In today's digitised world, software has become an indispensable tool that everyone uses every day on their phone, computer or in the cloud. Scientists are no exception. They rely on software to drive open science, to support new discoveries in bioinformatics and personal healthcare, or to harness artificial intelligence. Often they have to use software on many different devices, including on advanced technology provided by supercomputers. However, many researchers struggle to get started, because installing scientific software can be a challenge in itself.
The MultiXscale project will help revolutionise the way scientific software is used on computer systems by co-developing the service EESSI (European Environment for Scientific Software Installations, www.eessi-hpc.org). EESSI goes beyond conventional software installation in terms of performance, simplicity and efficiency. In fact, it builds software installations optimized for modern computer architectures and streams them to machines anywhere in the world in near real-time. This is similar to popular streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, where users can choose from a huge collection of videos or songs.
To demonstrate the capabilities of EESSI, the MultiXscale project will pursue three pilot applications of societal and industrial importance: helicopter design and certification for civil transport, battery applications to support the sustainable energy transition, and ultrasound for non-invasive diagnostics and biomedical applications.
EESSI is a game changer for developers, system administrators and, most importantly, the users. Developers don't have to manage complex software installations. System administrators benefit from greatly increased collaboration by collectively maintaining only one shared software catalogue. Finally, researchers never have to think about installing software again, but rather use it in the same way on any machine.
The MultiXscale Centre of Excellence will increase performance, productivity and portability (“the Three P's”) across the entire spectrum of scientists active in the domain of multiscale simulation. It couples the scientific expertise of the CECAM network, represented by leading experts in multiscale simulations from different European institutions, with the technical expertise of the European Environment for Scientific Software Installations (EESSI) collaboration, and targets the computational laboratories of EuroHPC and beyond. It will shoulder much of the technical burden of developing and distributing domain-relevant applications for (pre-)exascale through application co-design for exascale technologies, and the provisioning of exascale-oriented libraries and services that nudge the community to adopt battle-tested, future-oriented, scalable workflows and portable technologies. MultiXscale will pursue three pilot use cases of societal and industrial significance:
- helicopter design and certification for civil transport,
- battery applications to support the sustainable energy transition,
- ultrasound for non-invasive diagnostics and biomedical applications.
University of Bergen (UiB) contributes to the EESSI collaboration since early 2020, and thereby has gained in-depth knowledge of the technical solution developed by EESSI. As a key partner in Norwegian research infrastructure services (NRIS), UiB jointly operates national HPC resources in Norway and provides support to researchers on HPC resources. In the MultiXscale project UiB will help in continuing the development of the technical solution, prepare and conduct trainings, and support users. UiB's tasks are aligned very well with both our knowledge of HPC technologies including the implementation of EESSI and the needs of the users of the national research e-infrastructure in Norway. Through MultiXscale, we hope to provide users with a uniform easy-to-use software environment across all HPC systems.