Director’s Time

Call for DiRAC Director’s Discretionary proposals

Application deadline 23rd November 2020.

The DiRAC Director will make a number of large discretionary awards of time on two DiRAC services during the period 1st December 2020 – 31st March 2021. In total, approximately 32m core hours are available in this call.

In addition, Research Software Engineering (RSE) projects of up to 3 months’ duration will be considered.

Scope of call:

DiRAC will be able to make a number of large discretionary awards of time on two of our services during the period August 2020-March 2021. Proposals should be ambitious in scope – these awards will be made to proposals of outstanding scientific interest and timeliness and which can demonstrate significant benefit from concurrent access to large numbers of nodes.

All codes used must have undergone a technical review as part of the RAC process. Codes which have not done cannot be considered in this call.

All awarded time must be used by March 31st 2021 and no requests to extend beyond this date will be accepted.

Application process:

Proposals should be submitted using the Discretionary Call application form or the RSE Support application form. The forms are available below:

You must include the application number where the required technical case associated with the software to be used in this application can be obtained. You do not need to resubmit technical information that you have already provided however, you may be asked to provide evidence of the scalability of your codes if you will be using the code at a larger scale than was previously requested.

Assessment process:

Proposals will be reviewed by the Director, the RAC chairs and members of the RAC panels.

Assessment criteria:

Proposals will be assessed according the following criteria:

    1. Scientific impact – 60%
    2. Track record of user/group – 20%
    3. Timeliness/urgency – 20%

Closing date:

Applications should be submitted by e-mail to by 5pm on Monday, 23rd November 2020.

Seedcorn Time

Access to DiRAC is co-ordinated by The STFC’s DiRAC Resource Allocation Committee, which puts out an annual Call for Proposals to request time for a Full Project Allocation and also operates a Seedcorn Time programme.

Seedcorn Time Programme

For researchers who would like to try the DiRAC resources, get a feel for HPC, test codes, benchmark or see what the DiRAC resources can do for you before making a full application for resources, an application can be made for seedcorn time.

Existing users may also apply for seedcorn allocations to enable code development/testing on a service which is not currently part of their project allocation.

You can apply for seedcorn time at any time.

Seedcorn Application

The maximum allocation of seedcorn time will be 100,000 x86 core hours or 1,000 GPU hours or 1,000 KNL node hours. Your hours can be used at any time within three months from the date it is allocated. If you require a larger seedcorn allocation in order to carry out the necessary testing of your code, please contact the DiRAC Director to discuss your requirements.

An overview of the DiRAC hardware resources can be found here.

If you would like to apply please fill in this simple DiRAC Seedcorn application form and send it to

You will need to provide your personal details, the codes that you intend to run and what libraries and tools are required for you to run the code, if known. We also would like to know what you intend to achieve with your allocation and of course which of the four DiRAC systems you would like to use.

You should be able to complete the form in around 15 minutes.

The decision process for Seedcorn applications is streamlined and should take no more that 1 week.

Research Symposium

SuperComputing Wales Research Symposium 2018
13th September
Swansea University

The Swansea Academy of Advanced Computing (SA2C) are hosting this event to bring together the Supercomputing Wales community and give users a forum to showcase their research to the wider HPC community and network with other supercomputing specialists.

Whilst primarily aimed at the Swansea community, this event is open to all DiRAC HPC users who would like to present their research. The event will include research talks, a poster session, and opportunities for discussion about HPC, the Supercomputing Wales project and their SUNBIRD machine.

SAC2 facilitates Swansea researchers in using HPC technologies by enabling access to a HPC computing platform and Research Software Engineers (RSEs) to assist in its use. These resources are funded via the Supercomputing Wales project (SCW).

Registration for this event is via Eventbrite and can be accessed here. The Eventbrite page also has a Preliminary Agenda for the day, which will be updated closer to the event. Accomodation booking on the University Campus is available through Swansea’s DiRAC Day website.

Data Privacy

Data Privacy at DiRAC

At DiRAC we are completely committed to respecting and protecting your data whilst it is in our care. We have strict procedures in place to protect your personal data when you give it to us and we store all your data on UK-based secure servers.

