UNSW HPC Resource Application

UNSW HPC Resource Allocation Scheme

Application for NCI Resources in 2023

Important Dates
Call for applications 24 October 2022
Deadline for application submission 9 December 2022
Provisional allocations available 1 January 2023
Final allocations available 31 January 2023


Every year, the UNSW Resource Allocation Scheme provides UNSW researchers with millions of hours of high-performance computing (HPC) resources at NCI, one of the largest supercomputing facilities in Australia.  The peak HPC system at NCI is Gadi, which was ranked the 24th most powerful supercomputer in the world (June 2020).  Gadi comprises 4,248 compute nodes, with a total of 184,680 Intel CPU cores, 640 Nvidia V100 GPUs, and between 128GB and 3TB memory per node.

If you are a member of staff and your primary affiliation is UNSW, and your research project would benefit from the HPC resources available in Gadi, then please follow the guidelines below.

Resource allocations are assigned to NCI projects for a calendar year.  Therefore, project CIs must apply for new resources every year if they wish to keep their project active.  Note that it is not necessary to create a new project each year; new resource allocations can be assigned to existing projects.  In all cases, a proposal is required which explains the research project and justifies the amount of resources being requested.

How to apply

If you would like to use Gadi in 2023, there are 2 different ways of obtaining compute time for your project from the UNSW Resource Allocation Scheme: 

  1. Submit a proposal to the NCMAS scheme during the annual application process (15 Aug – 3 Oct) which qualifies the project for a top-up from the UNSW scheme 

  1. Submit a proposal directly to the UNSW scheme during the annual application process (24 Oct – 9 Dec) 

90% of the resources in the UNSW scheme are allocated by these two options.  The remaining 10% is reserved for top-ups and small new projects throughout the year ahead.

NCMAS 2023 Application (Option #1)

NCMAS is the annual resource allocation scheme operated by NCI.  It is a very competitive scheme open to research institutions across Australia.  If you have already applied for Gadi resources from the NCMAS 2023 scheme, then it is NOT necessary to submit another application to the UNSW scheme.  Please send a copy of your NCMAS application to Martin Thompson for consideration in the UNSW scheme.  For all strong NCMAS applications that were not granted their full resource allocation, we will compensate the project with resources from the UNSW scheme.

UNSW 2023 Application (Option #2)

Do you meet the eligibility criteria?

To apply for Gadi resources directly from the UNSW scheme you must be a member of staff whose primary affiliation is UNSW.  We do not accept applications from students.  If you are a student wishing to use Gadi, then please discuss it with your supervisor. 

Do you have a project proposal?

If you would like to request Gadi resources from the UNSW scheme during the annual application process, then a proposal document is required.  The proposal should be no longer than 4 pages (A4) and it should include the following: 

  • Scope of proposed scientific work 

  • Information on algorithms, workflows, software and data

  • Evidence of application scaling and experience with HPC environments 

  • Derivation of the requested amount of compute resources

Applications for larger resource allocations are expected to provide more detailed evidence and justification for the amount of resources requested.

Do you have an NCI account? 

If you do not already have an NCI user account, then please request an account using the NCI User Portal.  

Do you have an NCI project?

If you are requesting resources for an existing NCI project, and you are the Lead CI of that project, then you are ready to submit your application.  See the next section. 

If you are requesting resources for a new NCI project, then please create a new project by using the NCI User Portal  and selecting “Propose a project”.  Limit the description of the project to 2-3 paragraphs in Step #2, and make sure that the UNSW allocation scheme is selected in Step #5.  This procedure will create a new project with a small resource allocation in Q4 2022.  However, the primary objective of this procedure is simply to generate a new NCI project code that can be used in the following application for resources in 2023. 

Submit your application 

When you have become the Lead CI of an NCI project, then you are ready to complete the online application form for resources from the UNSW scheme in 2023.

Important Considerations

The application form should only be completed by the Lead CI of an NCI project.  Students are not eligible to apply; instead, students should ask their supervisor to complete the application. 

In the application form, the amount of requested resources is for the whole year and it is in units of kSU.  The resources granted to the project for the year will be subdivided and allocated on a quarterly basis. 

The application process is competitive.  All applications will be rated by the Faculties. 

A comprehensive review of all applications may not be possible before the end of 2022 because there is insufficient time after NCI announce the NCMAS outcomes on 12 December.  Consequently, a provisional resource allocation will be assigned to each project for January 2023 only.  During January, a full review of all applications will be completed, and final allocations for the remainder of 2023 will be assigned to projects by 31 January.

Allocation adjustments will be made each quarter to ensure high utilisation of resources.  This means that underutilised projects can expect quarterly allocation reductions, and projects that exhaust their allocation before the end of a quarter may request top-ups. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Martin Thompson or Joachim Mai.