Welcome to CSC!

HPC-Europa experience at CSC

The Finnish CSC - IT Center for Science has been an active partner of all previous HPC-Europa runs. CSC has demonstrated its attractiveness for the European researchers in the previous HPC-Europa2 project and also as one of the PRACE Advanced Training Centres (PATC). Within the framework of the current HPC-Europa3 consortium, we again offer the unique opportunity for all European researchers to get the Nordic experience working in the Finnish universities and their research groups while CSC provides them with computational recourses and other high-quality ICT services. Similarly, the Finnish researchers can apply for a visitor program (Transnational Access, TA) to any of 8 HPC-Europa3 partners’ centres in Europe.

Who we are

We are a center of expertise in ICT and provide ICT expert services for research, education, culture, public administration and enterprises. As a company, CSC is owned by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and the Finnish Higher Education Institutes. We have over 280 employees of more than 10 different nationalities. Our offices are located in Espoo's Keilaniemi business area (just 10 km west of the Helsinki City Centre!) and in the Renforsin Ranta business park in Kajaani, where CSC’s datacentre operates.

Photos: Thinkstock    

Besides the national context, we are actively working with the establishment of a sustainable distributed European e-Infrastructure through participation in a number of EC funded initiatives. CSC provides internationally competitive supercomputing, data and communication services as well as pioneers in information technologies for research. CSC encompasses a uniquely wide Research Infrastructure for computational science: supercomputing facilities, data storage techniques, scientific applications, and a national Finnish university and research network (FUNET). Please read more about us.

What we offer to visitors

If you are a European-based academic or industrial researcher of any level, from a postgraduate student to the most senior researcher, and working on non-proprietary research in any field of science, which can make use of world-class computing facilities, we can offer you:

  • to stay in Finland at least for 313 weeks;
  • to join and to collaborate with one of the Finnish host-labs, which are mostly universities’ research groups specialized in various scientific disciplines;
  • to get full remote access to the most powerful HPC and data facilities at CSC and to grant the relevant amount of computing time required by your project;
  • to get personal support within normal operation of CSC’s experts qualified both in IT skills and scientific expertise (this means that HPC-Europa3 is suitable even for researchers with little or no experience in HPC!);
  • to participate in training courses given by CSC and to have full access to excellent study material including on-line courses;
  • to get personal day-to-day support of CSC’s HPC-Europa3 local team, which deals with all your logistical, administrative and financial matters before, during and after your visit;
  • and of course, our exceptional gift CSC TA Visitor Guide, which contains visit’s in-depth information and all practicalities and which will be posted to you in advance, before your visit to Finland.    

Visit Finland

You may be wondering what Finland is like. Who are these Finns and what are they like? How do they live, and what are they interested in? What are they doing when they're not playing ice hockey? HERE you can find answers about Finland you cannot find in books! We welcome you to become a friend of Finland!  

The accommodation during the visit should be arranged in cooperation between the visitor and his/her research group (host). Unfortunately, CSC does not have guest houses for the visitors. The hosts usually have possibility to reserve university’s guest houses or similar hotels for you. Also, renting an apartment is a good option, especially for longer visits.

Host-Labs network

CSC aims at facilitating mobility of the researchers by granting full remote access to the computational and data facilities for scientists visiting CSC and Finnish universities under the HPC-Europa3 project. We are also prepared to host visiting scientists in our main premises in Espoo with full access to the facilities, although visits directly into university groups are preferred since this gives the best opportunity for close scientific collaboration. There are many suitable university groups in Finland for hosting a visit.

CSC serves all Finnish universities and their research groups, and we have about 4000 active users of our computational infrastructure. All of these groups are eligible to be HPC-Europa3 hosts. CSC has very close customer contacts to the leading-edge research groups, who have expressed their support for the HPC-Europa projects. You are welcome to use your existing contacts in Finland or ask CSC for assistance in finding other suitable hosts.

A typical visitor will spend most of the visit at a Finnish research group, and will possibly make shorter visits to CSC (e.g., Day of Arrival Program, mid-term and final visits). The Finnish host assists you scientifically and technically and CSC provides you with helpdesk service and expert and administrative support during the visit.

