5 Checks & 5 Tips for INCITE
1. Is your research ground-breaking?
INCITE research is game-changing: During the INCITE review, panelists assess the likelihood that your proposed work will contribute significantly to its respective field. INCITE research is also far reaching: Successful candidates are those who are thinking years ahead, or who are seeking answers to fundamental questions that have eluded explanation for years, or even centuries.
2. Does your code scale to large systems?
Successful INCITE candidates have production runs that scale to thousands of cores. Intrepid users should have production runs that typically use at least 8192 cores. On Mira, the number of cores will be significantly higher. In your proposal, you’ll need to show that your production runs will make effective use of a significant portion, in most cases 20% or more, of the ALCF system(s) you request. Include previous large runs or plans for full-machine runs to help illustrate your “computational readiness” for INCITE. Also share your plans for addressing potential bottlenecks.
3. Can you use an INCITE-sized allocation?
The average 2012 INCITE allocation at the ALCF was 27 million compute hours, and the largest award was 63 million.
In addition to time on the ALCF’s Blue Gene/P, Intrepid, in 2013, the ALCF’s new Blue Gene/Q, Mira, will also have production hours for INCITE. You may request time on Intrepid, on Mira, or on both systems. Because the exact number of Mira hours available in 2013 won’t be known until after the INCITE open call ends, researchers who request time on Mira will be asked to provide project plans for each of three possible resource scenarios:
- Scenario 1: ALCF resources of 3 billion Mira core hours available to allocate
- Scenario 2: ALCF resources of 2 billion Mira core hours available to allocate
- Scenario 3: ALCF resources of 768 million Mira core hours available to allocate
The number of hours you request should be based on your best estimate of the time required for each phase of your research plan.
4. Do you have a long-range plan for your science?
In the interest of encouraging far-reaching advances, INCITE encourages multi-year proposals. All proposals must include specific, intermediate milestones to allow for tracking of the project’s progression throughout the duration of the award period.
5. Do you have a path forward for your code and the skill sets on your team to evolve your code?
Successful INCITE teams are engaged with their software and have a coordinated plan for its evolution. Be prepared to explain how you will utilize your code to propel your science forward. You will also need to demonstrate that your project has sufficient personnel resources with the right skill sets to get the job done.
1. Follow proposal instructions carefully
For full consideration, review and follow the INCITE proposal instructions carefully.
2. Write a detailed proposal
INCITE is extremely competitive. Each proposal is reviewed by a panel of leaders in their respective fields (more than half are society or laboratory fellows, department chairs or heads, or center directors). In 2012, 33% of new proposals received allocations. ALCF’s Director of Science, Paul Messina, recommends, “Write your INCITE proposal with the level of detail you would use in a proposal for scientific research in which you were requesting multiple millions of dollars.”
3. Include data about your specific problem, not benchmark runs
Your proposal must include data from runs of the actual science problem you are seeking to solve, or as close to that problem as possible on your code at the time you prepare the proposal. A common mistake made by INCITE applicants is to submit results of benchmark runs that represent science problems other than those specified in the proposal.
4. View the “Preparing for INCITE 2013” informational webinar
Both prospective and returning users are invited to view a recording of a webinar where they can gain tips about the INCITE submission and review processes. To view it, go to: http://anl.adobeconnect.com/p8qgermnx97/
5. Be prepared to sell your story
Your INCITE proposal will include your project narrative. This is your opportunity to describe the significance and impact of your work in terms of the type of “game-changing” science that defines INCITE. Think “big picture” and include how the scientific community, the nation, or the world will benefit from your efforts.