Research PortalResources for Research Groups (RRG) Competition

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Competition Opens Submission Deadline
September 24, 2019 November 7, 2019, 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time
Extension of this deadline is not possible.

The Resources for Research Groups (RRG) Competition is a peer-reviewed competition created to enable faculty members, and their sponsored research groups, to access compute and storage resources beyond what can be obtained via the Rapid Access Service. For more information about Compute Canada’s Resource Allocation Competitions, please click here.

Please read this year’s guide carefully.  If you have questions, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. If you have questions about the terminology, please consult the Compute Canada Technical Glossary.

If you have additional questions, please contact us at rac@computecanada.ca.

Table of Contents

Eligibility
Submission Procedures & Deadlines
Application Form
Allocation Process
Questions & Additional Information
Appendix A: Scientific Evaluation Criteria
Appendix B: Scoring Criteria
Appendix C: Privacy Policy

Eligibility

This competition is open to researchers from all disciplines based at Canadian academic institutions who are eligible to apply for funding from the federal granting agencies.

Fast Track

A Fast Track process is available (by invitation only) for users with existing RRG allocations who meet specific criteria. You can find more information on the eligibility criteria, here.

Only eligible Principal Investigators (PIs) will receive an invitation by email to Fast Track. This email will be sent in early September 2019.  Fast Track applications are due October 24, 2019, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (Extension of this deadline is not possible).

If you believe you meet the eligibility criteria, yet did not receive an invitation to Fast Track, please email rac@computecanada.ca

Co-PIs and Collaborators

In the context of this competition, Co-PIs are any co-lead investigators in your project with a Compute Canada account. Note that both the PI (Principal Investigator) and any Co-PI listed in an application must upload an updated CCV with their application (see CCV Requirement section.) International investigators or colleagues without a Compute Canada account can be listed as “collaborators” at the discretion of the PI.

Minimum Request

Only applications needing more than the amounts listed below will be accepted:

  • CPU>=50* Core years, OR
  • GPUs >= 10 GPU years, OR
  • Project storage>= 10 TBs, OR
  • Nearline storage >= 10 TB, OR
  • Persistent cloud storage >= 10 TB, OR
  • Compute Cloud>=80 vCPUs, OR
  • Persistent Cloud >= 10 VCPUs

*If you require <50 core years but high memory per core, please use the following formula to calculate the Core Equivalent to know whether you should submit an application or use Rapid Access Service for your compute needs.

Core Equivalent =MAX(cores, mem requested / 4GB)
Mem requested = CY* mem per core requested

For more information about compute allocations, core equivalent and scheduling prioritization, please visit this page.  If you have additional questions email rac@computecanada.ca.

Please note that Compute Canada resources are limited; therefore, applications are scaled based on supply and demand. Please refer to the Appendix at the end of this Guide for the RRG Evaluation Criteria and scoring matrix.

If your resource needs are less than the limits mentioned above, you should use Compute Canada’s Rapid Access Service and should not submit a RRG application.

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Submission Procedures & Deadlines

Proposals must be submitted electronically through the CCDB no later than November 7, 2019 at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that the application is complete, with all additional documentation uploaded, and that there is no discrepancy between the application document and the online form.

Following the review process, applicants will be informed regarding the status of their applications via e-mail in Spring 2020.

Pre-submission Consultations

Applicants are encouraged to consult with the Compute Canada technical staff prior to submitting a proposal by emailing rac@computecanada.ca.

Note: If you are applying for the first time to this competition, we strongly encourage you to consult with us prior to submitting your application.

Consultations should happen prior to October 31, 2019, to allow adequate time for support by Compute Canada technical staff.

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Online Application Form

All applications to the RRG Competition are submitted online via the CCDB (Compute Canada Database). Users must log in using an existing Compute Canada account or register for a new account.

CCV Requirement

An up-to-date Canadian Common CV (CCV) is required for the scientific review process of all RAC applications and is also important for Compute Canada’s reporting to our funders. Please consult the CCV Submission Guide for further instructions.

The PI and all co-PIs are required to:

  • Upload an up-to-date CCV with any RAC application.
  • Report publications enabled by your use of Compute Canada resources.

The PI can view in the online RAC application the date in which any CCV linked to the application was last uploaded and whether any action is required.

Please plan ahead to avoid delays or the risk of missing the submission deadline due to this requirement. Deadline extensions due to missing CCVs are not possible.

Requesting Resources

Remember to fill in the online application form with all of your requests. There should be no discrepancies between what you request in the document attached to your application and what you request in the online form.  In case of discrepancy, the online form will prevail.

