PRACE - the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe - counts 25 European Members States and Associated Countries as its members. PRACE aims to facilitate excellent research and science in academia and industry with the most powerful supercomputers, to the advantage of society. The first 5 years of PRACE's existence was based on a model in which the four hosting members - France, Germany, Italy, and Spain - opened their leading edge systems to European researchers and scientists, via a peer review process managed by PRACE. The PRACE Council is the highest decision-making body in PRACE. It oversees the Research Infrastructure and sets the policy for access to the resources.
During the 21st PRACE Council Meeting on 22 June 2016 in Frankfurt, Prof. Dr. Ir. Anwar Osseyran of SURF/SURFsara was elected Chair of the PRACE Council, and Dr. Sergi Girona of Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) was elected Vice-Chair.
"In the past two years, we have worked hard to develop a new business model for to make the next phase of PRACE sustainable. The Netherlands have played a key role in this process, and this was reason for the Hosting Members to break with tradition and ask for a Dutch candidate for the position of Chair of the PRACE Council", stated Anwar Osseyran. "My aim as a Vice-Chair is to continue positioning PRACE and its services in Europe, in the global HPC ecosystem, as well as to align with the priorities defined by the Chair of the PRACE Council", added Sergi Girona.
Anwar Osseyran has been active for several years already in PRACE and more generally in HPC and the supercomputing community. His most important goal has been to improve the competitiveness of Europe through advanced IT solutions in the race against the United States and East-Asia. One of his most important tasks as Chair will be to guide PRACE into its next phase. This means that a future-proof model has to be designed in which financing of and access to the top-level Research Infrastructure is guaranteed by all participating countries, based on the principle "who computes will need to contribute". It is expected that France, Germany, Italy and Spain will continue to open their systems to excellent research through this model, as well as that Switzerland will join in the effort and become a Hosting Member as well.
The past years many Dutch researchers and scientists have been successful in obtaining core hours on PRACE member systems. Before they can start using the most powerful systems, their codes need to be scaled and optimised. The availability of Cartesius as national system in the Netherlands, with the dedicated expertise of SURF/SURFsara, is essential to this step. The Netherlands in general and Anwar Osseyran especially, are honoured to take up this role which carries with it a number of important challenges, but which will also help to secure and grow the position of Dutch researchers and scientists and of SURF in Europe.
Sergi Girona, BSC Operations Director, has been involved in PRACE since its earliest beginnings. In 2010, he was member of the Board of Directors of PRACE aisbl and chaired this Board from 2010 until September 2015. In this new role in PRACE aisbl, he will work closely with Prof. Osseyran and complement the duties of the Chair of the PRACE Council.