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2011 Call for Proposals for NERSC Resources

NOTE: This is historical content. It may include references to programs, people, and research no longer active at Berkeley Lab. It may also link to web pages that no longer exist or refer to documents no longer available. It is provided as-is.

The Office of Science of the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) solicits proposals for allocations of high performance computing resources at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Proposals must support the mission of the Office of Science.

All current 2010 NERSC projects (including startup and ALCC projects) must be renewed for 2011 in order to continue using NERSC.

The deadline for submitting 2011 NERSC proposals is Thursday, September 23, 2010, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Award decisions for requests submitted before this deadline will be emailed to Principal Investigators and PI Proxies on December 14.

Production requests made after September 23 will be reviewed in late January 2011. New startup requests awarded after August 2010 may be renewed for 2011 after the September 23 deadline.

2011 allocations will be for period January 11, 2011, through January 9, 2012.

Requests to use NERSC resources are submitted via a web form known as the ERCAP (Energy Research Computing Allocations Process) Request Form. ERCAP is accessed through the NERSC Information Management (NIM) system at  For help see the ERCAP Request Form.

In addition, requests to use the NERSC's Parallel Distributed Systems Facility (PDSF) and to renew PDSF projects are part of the ERCAP Form. PDSF allocations, however, are handled separately from ERCAP. Use of the PDSF is restricted to researchers in the high energy physics and nuclear science communities and must be pre-approved. Please do not answer the questions on the PDSF tab if you are not a PDSF user.

If you are renewing your project you must also validate your user list: review and if necessary correct contact and other information for each active user.

What's New for 2011?

  1. MPP hours allocated
    260 million MPP (Cray XT4-equivalent) hours will initially be awarded to DOE production projects at the start of allocation year 2011. The following MPP resources will be included in that initial allocation:
    • Franklin, our Cray XT4 system with 38,288 computational cores
    • Carver, our IBM iDataPlex system with 3,200 computational cores
    • Euclid, our 48 core Sun Sunfire analytics server
    Allocations for the Hopper phase 2 Cray XE6 system (about 150,000 computational cores) will happen later in 2011, after a period of early user ("free") access.
  2. image representing your project
    On the Project Overview tab you may upload an image that represents your project. DOE has asked that we explain in more detail the projects associated with the jobs displayed on the DOE NERSC Dashboard. To do this we are creating web pages for your projects that include an image and project information. Writing your Project Overview (Q. 16.1 on the Project Description tab) in a way suitable for a New York times science article will help us describe your project to a general science audience.
  3. cloud resources
    On the Resources Requested tab you will see an entry for "Cloud". The time your project uses on the magellan queue from Carver gets deducted from the "cloud hours" distributed to your project's cloud repository. This time is not deducted from your MPP allocation. See the Carver queue page.
  4. major conferences
    Also on the Resources Requested page you will see a new question this year asking you to describe the major conferences that will have an impact on your computing needs. This will help the DOE allocation managers (who make award decisions) which projects need more time early in the year before the Hopper phase 2 time is awarded.


NERSC supports research that reflects the mission of DOE's Office of Science. All Principal Investigators funded by the Office of Science may apply for an allocation of NERSC resources. In addition, researchers who aren't directly funded by DOE SC but with projects that are relevant to its mission may also apply to use NERSC resources. Up to seven percent of NERSC's resources may be awarded to relevant projects that aren't directly funded by the Office of Science.

New Principal Investigators

New PIs (who do not have a NERSC login name) must fill out the ERCAP Access Request web form. They must also fill out and fax back NERSC's Computer Use Form. Once this is done the Account Support group will notify the new PI of their NIM login name and password.

Accessing the ERCAP Request Form

The ERCAP request form is accessed from NIM at You log into NIM using your NERSC login name and password. If you have forgotten your NERSC password please contact the Account Support Office at [email protected]

After you have logged into NIM select My ERCAP Requests from the My Stuff pull-down list in the NIM main menu.

The questions on the request form are divided into several sections. Each section is grouped under a tab. When you first renew a previous year's request, or when you first create a new request, you will be in the first tab, called Project Overview. The other tabs are not clickable until you have saved the Project Overview; after which you can click on any tab in any order.

You MUST click the "Save" button at the bottom of each section in order to save your work in that section before selecting another tab.

Note that some of the questions on the Request Form have an help icon (for information) icon associated with then; you can click this icon to get more detailed instructions for that question.

For more help see Help for the ERCAP Allocations Request Form.

Designating proxies to fill out the Request Form

Principal Investigators can designate one or more "PI Proxies" who write the request form for the PI (or in conjunction with the PI). See Overview and Eligibility.


If you need help filling out a request form please contact a NERSC consultant at [email protected]. If you have forgotten your NERSC password please email the Account Support Office at [email protected]