Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES)

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Location of the nodes of the Spanish Supercomputing Network (RES)

A total of 237 activities were run on RES nodes during 2014. This brings to more than 2.380 the number of different projects awarded computing time on the RES network since its establishment in 2006. The year also saw increased participation in RES scientific and dissemination events, as well as training seminars that aim to broaden user groups amongst all scientific fields, ensuring that the HPC resources of the RES are fully utilised to support scientific progress throughout the country.

ESFRI's vision of the European HPC service and how RES and PRACE fit within it

European HPC-facilities are organised in a pyramid according to the volume of computing resources offered and the number of systems providing these resources. The shared European vision is to encourage and support the creation of an overall European HPC ecosystem involving all stakeholders: HPC service providers, grid infrastructures, scientific and industrial user communities, and the European HPC hardware and software industry.

The RES as a national and local-level HPC service provider is intended to provide tier-1 and tier-2 level infrastructure. The upgraded MareNostrum3, a PRACE Europe-wide infrastructure, will provide tier-0 service to Europe and also to the RES, while the other RES nodes will provide tier-1 or 2 service according to their capabilities.

RES history, main goals, resources and members

The Spanish government created the Spanish Supercomputing Network (Red Española de Supercomputación) in July 2006 in response to the need of the Spanish scientific community for intensive calculation resources, with supercomputing infrastructure and services considered to be an indispensable asset for the scientific and technological development of the country.

The RES consists of a distributed virtual infrastructure of supercomputers located in different sites, with each contributing to the total processing power available to users of different R&D groups in Spain. Its operation is coordinated by the Operations Department of BSC-CNS, which includes support for global maintenance and upgrades, training of users and technicians, facilitation of access and other aspects related to the user support.

Access protocol and allocations in the RES

Access Committee Core Team
  • Francisco Herrada, MINECO.
  • Julio Bravo, ANEP.
  • Alfonso Tarancón, BIFI-Universidad de Zaragoza.
  • Jordi Torres, BSC-CNS.
The Expert Panels
  • Astronomy, Space and Earth Sciences
  • Life and Health Sciences
  • Mathematics, Physics and Engineering
  • Chemistry and Materials Science and Technology

Each panel is composed of a coordinator, an assistant, and eight reviewers.

All the computing capacity offered by RES nodes is made available to the general scientific community via public calls, with applications submitted via a web interface, evaluated by a single Access Committee.

The allocation of access to the supercomputing facilities is based on efficacy, efficiency and transparency criteria. First, formal and technical reviews are produced for each project. Then the evaluation process is mediated by a double filter system, with potential projects first being evaluated by the ANEP (National Agency of Evaluation and Prospective) if they have not been previously evaluated by other relevant national or international institutions, followed by a review by the RES Access Committee (Core Team and four Scientific Expert Panels formed by prestigious scientists external to BSC-CNS and defined according to the classification established by the Spanish Foundation of Science and Technology (FECYT)).

More than 117 million hours were awarded by the Access Committee in the 3 calls for applications that took place during 2014. In addition to internal research activities of the RES nodes, more than 110 external research projects made use of the RES system in 2014. It is important to note that many scientific projects often request several periods of access during the year (each access lasts 4 months) in order to perform different work activities. As specified in the Access Protocol, each request is treated separately and must pass the evaluation procedure of the Access Committee. Consequently, the number of activities reported by the RES is higher than the number of projects registered for the year.

Access requests and usage of RES resources

Following the publication of the list of awarded activities by the Access Committee, the technicians at the RES nodes take over the logistical processes, including scheduling users, preparing software for loading and running, and ensuring access to results data and also statistics on the performance of the code, so as to facilitate future code improvements.

The chart below shows the evolution of requested, awarded and consumed TFLOP since the RES was founded in 2006. It clearly shows that demand is consistently higher than the resources offered, and that all capacity upgrades are quickly absorbed, as can be clearly seen during the first and second MareNostrum upgrades in 2008 and 2013.

