Project-Based Management of Resources of the RWTH Compute Cluster


The IT Center has been operating high-performance computers for several decades, which support the institutions and employees of RWTH Aachen University in research and teaching. All members of RWTH Aachen University have free access to the RWTH Compute Cluster. However, resources are limited, as demand is typically higher than supply, and due to special requirements defined by funding agencies.

With the establishment of the JARA-HPC partition, consisting of high-performance and supercomputer resources at Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University, a scientific allocation process for computing time was introduced at RWTH Aachen University in 2012. The joint allocation process in the JARA-HPC partition and the allocation procedure introduced in 2014 for the resoures managed by RWTH is still in place. It is in line with the recommendations of the Gauß-Allianz (de) for the establishment of nationally coordinated application and approval procedures. The process of requesting computing time is shown in Fig. 1.


Figure 1: Chart of the application and approval process for HPC resources
Source: Recommendations of the Gauß-Allianz

Apply for Computing Time

The scope of the applications to be submitted and the scope for the evaluation, concerning, for example, the number and status of reviewers involved, depend on the volume of the computing time requested. The following table provides an overview of the different project types – each comes with a different application process. For the specific framework conditions and project type characteristics, please refer to the technical documentation. The table shows the corresponding 2016 and 2018 phases for CLAIX as C-2016/C-2018.


The most important track is JARA-HPC for large-scale computing projects (currently from 2.4 million core-h per year) conducted by researchers from Aachen and Jülich. The allocation process for computing resources for large projects of Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH has thus been merged and is supported by the JARDS software. The integrated allocation process makes it easier to provide users with the most suitable platform, which is kept up to date through a coordinated installation process between Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH.

With the start of operation of CLAIX, the "nationwide" line was introduced and thus the desired nationwide availability of Tier 2 centers achieved. Any researcher from a German research organization can submit an application for computing resources. After successful review, with the help of a coupon process, the applicant opens an account in RWTH's IdM system. He or she is able to invite further external individuals to participate in project work on the system.

In addition, small computing contingents for courses and final theses are also allocated on a project-specific basis, under the leadership of the lecturers or supervisors, so that resources can also be reliably provided on the Tier 3 system for this work.

The composition of the awarding committees both in JARA-HPC and for the projects at RWTH well represents the community of users. This means that the awarding committee is composed of scientists from the main disciplines represented on the systems and that these steer the evaluation process.