Resources for visitors

CSC’s computing platforms include systems for high-performance and high-throughput computing as well as cloud computing. Currently, our Cray XC40 supercomputer Sisu is the most powerful system in Finland and one of the most powerful in Northern Europe. Sisu is targeted for massively parallel applications that can effectively run on hundreds to thousands of compute cores in parallel. For serial and small parallel workloads there is a cluster system called Taito, an HP Apollo SL230a/SL230s Supercluster. There are also several large-memory (1.5 TB) nodes for jobs requiring a large amount of memory as well as a set of Nvidia GPUs: 104 latest-generation P100 cards and some tens of earlier generation (K80, K40) GPUs. The cloud service cPouta is a commodity ("plain-vanilla") cloud resembling a user experience similar to commercial IaaS clouds, with a difference of being based on high-performance hardware, as it is provisioned from the Taito system.

Cray XC40 supercomputer Sisu. Photo: Samuli Saarinen

Additionally, CSC provides general solutions for data storage, management and analysis needs. For the scientific users, long-term storage capacity is offered. The main components of the CSC data environment are: a Lustre file system visible to all computing servers, HPC archive storage system, and a relational database service (kaivos.csc.fi). The data environment of CSC is mainly intended for analysing and processing scientific data.

CSC offers a layer of applications tuned to work seamlessly in the CSC environment. CSC provides a selection of about 200 scientific software and 50 databases. The supported applications include both public domain codes and commercially licensed software. From the latter, CSC provides, e.g., DiscoveryStudio and MaterialsStudio, Ansys and Abaqus packages for computational engineering, Gaussian and Turbomole for quantum chemistry, the mathematical software Matlab, and ArcGIS geographical information system. These are supplemented with support services, such as training, maintenance and courses. Here is the full information on the HPC infrastructure services at CSC to help you to choose resources for your approved project.

Also, an access to CSC’s training program is granted with the same conditions as for Finnish researchers. In all respects the visitors under this project will be offered the same services as researchers at Finnish universities. Please have a look at the CSC’s Calendar for courses and events and register on-line for any courses taking place during your visit. 

Visitors’ support

Don’t worry! The CSC HPC-Europa3 team deals the visitor with all logistical, administrative, research, technical and financial matters. Also, a local Transnational Access Visit Coordinator is assigned at CSC to provide day-to-day support and assistance to the visitor making the visit as efficient as possible.

If your application for an HPC-Europa3 visit to a Finnish host-lab is approved by the Selection Panel, you will receive an e-mail notification and an official letter by post. The CSC TA Visit Coordinator will contact you and your host and send you all practical information (CSC’s TA Visitor Guide) and instructions on how to organize your visit. We will be always able to help you during your visit preparations. A few weeks before your visit we also will send you instructions on how to get a user account on CSC’s computing servers.

Important! Please just make sure you have adequate health insurance to cover your visit. Kela – the Social Insurance Institution of Finland – is a provider of social security benefits for all residents of Finland.

Visitors from Finland

Finland-based researchers may also apply for HPC-Europa3 visits to research institutes associated with any of the other 8 HPC centres offering TA visits. Finnish visitors have access to the HPC facilities at the associated HPC-Europa3 partner site and receive consultancy and support from staff there.

Why host an HPC-Europa3 visit?

Later, we will provide special local pages for research groups in Finland who would be interested in developing or strengthening collaborative links with fellow European researchers. Researchers from any university in Finland can host an HPC-Europa3 visit from a researcher working in a group in another European country.

HPC-Europa3 provides an excellent opportunity for hosts to establish links with European research groups outside Finland with related research interests. Visits may result in joint publications started during the visit, reciprocal visits and longer-term collaborations, e.g. through joint research grants.

If you are a Professor of or working with a department in Finland which has not signed up as a host but would like to, please send an email to staff (at) hpc-europa.org and the project will process your request. 

Useful links

Contact us

In general questions please contact the European coordinators of HPC-Europa3 Transnational Access Programme at staff (at) hpc-europa.org.

For questions and other topics related to visiting Finland under HPC-Europa3 please contact following persons at CSC:

HPC-Europa3 Local Project Manager, CSC
Pekka Manninen
pekka.manninen (at) csc.fi

HPC-Europa3, Member of the Management Board, CSC
Atte Sillanpää
atte.silanpaa (at) csc.fi

HPC-Europa3 Local TA Visit Coordinator, CSC
Marina Bouianov
marina.bouianov (at) csc.fi