NeIC related discussions at the Application Expert meeting in Uppsala on 14-10-16

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Discussions at the Application Expert meeting in Uppsala on 14-10-16

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Which software to support on a Nordic level and how

NeIC Gen area coordinator Michaela Barth cited the draft version of the Nordic eScience Action Plan 2.0 with ten concrete actions for implementation. In there in Action Line C, there Action 10 "Nordic e-infrastructure for scientific software" is defined like this:

<quote> Nordic groups have trademarked several scientific software packages and made critical contributions to many others. By ensuring a leading role in selected software initiatives the Nordics can influence the relevant maintenance strategies, thereby catering for the interests of Nordic user communities. Nordic efforts will be supported for selected scientific software packages and for providing the basis for coordinated participation in the Horizon 2020 e-infrastructure calls on Centers of Excellence on scientific software.

Commencement: 2014 Implementation: 2015 – 2016 Responsible: NeIC/NordForsk and the national e-infrastructure providers </quote>

In comparison to that she wanted like to know what software we could identify that would profit of support on a Nordic level (with details on that software, its spread, contact points and usage.)

Software packages of Nordic interest

The following software packages were identified during the discussion:

  • NorESM
    • contact point within Application Experts: Rossen Appostolov at PDC
    • code development environment for GROMACS
  • Dalton
    • contact point within Application Experts: Radovan Bast at PDC
    • started 2 repositories in Tromsø: and with the second is now being officially supported by university of Tromsø. (many projects there are private, so not much is visible, but both have few hundreds users and ~100 projects. Everything is just Tromsø-wide plus external collaborators. Many of the projects are small and some of them are "just" manuscript projects.)
  • Different Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) codes like NEK5000, OpenFoam or Elmer
    • Elmer developed at CSC
  • PENCIL Code
    • contact point within Application Experts: Joachim Hein at LU
  • ARC
  • SGAS
  • There should also be some bioinformatics code of interest

  • AP on NeIC: send someone to the NorESM workshop
  • AP on NeIC: find out more about this bioinformatics code

How would this best be done?

  • Suggestion to copy the software sustainability initiative in the UK ( ) on the Nordic level: especially, identify new codes and make immediate effort to develop and maintain it in the best possible way; create some "incubator for new coming code"

What is meaningful support?

  • For new and upcoming codes: workshops on how to get your code in a good framework would be useful
  • Trainings for using tools of performance analysis
  • Help with holding introductory courses for new users, maybe together with a Competence Center (which centers are there??). It would be useful if e.g. NorESM users could go to a competence centre for a week.
  • Common code revision platform project could be useful, but a lot of good stuff is available open source (e.g. git, CMake,gerrit,jenkins,Redmine as used in GROMACS), others have to use home cooked solutions (when the could buy for use of those open source solutions to use them commercially for a few hundred dollars instead). --> In order to maintain control, the best thing would be to set up trainings on how to run those services.
  • Such services could also be set up in the Cloud, similar to the repositories in Tromsø (see above) who are very popular.
  • Training in using and possibly also maintaining programming tools: many people have never received training in programming tools, others who know have no time to maintain tools, but need to write papers, so those programming tools would need more focused human resources in order to maintain activity

AP on NeIC: find out what H2020 competence centers are planned

AddOn: One code that might fit as a candidate for a NeIC incubator project (if NeIC does want to support incubating codes) is the MIMICA LES model that has been developed at Stockholm University ( Annica Ekman ( is the best person to provide more details about MIMICA, plans for this model and how it compares with other LES models.

Usage of the common Nordic application experts mailing list / How to best get to know each other and communicate?


  • NeIC has taken over the old Swedish application expert mailing list as Nordic application expert list and invited people from other countries to subscribe. [1]. So far not many have followed the invitation, though.
  • Is there an interest in Nordic application experts WIP wiki set up at

Similar question on how to get people to the NeIC2015 conference workshop on User Support ( ), there we should set up topics and send that information to as many as possible.

The central question is how to get in touch with people: making the first contact is the difficult one.