What information do we collect?

You provide some of the information yourself – to register for a training account and the Essentials Level test you need to give us your personal contact details:

  • name;
  • email address;
  • afflilitation.

We collect some information automatically:

  • technical information, like the Internet Protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the internet and your unique identifier;
  • information about your visit, including the URL clickstream to, through and from our training site, pages you viewed and length of visits to certain pages.

What do we do with your information?

We use the information you provide to improve the DiRAC training experience for you and for everyone. That includes:

  • notifying you about things you have asked as about, such as internal or external training opportunities and events that might be useful to you;
  • notifying you of test results;
  • getting in touch if we need to tell you about something, like a change to our policies;
  • using the technical information about your visit to iterate and adjust our training offering (by looking at things like which pages are most popular compared to those which receive very little traffic etc.)

Information we receive that is not classified as personal data, such as that from the survey at the end of the Essentials Level Test is shared only internally with our small training team and used solely to improve our training offering. Any personal information that could identify you is removed or changed before any analysis is carried out.

Do we share your information with other organisations?

  • we only use your information to improve your experience. We do not share your information with any external organisations unless you give us your permission to share it, for example, with other training organisations or HPC-Special Interest Groups.

In exceptional circumstances, we might share your information without your permission if we reasonably believe you might be breaking the law, for example using hate speech on one of our forums, and such disclosure is allowed under the relevant laws, including the data protection law.

How long do we keep your information?

  • we will only hold your personal contact information for a period of three years from the date you give it to us, for example when you register for either a training account or for the Essentials Level test. While your information is with us, it is stored on UK-based secure servers;
  • we may close your account if you havnt used it in a long time. We’ll always send you an email to tell you that we plan to do this before we delete anything.

You will always be asked to consent to us storing your data, and you can withdraw that consent, or request that your data is deleted at any time by emailing DiRAC Support.

Keep your login credentials secure. If you have any reason to suspect these have been compromised, you should either Contact Us or change them immediately.

Core IT Technologies Workshop

This one-day workshop on Core IT Technologies for Research Computing will explore how to use new technologies to innovate and create new services. It is being held at University College London on 26th April 2018.

You can register for the event using this link and a full set of slides will be available here after the event.

Workshop on Core Technologies for Research Computing
26th April 2018


Are you struggling to understand how to use new technologies to innovate and create new services? So that we can understand principles and detailed device characteristics a one day a workshop is being held at UCL to tackle these issues.

The workshop is aimed at:

  • System managers and system administrators
  • systems designers
  • academic staff
  • Data Intensive Science PhD students
  • Research Software Engineers

The main outputs will be

  • an understanding (and refreshment) of data movement principles and issues intra-PU to internet
  • How principles are applied to real systems
  • A briefing on the latest technologies
  • Networking and further discussions/followups

The workshop is not designed to replace local briefings of those of national events, but rather to develop the praxis of designing, delivering and running these types of systems so that as many people as possible are able to use principles and community knowledge to innovate in their respective areas.


Organiser: Dr Jeremy Yates
Time: 10.00am – 16.00pm

1000-1030 Coffee

1030-1130 Introduction to Principles of Data Movement in Computer Systems – just what is a computer system?

1130-1230 An Example of Data Intensive Systems – the Cambridge Service for Data Driven Discovery and an introduction to Data Hardware

1230-1315 Lunch

1315-1345 Examples of Industrial Applications of these Technologies

1345-1430 The Interconnect – Connecting Nodes to Nodes, Nodes to Data and Data to Data

1430-1500 The Processing Units – GPUs

1500-1530 The Processing Units – Power

1530-1600 The Processing Units – Arm

1600 Refreshments


Room G22, Pearson Building (North East Entrance), UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT.

Data Visualisation Course

Hands-on Introduction to Data Visualisation
13th & 14th September
Swansea University

Swansea University are hosting a stand-alone training course on Data Visualisation to run on the 13th and 14th September. The event will provide delegates with a concise introduction to the art and science of applied data visualisation and has no technical skill or knowledge pre-requisites.

