National Centre for HPC, Big Data and Quantum Computing

Spoke 2: Fundamental Research & Space Economy.

IASF Palermo contributes to the Spoke 2 of the National Centre for HPC, Big Data and Quantum Computing, where INAF is co-leader.

The National Research Centre in High Performance Computing, Big Data and Quantum Computing (CN), managed by the ICSC Foundation, is one of the five National Centres established under the NRRP National Recovery and Resilience Plan, dedicated to five areas identified as strategic for the development of the Country. The activities in Spoke 2 “Fundamental Research and Space Economy” focus on boosting the science capabilities of current and future science initiatives, using the opportunities that NRRP in general and the CN in particular offer in the next three years.

Science, and in particular science at the frontier of knowledge, is becoming more and more a computing intensive discipline. Current and next-generation experiments show processing and data needs comparable with the top global players and need a stack of solutions which are not typical of the curriculum of scientists. The trend has indeed started more than 15 years ago, with the development of solutions needed to satisfy the science of Collider Physics; since then, similar needs have been documented in other scientific domains, with Astroparticle physics showing by the end of the 2020s similar if not larger resource deployments.

The activities in the “Fundamental Research & Space Economy” Spoke will be cast within the context of state-of-the-art research in basic science, and, in particular, of the domains of theoretical and experimental physics with accelerators and with space- and ground-based detectors for astroparticle physics and gravitational wave investigations. Within different time scales, all of these areas have or will have to face problems regarding the scaling and efficiency of computing infrastructures. These areas demand a scaling of the computing infrastructures and an improvement in efficiency. The Spoke intends to address these needs designing, developing and testing solutions apt to the current and next-generation experiments. In addition, the Spoke activities aim at demonstrating that the same set of solutions are of value in domains outside the bounds of basic science and of the specific research use cases. Spoke 2 plan to address at least two specific situations:

  • The handling of data and processing in the context of the Space Economy Italian Strategy, including the handling and processing of data from the Mirror Copernicus program, by fostering the conditions to enable radically innovative services;
  • The seeding of similar solutions in the productive context, with industry-research shared testbeds and proofs of concept; this will cover the productive domains in which data and processing resources need to be geographically dispersed, need a secure and granular solution for the data access, and experience computational problems with an unsustainable predicted future scaling (due to cost, efficiency, or performance).

The crucial aspects of its mission concern the creation and/or optimization of algorithms and, in general, computing solutions capable of maximizing the potential physics output from experimental data and theoretical and phenomenological simulations, by using the tools made available by the Centre: e.g., heterogeneous and high-performance computing (via standard programming and AI-based solutions) and the ability to process large quantities of data beyond the capabilities of traditional methods.
The relevant scientific areas for the Spoke are fundamental, theoretical and experimental physics. In these areas, the Spoke aims at providing innovative instruments driven by the quest for a deeper understanding of the fundamental laws of Nature, through tools and solutions based on the Centre’s infrastructure; a common denominator will be the utilization of more efficient strategies, reducing the computational costs and their power consumption footprint.

The development of algorithms and computational solutions designed will be shared with all the scientific domains in the Centre; indeed, it is expected that their application to further domains will add more value to the scientific advancement per se. In particular, we aim to foster a profitable exchange of technology and experience with the productive sector, by showing that solutions from research can be reused in the most data and computing intensive activities from the CN private partners.

The Spoke activities will align on 6 different topics, which are identified as Work Packages. IASF Palermo is part of Work Packages 3 and 4:

  • WP 3: Experimental Astro-Particle Physics: data reduction, reconstruction and time cross-correlation algorithms, data selection and simulations of astroparticle and gravitational waves experiments, tools for cross-correlations and pattern recognition in multi-messenger physics, including novel implementations using techniques like Machine Learning.
  • WP 4: Boosting the computational performance of Theoretical and Experimental Physics algorithms: porting of applications to GPUs and heterogeneous architectures. The solutions and tools implemented during the project will be easily extendable to other scientific domains of the Centre and to the industrial partners in the Spoke; moreover, the personnel trained within the Centre will help to spread and boost the application of HPC methodologies to Italian academic and industrial fields, for a comprehensive advancement of the Italian system.

Our research in these Work Packages are carried out inside the Data Science and Artificial Intelligence program of the Institute.

More information on National Centre for HPC, Big Data and Quantum Computing: ICSC website

More information on INAF contribution to NRRP: PNRR Inaf

Contact person
Antonio Pagliaro

Anna Anzalone
Giancarlo Cusumano
Antonino La Barbera
Valentina La Parola
Antonio Pagliaro