Please visit the Available Resources page to see the list of systems available for this competition and to understand how resources must be requested in the online form.

Application Document

Please use the following templates for the required document that must be submitted with your online application. This document MUST be submitted in .pdf format.

Important: Page limits will be enforced. Applications exceeding the maximum page limit allowed will be automatically withdrawn from the competition and not evaluated. Details about page limits are included in the first page of the application template below—please read the instructions carefully.

Download Template (Word) Download Template (LaTeX)

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Allocation Process

The overall allocation process follows these stages:

  1. Compute Canada Technical staff review each proposal.
  2. An Expert Review Committee evaluates each proposal, and each proposal receives multiple independent scientific reviews.
  3. Expert Review Committees meet to discuss the applications and gives a final science score on a 5-point scale.
  4. The Chairs of the Expert Review Committees endorse a scaling function based on the science score. That scaling function is applied to all compute requests.
Technical Review

The technical review is conducted by Compute Canada staff who will:

  • ensure the appropriate system is requested by the PI and the required software is available;
  • evaluate application efficiency and scalability;
  • identify groups that may need help with application and workflow optimization;
  • identify discrepancies between the online request and the complete description of the project;
  • identify special software requirements;
  • provide a technical opinion on the reasonableness of the request.

Note: During the technical review process, staff may require additional information from applicants and will engage them directly. In order to ensure an application can progress beyond the Technical Review, applicants are expected to respond to requests from the Compute Canada technical team within 48 hours of the request.

Technical reviewers are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to accessing any RAC application.

Science Review

All applications submitted to the Compute Canada Resource Allocation Competitions are peer-reviewed and scored. Please note that the main purpose of this review process is to:

  1. Obtain expert opinion about the overall scientific merit and feasibility of the proposed research project(s);
  2. Evaluate the appropriateness of the requested resources for the research project(s);
  3. Provide feedback to the applicants.

The main outcome of this process is an overall score for each application. These scores are used to scale and determine the final allocations to ensure fairness and effective use of Compute Canada resources.

Please refer to the Appendix at the end of this Guide for the RRG Evaluation Criteria.

A scaling function, endorsed by the Chairs of the Expert Review Committees, is applied to compute requests to provide a means by which decisions on RAC allocations in a context of insufficient capacity can be made. For the RAC 2019, this function was set so that only applications with a science score of 2.3 or higher received an allocation.  Visit the 2019 Resource Allocations Competition Results page for more details about the scaling function and other RAC stats.

We understand that some applicants may have already undergone an evaluation through the various granting councils. It is not the goal of this review process to evaluate and score a PI’s complete research program as an overlap to what the granting agencies have done. Rather, the goal is to determine how to accommodate such projects as best as possible given the limited resources available.

Scientific reviewers are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and accept Compute Canada’s Conflict of Interest Policy prior to accessing any RAC application.

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Questions & Additional Information

For any questions on the RRG Competition, please contact us at rac@computecanada.ca.

You may also wish to consult our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page or the Compute Canada Technical Glossary.

For more information about other Compute Canada Resource Allocation Competitions, please see our main Resource Allocation Competitions page

Feel free to  also contact your regional support team:

ACENET:

support@ace-net.ca

Calcul Québec:

support@calculquebec.ca

Compute Ontario:

CAC: cac.help@queensu.ca

SciNet: support@scinet.utoronto.ca

SHARCNET: help@sharcnet.ca

HPC4Health*: info@hpc4health.ca

WestGrid:

rac@westgrid.ca

* In 2020, there will be a pilot for allocations of a cluster provided by HPC4Health. Prior to an allocation implementation, users will make the following agreements with University Health Network (UHN), who will be acting on behalf of HPC4Health to onboard any projects:

1. Users agree to not to act as a health information network provider under the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), i.e., not use the services to share the data to collaborators or through the web.

2. Users will sign a collaboration agreement with UHN.

3. Users will use two factor authentication to log in to the services.

Pre-consultation with HPC4Health is required in order for an allocation request to be considered. Contact info@hpc4health.ca to arrange a consultation.

It is expected that up to 10 allocations will be made on the HPC4Health cluster. Non-allocated (i.e., RAS or “default”) is not planned. Because this is a pilot, user groups are encouraged to consider how the HPC4Health resource may integrate with workflows and research programs. Service configuration will be as per Compute Canada standards (Slurm, CVMFS) OR by request specific technical configurations could also be entertained.  Availability and support is not yet fully determined, and may change during the allocation year but the platform is anticipated to be supported to the same degree as other host sites.