Why should people use a mailing list?: providing incentive is the difficult thing here. Within SNIC there is an obligation, but there is no such a thing in the Nordic context. What can they get out of it? They want help to problems that they are faced with, so one way should be to document solutions to problems you have yourself and get other peoples interested. --> it has to be public readable, so other people can google for it and find it.

Getting to know each other and the other countries' organizations and understand them is key in reaching out to people.

What we also need in the NeIC2015 is to identify a number of individuals to present something from their country. We are all working with e-science support in one way or the other (e.g. by chance at Matlab meeting in Copenhagen Torben run into someone.)

How useful is a wiki:

  • It should be kalmarized, for everyone easily being able to login

Currently not using the Swedish application experts mailinglist that much for discussions, because the suspects are known. So mostly used for announcements. e.g. Jonathan used it to fill workshops

Application experts are interested in automating themselves: 90% of questions are actually FAQs. A framework for that is needed. Call it "Common Data Base of Knowledge and Excellence" and have a meeting on how to coordinate this.

Contra: Difficult to kick-start this, does not fit optimal return at this point. It would be nice to have this service, but it is not fitting in the current application experts workflow. What would be the common Nordic interest? This could be done Bio Support Forum style, just try to run this in a larger context; it would be easy to get support for that. But, just setting up the service and hope it will grow will not work. --> It needs to come with a project funding! After that it could create natural incentive over time.

Pavlin Mitev created some small tools and uploaded on his website, that drew attention, so there is definitely return of investment over time, if the application experts solve their own problems and share it, even if not seeing the immediate need not in the beginning.

Comparing to the usage of the SNIC docs: it is nice, but it doesn't fit the workflow. There is also the problem in trusting the longterm of other webplaces, who will maintain a webpage over time??! Best do set up your own webpage. Getting something started is often an individual effort.

Suggested usage for the common Nordic application expert mailing list

  • use it for announcements
  • National training coordinators should use it and other events should be announced on it as well.
  • Possibly also as fall-back for user questions (as within SONC mailinglist ?): customers ask questions on a portal which is suggesting answers, if not answered, the question is sent to the mailing list.

Suggestions for a wiki

  • It should be kalmarized, for everyone easily being able to login
  • it has to be public readable, so other people can google information on it and find it.
  • it needs to be a funded project to create incentive and start it and ensure that it will survive and can be trusted.
  • possibly good starting point: get the people on there who working on the codes of Nordic interest identified above to upload their small tools and help for the users and write FAQs.
  • call it "Common Data Base of Knowledge and Excellence"

NeIC2015 User Support session on Wednesday

"Great idea, not sure I will come, though"


Is NeIC going towards a Nordic HPC conference every year? (No, current plans are just bi-annual.)

Torben needs help with ideas for the program.

  • Documentation
  • Tools: have Martin Dahlö present what tools they are using within UPPNEX
  • Training
  • actual presentations of interesting application expert projects

maybe rather not actual user training

  • Gaussian?
  • VASP?
  • profiling? but there is another session on code development
  • hands-on training?
  • Tools for Support (like e.g easybuild from Belgium)

Intended public: People working with user support in other organizations and share their knowledge

  • AP on all: invite the people you would like to see there, everyone to suggest someone: Trying to identify other persons to give presentations on how they support users, identify individuals you would like to learn from. Please mail your suggestions to Torben ( They don't have to be Nordic, but should be of Nordic interest like easybuild from Belgium.

Potential starting point: Application experts from the Nordic countries that are working in PRACE. Who else to contact:

  • BTU
  • CSC
  • Trondheim/Tromsø
  • Iceland
  • Oslo Bio
  • Software sustainability institute from UK

SNIC User Forum

being organized on Dec 15-16th in Linköping. eScience education involved in organization

  • AP on all: Do the survey!

Objective: get the users a better overview what SNIC is, can provide and collect feedback what the users actually want from SNIC. --> building a better structure so users can their voice made heard.

hoping for international speakers (HPC providers)

  • Project allocation

--> breakout session to get feedback

  • discuss future hardware

Torben explained there will be an internal meeting tomorrow afternoon, to discuss the SNIC User Forum and he will bring the current points up.