A month, a partner: IDRIS

Within the AQMO project, our partner IDRIS is represented by Sylvie Thérond and Philippe Collinet.

Sylvie Thérond has been a member of IDRIS User Support since 1993, and Head of User Support Artificial Intelligence since January 1, 2020. She interacts in projects by providing personalised assistance to users in compiling, porting and adapting codes to the IT infrastructure of IDRIS.

Philippe Collinet is Head of the System-Operating-Infrastructure Team since 2004, architect of system solutions, and responsible for operations and interface in IDRIS computing and storage renewal projects.

IDRIS is the national centre of the CNRS for very high performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI), in charge of hosting and operating the new Jean Zay accelerated hybrid supercomputer. It is a major and active player in the construction and organisation of HPC at the national level, in perfect synergy with its partners: the CEA, the universities and the Grand Equipment of Intensive Calculation (GENCI) -also one of the AQMO partners– as well as at the European level, because of its very strong involvement and major contributions to the construction in progress, over the last fifteen years, of the European Ecosystem computing ecosystem.

IDRIS: its links with institutional and private stakeholders

Although the ties with private actors are mainly confined to the trainings disseminated by IDRIS, the centre has always actively participated in the development of ecosystems with French and European institutional stakeholders, notably through the UNICORE experiments of the European projects DEISA and PRACE, and then the E-Biothon portal, a national Cloud platform (16,000 hearts) to accelerate and advance research in biology, health and environment.

How does AQMO fit into IDRIS’ vision?

The supercomputers of national sites, which were initially only accessible via ssh connection, have been opening up for several years to new types of services and more flexible uses (Software as a Service (SaaS), JupyterLab, portal, etc.). However, these new modes of access must meet the same security constraints as other access modes, which sometimes requires important adaptations of the software batteries used.

The AQMO project is an example of this new type of use that allows access to important computing resources in a simple and transparent way. In the medium term, these new services will become more widespread and coexist with more traditional uses. 

AQMO, which proposes an experimental platform is a step, which has allowed to validate the approach and the complex technical solutions of workflow and represents for IDRIS a paradigm shift, with data (computational, from large decoder instruments, telescope, synchrotron, etc., or from the Internet of Things) which becomes the center of the problem, the post-processing calculation being only one element, certainly important, among a complex chain from the analysis to the results.

AQMO: synergy with other initiatives

Several IDRIS on-going projects, including some related to the COVID-19 pandemic, had to be supported due to the fact that their teams were not users of the national centres. Some have waived due to the complexity and constraints associated with access to computing resources and data exchange. The architecture of AQMO with data transfer and simulation launch through a proxy portal that can potentially be associated with an urgent computing policy, could be a model with an expanded spectrum.