CURES, the RES Users Committee

CURES Members
  • Miguel Ángel Aloy, UV
  • Javier Junquera, UC
  • Fernando Martín García, UAM
  • Rubén Pérez, UAM
  • Antoni Planas, URL
  • Marcel Swart, IQCC-UdG
  • Daniel Stich, UGR
  • Carme Rovira, PCB-UB (Chair)

CURES was established in 2010 to provide advice and feedback to RES management on the current state and future delivery of the resources and services provided by the RES network. CURES aims to promote the effective use of the facilities by sharing information on experiences in using the different systems, suggesting new research and technology directions in scientific computing and, above all, voicing user concerns.

To this end CURES undertakes various communication activities, such as holding regular meetings, establishing shared databases, and posting information. CURES also assists with the Survey on RES User Satisfaction, which gathers data and guides improvements in services.

The members of CURES elect amongst themselves the Chair and Vice-Chair, who act as representatives on behalf of the whole committee. Each member is elected for a maximum of 2 years, and half the members of the Committee should be renewed every year. In the case of Chair and Vice-Chair, these roles are reversed periodically with the Vice-Chair assuming the Chair’s role, thereby assuring continuity.

Broad Impact on Scientific Research

Geographical procedence of the RES users during 2014

The importance of the RES lies in that it not only supports research in computing, but also research in many other fields, facilitating simulations and calculations to produce scientific results that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain, or at least in such short timeframes, using traditional computers.

Percentage of RES resources used by Scientific Area in 2014

The different research activities carried out on RES supercomputers during 2014 were led by prominent researchers from institutions all over Spain, Europe and overseas, and covered a huge range of scientific fields, whose results were disseminated in seminars and conferences all over the world, in prestigious peer-reviewed journals, and also to broader audiences via the BSC-CNS website and social networks.

8th RES User Conference

8th RES User Conference Poster.

The 8th RES Users Conference took place on the 23rd September 2014 in Santander, Spain. The goal of the meeting was to promote available resources and services, to explain procedures for requesting time and reviewing of proposals, to disseminate the results obtained using the RES, and to offer a discussion forum among users, the CURES, and RES coordinators.

Four different sessions were held: Resources and services offered by the RES and PRACE; The challenge of moving from Tier-1 to Tier-0 supercomputers; Computational technology, Cosmology and Materials; and Quantum Mechanics and Technological development.

Planned to coincide with the Users Conference, the 3rd Annual HPC Advisory Council Spain Conference was held the next day, co-organised by BSC-CNS and the HPC Advisory Council, a network of experts from some of the leading global HPC companies.

Further information at

RES User Trainings

PUMPS Summer School. The fifth edition of the Programming and Tuning Massively Parallel Systems summer school (PUMPS) was held in Barcelona and co-organised by PRACE and RES. It was aimed at enriching the skills of researchers, graduate students, and teachers with cutting-edge technique and hands-on experience in developing applications for many-core processors with massively parallel computing resources like GPU accelerators. The program and related information available at

In addition to PUMPS, the RES also cooperated with the organisation and dissemination of all the BSC-CNS PATC Trainings during 2014.

Scientific seminars

Earth Sciences. This seminar was organised with the co-operation of the Earth Sciences Department at BSC-CNS. The objective of this seminar was to show researchers computational applications and problems in the study of Earth Sciences, specifically analysing the usage of supercomputing in Climate, Weather, and Seismic areas. Renowned scientists and researchers shared their findings from projects and studies. See

Attendees to the Earth Sciences seminar and the poster of the event

Poster of the Engineering seminar

Engineering. This seminar was organised with the co-operation of the CASE Department, to provide a common forum for Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering researchers who usually access RES resources, with special fpcus on analysing the usage of supercomputing in the areas of Fusion Energy, Study of Turbulence, Materials, Eigensolvers, and others. Renowned scientists and researchers shared their findings from projects and studies as well as their successes and problems regarding the usage of HPC services. See
More information available at

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