NERSCPowering Scientific Discovery Since 1974

2012 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NOTE: This is historical content. It may include references to programs, people, and research no longer active at Berkeley Lab.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 DOE Office of Science.

All current 2011 NERSC projects (including startup, education, and ALCC projects) must be renewed for 2012 in order to continue using NERSC.

The deadline for submitting 2012 NERSC proposals is Friday, September 23, 2011, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Please note that if you have received a 2011 award since September 23 you should put in a 2012 renewal despite the deadline.

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 January 2012. New startup requests awarded after June 2011 may be renewed for 2012 after the September 23 deadline.

2012 allocations are for period January 10, 2012, through January 7, 2013.

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 See Help for the ERCAP Allocations 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 PI.

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 2012?

  1. MPP hours allocated: 
    1.1 billion MPP hours will be allocated in allocation year 2012.  80% of the allocation (880 million hours) will be allocated by the six DOE offices of science; the remaining time is for ALCC (ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge) allocations and for the NERSC Director's reserve. The following MPP resources are included in this allocation:
    • Hopper, our Cray XE6 system with 153,216 computational cores
    • Franklin, our Cray XT4 system with 38,288 computational cores
    • Carver, our IBM iDataPlex system with 5,120 computational cores
    • Euclid, our 48 core Sun Sunfire analytics server
    Note that Carver will be larger in 2012: an additional 1,920 computational cores will be added to the current 3,200 cores.  These additional cores are coming from the Magellan cloud testbed.
  2. Ability to change your project image:
    Check your current project image on the Project Overview section (Q.4.1).  In many cases NERSC has selected an image for you and you may wish to replace it.  It is best to use a square image (one that has the same number of pixels on both sides).
  3. Public Project Description:
    NERSC is occasionally asked to describe the science goals and accomplishments it supports to wide ranging non-technical audiences. Please summarize in 1-2 short paragraphs the high level goals behind
    your research and their impacts on people, the environment, the economy, etc.
  4. Refereed Publications:
    You may no longer include submitted publications in this section, only publications that are accepted, in press, or published in journals. You may include submitted publications in Q. 18.2, Other Publications.


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. See Eligibility.

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 Policies Form. Once this is done the Account Support group will notify the new PI of their NIM login name and password.  See Applying for your First NERSC Allocation.

Accessing the ERCAP Allocations 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 and if you have already set up the answers to your Security Questions, you can get a new password by following the link on the NIM login page: - Forgot your NIM password?
Otherwise, since we do not send passwords via email, you will need to call the Account  Support Office at 1-800-66-NERSC menu option 2, or 1-510-486-8612..

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.

See ERCAP Allocation 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.