 

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Appendix A: Scientific Evaluation Criteria

The evaluation criteria for RRG applications are divided into two categories:  Merit of the Proposal and Quality of the Team.

The most effective applications directly address the questions that matter most in this competition: what is going to be computed, why, and how, as well as why large-scale CPU, memory and/or other resources requested are critical for the success of the project(s).

Merit of the Proposal (60%)

Considerations for the evaluation of the Merit of the Proposal  include:

Research Plan
  • The research problem is clearly presented.
  • The research area of focus is of importance and will generate benefits to Canada.
  • The proposed research program is ambitious, feasible and is likely to have an impact by leading to groundbreaking advances in the research area and/or leading to a technology or policy that addresses socio-economic or environmental needs.
  • The overall goal and objectives of the project are well-defined and clear, and they state what the project is ultimately expected to achieve.
  • Key milestones and deliverables are clearly described, are aligned with the objectives of the project, and are feasible.
Methodology
  • The application describes appropriate tools, methods and approaches for addressing the research objectives. These methodologies may be community codes or models, data analysis methods, or algorithmic formulations expressed in user-developed scripts or tools.
Expected Outcomes
  • The application presents anticipated outcomes and indicates the means by which these will be measured.
  • The proposed project outputs (i.e., the anticipated results of the project) and impact are clearly described, are aligned to the objectives, are of relevance and are realistic and attainable.
Resource Justification
  • Resources requested from Compute Canada are well justified and deemed reasonable to achieve the project objectives.
  • The application describes necessary and sufficient computational experiments to answer the research questions posed.
  • A clear strategy for effective use of resources is outlined in the Management Plan.

Quality of the Team (40%)

This criteria evaluates the combined expertise of the Team as a whole, which includes the Principal Investigator (PI) and, if applicable, Co-PIs and any Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) actively participating in the project.

The nature, breadth and depth of the applicants’ (PI and, if applicable, co-PIs) experiences and contributions should be assessed in the context of their career stages. Expert Review Committee members must not impart, refer to or consider information about the applicants that does not appear in the provided Canadian Common CV (CCV).

HQP includes all research personnel involved in the applicant’s research program, whether from academia, government, or industry. The number of HQP using Compute Canada resources directly is expected to be appropriate to the scope of the project.

Information about each team member (PI, Co-PIs, HQP) should be described in the Management Plan.

Note: It is not mandatory that an application includes Co-PIs or HQP to obtain the full Team score. However, the proposed research must be achievable by the listed team members, particularly if it is only one PI.

Considerations for the evaluation of the Quality of the Team include:

Research and Computational Expertise
  • The Team demonstrates the combined expertise and experience needed to execute the project, i.e., deliver the proposed outputs as well as achieve the proposed contribution(s).
  • The Team shows sufficient computational expertise to make effective and efficient use of the resources requested.
Management Plan
  • A solid management structure is in place to ensure that the project will be successfully completed.
  • The roles and responsibilities of the PI and Co-PIs, if applicable, are clearly described with respect to making efficient use of Compute Canada resources and linked to the objectives of the project (Co-PIs contribute to the Team score in accordance with their involvement).

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Appendix B: Scoring Matrix

Descriptor Range Definition
Excellent 4.0-5.0 The application excels in most or all relevant aspects of the review criteria. Any shortcomings are minimal.
Good 3.0-3.9 The application excels in many relevant aspects of the review criteria and reasonably addresses all others. Certain improvements are possible.
Fair 2.0-2.9 The application excels in some relevant aspects of the review criteria and reasonably addresses all others. Some improvements are necessary.
Poor 1.0-1.9 The application broadly addresses relevant aspects of the review criteria. Considerable improvements or revisions are required.
Insufficient 0-0.9 The application fails to provide convincing information and/or has serious inherent flaws or gaps.

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Appendix C: Privacy Policy

Confidentiality of Information

Compute Canada safeguards the information it receives from applicants. All reviewers are required to sign a Non-Disclosure agreement and accept Compute Canada’s Conflict of Interest policy. They are instructed to keep all proposal information confidential and to use it only for review purposes. All proposals are available for review by all Compute Canada reviewers and the RAC Administrative Committee.

Use of Personal Information

Any personal information collected by Compute Canada is used only to review applications. Such information may be shared with relevant officials in the relevant consortium and/or with their research institution.

Public Information

If approved for an allocation, Compute Canada will post the following project information on our website:

Full name of the lead PI
Department/Institution/Organization
Platform or Portal Title
Project Summary
Allocation

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