requests for projects in similar areas, or using the same code, may be joined to keep allocations simple. So for example if you join the project e281-example then your submission scripts must then use e281-example and NOT e281.

Joining an existing project

It is very common that new users wish to join an existing project, e.g. to work with a colleague or supervisor who has already been allocated a project. To be allowed to join an existing project the PI of the project must send an email to New Project Member stating the uid and full name of the new member. It is the PI's responsibility to ensure that the new users understands how to use the resource.

Calls for ARCHER projects

Once you have an account you need to either be attached to an existing project, see above, or request a new project. Substantial CPU time is only allocated to projects. By default new users will be assigned to the e281 project which is a pump-prime account. This has a low allocations and is meant to be used to learn the system and check your codes compile and run. Use of this is restriced by the Acceptible Use Policy. To be allocated a serious number of CPU hours you must submit a resource request - a project. EPSRC requires that we monitor usage of the allocations for reporting and to check that the system is being used correctly. The notional value of our HEC allocations is estimated at £3M so we have no choice but to insist on applications for resources rather than a free for all policy. Requests for these projects will be assessed by the Plasma HEC management and calls are usually sent out every 6 months. All applications for Plasma HEC projects must follow the format of the Resource Allocation Panel (RAP) Template

Previous calls for ARCHER/HECToR projects

The initial allocation of time on the old HECToR system (decommissioned March 2014) was HECToR Projects.

Calls for access to ARCHER have been run approximately every 6 months. The results from each allocation panel are:

Publications and Conference Presentations

A list of publications resulting from the Plasma HEC Consortium's ARCHER allocations can be found here and some example science case studies here