The Swiss Platform for Advanced Scientific Computing (PASC) is a structuring project supported by the Council of Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Board) and, until 2017, by the Swiss University Conference (SUC). PASC started in 2013 and will last until 2020. PASC is coordinated by CSCS, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre of the ETH Zurich, in collaboration with the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) and with the other Swiss universities and the EPFL.
The platforms overarching goal is to position Swiss computational sciences in the emerging exascale-era. It is complementary to the supercomputing-hardware-focused elements of the Swiss High-Performance and Networking (HPCN) initiative. PASC consolidates and builds on the achievements of the High-Performance and High-Productivity Computing (HP2C) project, which supported 13 large-scale projects in the period 2009-2013.
PASC aims to promote joint effort to address key scientific issues in different domain sciences through interdisciplinary collaborations between domain scientists, computational scientists, software developers, computing centres and hardware developers. Thus, PASC builds on the principle of co-design, namely that software codes exploiting the potential of the next generation of computing architectures need to be jointly and interactively developed by these actors throughout the whole value chain.
PASC is organized in the following pillars:
- The Project pillar as a a bottom-up initiative based on yearly calls. The projects are led by Principal Investigators form Swiss research institutions and are reviewed every two years with a final report. About 50% of the available PASC funding are reserved for this activity. The funding supports researchers and software developers, only a small amount of computational resources at CSCS to support co-design and development is included . The main goal is to develop tools to address specific computational challenges in domain sciences. The projects are interdisciplinary, jointly developed by domain scientists, computational researchers and software developers.
- The Core Program pillar as a top-down initiative based on a master plan proposed by the Program Director, review by Core Program Committee. In its scope a number of libraries and tools to support different scientific applications able to run on different hardware architectures are developed. About 50% of the available PASC funding is allocated to this activity. The typical length of single activities is between 12 and 18 months.
- The Training & Outreach pillar composed by
- the Swiss Graduate Program Foundations in Mathematics and Informatics for Computer Simulations in Science and Engineering (FOMICS). FOMICS is coordinated by the Institute of Computational Sciences of the USI, together with the University of Basel, Bern, Geneva, EPFL, ETH Zurich and CSCS; it is supported through means from the Swiss University Conference doctoral program. The program is open to other participation at the condition they bear their own costs.
- a yearly Summer School jointly organized by CSCS and USI.
- the PASC Conference that takes place yearly and is supported by ACM SIGHPC.