The 2-day course will be co-located with the 36th annual Computer Graphics, Visualization, and Visual Computing (CGVC) gathering, also being held at Swansea University on the 13th and 14th September.

Course Description

Delivered through an energetic blend of teaching, interactive exercises and step-by-step software tutorials, delegates will learn about the most effective techniques for visually analysing and communicating data. The emphasis of the training is hands-on applications, providing attendees with a kick-start to applied data visualisation. You will leave with an enhanced appreciation of the many different practical and creative choices, broadening your visual vocabulary and inspiring you to feel more confident when faced with future challenges.

Swansea Academy of Advanced Computing

Who is This Training For?
This training workshop is ideal for anyone who has a responsibility for or is interested learning new tools for the visual analysis and communication of data. This includes analysts, statisticians, researchers, those working in marketing and finance, or local government professionals. It should also appeal to those in creative roles such as designers and developers, looking to increase the rigour of their data-related work. There are no technical skills or knowledge pre-requisites. The session will introduce technology and introduce new specific tools. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop and participate actively in the hands-on tutorials which will be taught step-by-step.

Tools discussed: Tableau, D3, TBA


Registration for this event is available via Swansea University’s dedicated Computer Graphics Visualisation, and Visual Computing (CGVC) 2018 gathering website, here. Please download the registration form and in the section entitled ‘Participation’ select ‘Training Only’, then follow the instructions to submit the form. The cost of the course is £100, to be paid at registration.


Accommodation booking on the University Campus is available through Swansea’s DiRAC Day website.

Resource Allocation Committee

DiRAC makes an annual Call for Proposals and the Resource Allocation Committee (RAC) was established by the STFC to oversee time allocation.  The RAC has two sub-panels, one for Particle Physics & Nuclear Physics and one for Astronomy and Cosmology, each of which consider the proposals within their respective remits.

A RAC meeting with representatives from both sub-panels then determines the overall allocation of DiRAC time across the whole portfolio of proposals.

Astronomy/Cosmology Sub-Panel

TitleNameHost Institute
ProfAndrew Pontzen (Chair)University College London
DrRobert Crain (Deputy Chair)Liverpool John Moores University
DrRowan SmithUniversity of Manchester
DrHeather RatcliffeUniversity of Warwick
DrCeline GuervillyUniversity of Newcastle
DrIngo Mueller-WodargImperial College London
DrClare DobbsUniversity of Exeter
DrKaty CloughOxford University
DrDimitris StamatellosUniversity of Central Lancashire

 Particle Physics/Nuclear Theory Sub-Panel

TitleNameHost Institute
DrAntonio Rago (Chair)University of Plymouth
ProfDavid CollingImperial College London
DrChristopher BouchardUniversity of Glasgow
ProfJacek DobaczewskiUniversity of York
ProfMaurizio PiaiUniversity of Swansea
DrAntonin PortelliUniversity of Edinburgh

The STFC Resource Allocation Committee 10th Call Meeting (26th February 2018).

For more information on the RAC please email the Project Office.

Project Allocations

DiRAC serves more than 35 projects with over 400 active users.  Our community is diverse and encompasses Particle Physics, Astrophysics, cosmology, solar system science and Nuclear Physics. Together their research addresses all the STFC Science Challenges. The featured photo in the header above shows the CSD3 Peta4 CPU/KNL cluster which provides our Data Intensive@Cambridge Service.

The 12th Call for Proposals closed on 1st October 2019, with Allocations being awarded from the 1st April 2020.  The 13th Call will open in Spring 2020.

The awards allocated in the 11th Call (closed) are available below.

11th Call Results: Compute Time and Storage Allocated

After each Call has been concluded, we publish the compute time allocated to each project, in terms of CPU-Mhours on the DiRAC Resource on which the calculations are to be run, as well as the Storage Space [TB] allocated. In DiRAC we have three compute services based at four sites and due to the different architectures on each Service, the CPU-Mhours awarded to projects using different services may not be directly comprable.

Current Allocations at 1st May 2019: