SMEs - How HPC Ready are you?

Assess the maturity level for the usage of HPC services and technologies!

 

This tool will support your SMEs to evaluate its level of preparedness and potential engagement, through carefully designed questionnaires catered to the specific needs of SME institutions. The results of the questionnaires will help to understand your SMEs' maturity level and provide a challenge map with actual data on the HPC landscape in the region as well as propose steps to take next in order to establish potential collaboration with Higher Education Institutions.    

 

SME HPC Maturity Level

Most Answers A: Low

If the maturity level is low, the institution should contact the SME/HPC team on the following email: sme.hpc@fis.unm.si. The institution will get access to HPC knowledge to both young researchers and entrepreneurs as future HPC practitioners, hence with the need to stay up-to-date with the current trends in HPC or to learn about them.

Most Answers B: Medium

If the maturity level is medium, the institution should access the InnoHPC LAB (https://innohpclab.fis.unm.si/) to seek new business opportunities. InnoHPC LAB is a multi-purpose platform, which provides tools to encourage the development of transnational networks between innovation actors, leading to transnational clusters. Through this platform, the o institutions can gain transnational access to HPC infrastructure and boost their innovative process through simulations of business processes, manufacturing or services.

Most Answers C: High

If the maturity level is high, the institution should access the Fortissimo project webpage (https://www.fortissimo-project.eu/). The platform provides one-stop, pay-per-use, on-demand access to advanced simulation, modeling and data analytics resources including software, hardware and expertise. Additionally, the organizations can access the KnowING IPR (https://knowing-ipr.fis.unm.si/) institutional platform (supported by online platform), where different stakeholders will be able to retrieve information on the importance of technology transfer, IP protection, opportunities arising from IP protection and tools to properly manage own IP.

1. What is your current level of HPC environment knowledge?

High Performance Computing (HPC) or Supercomputing is a term used for using systems with massive numbers of processors and parallel processing for solving complex computational problems. HPC environment consists of hardware, software employing parallel computational techniques and administration of those systems. Terms for HPC includes Distributed or Cloud Computing where hundreds or thousands of computers are distributed across a network, Computer clusters and Supercomputers are also terms used.

A

 

I have heard of cloud computing or computer clusters in general media but I know nothing or very little, and my company has never used any, to my knowledge. 

B

 

I have basic knowledge of HPC environment, and I understand the difference between cloud computing and HPC.

C

 

I have a very good knowledge of the HPC environment and understand terms such as MPI and OpenMP and the differences. 

2. Describe the present state of computing infrastructure available in your region?

Prior to advanced internet connections, most computing was carried out in company premises. However, with advanced high bandwidth internet, computer simulation and computation can be carried out off site in HPC Centres or use cloud resources. There are different service models available: Software as a Service (SaaS); Platform as a Service (PaaS); Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). 

A

 

The company does not have any computing infrastructure available for simulation in the region. 

B

 

The company is using in-house infrastructure for simulations

 

OR

 

The company is renting the compute power with different service level (IaaS or PaaS) from a third party. However, the Simulation Software is not included in a service.

C

 

The company is renting the compute power together with the Simulation Software from third parties.

OR

This scenario is a combination of the own infrastructure usage and IaaS, PaaS or SaaS service models. 

3. How would you rate the applicability of advanced technologies (for simulations) in your sector?

A

The company believes that advanced technologies are not directly applicable in the sector.

 

There is a lack of theoretical or practical foundation, software and tools. 

B

Advanced technologies are applicable in this sector. Many companies apply simulation with some success.

 

Results from simulation are acceptable and may yield benefits (such as costs savings, faster development, etc.), and there are software tools and procedures available.

C

Advanced technologies are applied successfully and has demonstrated high economic benefits. Software and procedures are well established, there is long tradition in using simulations in the sector.

 

It is accepted that by using simulation the company can significantly reduce development times, realize major costs savings, or similar.

4. Describe your level of knowledge of simulation methods and tools.

By simulation, we mean the main computational tasks that are important for your business. In some cases, it may also be described as data analysis, prediction or in some other way. In this question, we would like you to assess the company’s knowledge of the main methods and tools that are used in your sector or application area. Examples of tools and methods include mathematical methods like Finite Volume, Finite Elements Analysis, Computational Fluid Dynamics, etc.,. In data processing examples include Map Reduce, Deep learning. The tools may also be software libraries or packages, or middleware such as Hadoop.

A

 

The company does not have any knowledge and no knowledge of external expertise.

B

 

We possess basic knowledge but tend to depend on services from external experts.

C

 

The company has extensive knowledge of the methods and tools used in our application area.

5. How important is real time simulation and data processing for your company?

Where the simulation needs a lot of interaction with the expert while running it, the bandwidth of the internet connection becomes of vital importance, and any latency that occurs that could affect the simulation process. So, if you have any interaction during the simulation, do you need a response within seconds, minutes or hours?

A

 

No interaction with user needed while simulation running. Latency is not an issue.

B

 

Limited interaction during the simulation run or response within 10 minutes is acceptable.

C

 

A lot of interaction during the simulation verifying or directing the progression of the simulation requiring immediate response times within 1 second.

6. How important is the simulation duration for you? (i.e. time between start and end of each iteration)?

HPC Centres offer access to additional compute power when needed, which can speed up the process and secure results sooner when time is a critical factor. This question is focused on the Importance of the duration of the simulation.

A

 

The results of simulation are important but not time critical .

B

 

Time for every simulation iteration is a factor to consider, and speeding up the process is useful.

C

 

Duration is critical – ie there is limited time in which to secure the results, and if appropriate, carry out iterations for example: weather forecasting.

7. How often do you perform the simulations?

If your organisation is carrying out computing simulations, you may have already invested in an in-house computing environment. As the company grows in the future, e.g. in terms of the scale of production or the amount of data being processed, you may require faster computing simulations. You will have the opportunity to make a decision as to buy or outsource all or some of your computing simulations to an external agency or use the ‘cloud’. This question asks you to estimate the frequency of potential simulation requests you may generate in one year.

A

 

Never performed computing simulations and do not see any added value in the upcoming year. 

B

 

We have occasional need.

C

 

Tend to require monthly

 

OR

 

At least once a week

 

OR

 

Most days

8. Rate the importance of the simulation and data processing for your company.

A

 

We don’t use simulations and data processing in our business processes

B

 

Simulations make it easier or more cost-effective to develop new products.  

C

 

We can’t develop new products without access to simulations.

9. How likely is that your company would rent Hardware & Software instead of buying it?

Renting or buying Hardware & Software depends on the company’s needs and requires understanding the technology and calculating the financial aspects of the options, and the Return on Investment (RoI). Renting, which includes buying cloud-based solutions (IaaS–PaaS-SaaS), requires much smaller upfront cost, short-term commitment and enables a company to keep up with their competitors without draining their financial resources. The services are more flexible in turning them on/off when needed and expanding significantly as required, offering vast scalability and potentially lower storage costs.

Buying hardware/software (on premises) gives the company control and flexibility, may overcome any internet connectivity issues, and mitigates external security risks, should either be an issue. There is also a ‘hybrid’ solution, which leverages the best of both ownership and cloud-based solutions.

A

 

Company owns their equipment (hardware) and software (or licenses), and there is a team for maintaining it.

B

 

Company uses a hybrid (mixed) solution of renting and buying hardware and software, for example to meet additional need, and provide ‘burst’ capacity or for special one-off simulations.

C

 

Company willing to rent solutions, including computing equipment and software.

10. Quantify your company's investments in Research & Development (R&D) and Innovation.

Research & Development expenditure refers to any expenditure that seeks to develop, design and enhance the company's products, services, technologies or processes. R&D allows a company to come up with innovative new products or features that increase market share.

To quantify a company’s investments in R&D and Innovations, choose from the following options.

A

Less than 5%

of Company Turnover

B

Between  5% to 10% 

of Company Turnover.

C

More than 10% 

of Company Turnover

11. How confident are you with HPC provider from your region?

As mentioned earlier, trust and confidentiality can be critical factors in deciding whether to use the services of an HPC Centre. Most HPC Centres have security standards and data governing procedures in relation to administering data transfer, storage and backup, which you may wish to review. Furthermore, a suitable None Disclosure Agreement (NDA) can be put in place to govern and guide the data management policy between the HPC provider and client. The question here is to establish the confidence in the HPC provider.

A

Consider your data to be at risk .

B

 

Consider that there are measures in place, but may not be full-proof

C

 

You trust the HPC provider to protect your data or the data are not highly confidential, so it doesn’t matter.

12. How confident are you that your Telecom services provider will deal with your data in a trustworthy manner?

When accessing the Internet through any Telecom Service Provider, all the exchanged Data/ Information will be available to the Service Provider. How confident are you that no-one will access your data?

A

Consider your data to be at risk.

B

 

Consider that there are measures in place, but may not be full-proof.

C

Trust the telecom provider to protect your data or the data are not highly confidential, so it doesn’t matter.

"The European Commission's support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein."

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