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Delta Project Team Welcomes Allocation Requests Through ACCESS

An image of Delta cabinets in the NPCF machine room.

The NCSA Delta System.

University of Illinois researchers looking to utilize the National Center for Supercomputing Applications Delta system for their computational needs should consider an allocation through the National Science Foundation’s ACCESS program as their first avenue to entry.

Greg Bauer, senior technical program manager at NCSA and co-PI of the Delta Project, explains why campus researchers may find success by applying for time on Delta through the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Coordination Ecosystem: Services & Support program.

Q: Why should I apply for Delta allocations through a national program? Isn’t it an NCSA and University of Illinois resource?

A: Delta is an advanced computing and data resource housed and supported at NCSA, but it is funded by NSF. Therefore, a full 90% of computing time is allocated through NSF’s ACCESS process.

Q: So I have a greater chance of my application being successful if I go through ACCESS?

A: Generally, yes. There is a lower barrier of entry through ACCESS because only 5% of the time available on Delta is awarded through the Delta Illinois allocation opportunity. This small allocation pool for campus creates a highly competitive award process that we are simplifying as we move toward an allocation award structure similar to ACCESS.

Q: I’m not familiar with the ACCESS allocation process. Is it complicated?

A: ACCESS and our campus application process use the same software, XRAS: Extensible Resource Allocation System. Researchers apply for credits, which are “exchanged” for time on ACCESS resources, so it is pretty simple. ACCESS has four different opportunity types, ranging from small allocation requests to large-scale research, which means getting an allocation has never been easier. The Explore, Discover and Accelerate opportunities are reviewed continuously so you won’t have to wait long. We’ve received great feedback from ACCESS applicants regarding the ease-of-use and quickness of the allocation process.

Q: What if I have additional questions?

A: Our Research Consulting team is happy to help you through this process. NCSA is committed to assisting University of Illinois researchers with their research computing and data needs. Even though applying through ACCESS may be the easier option, NCSA encourages all campus researchers to take advantage of our wide variety of resources and expertise, including Delta and our team.

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