Your input is required: STFC Exascale requirements gathering exercise

Dear Colleagues,

Please see the email below (and attachment) regarding UKRI’s planning for next generation exascale supercomputing systems and services. STFC is seeking feedback regarding the attached draft document (STFC Exascale Requirements). As well as individual inputs, we would like to submit a UKSP response.

If you would like to contribute to this, please email the UKSP chair ( or complete the short Google form (responses can be anonymous):

Since the deadline for responses is the 24th of January, please respond by the 22nd of January if possible so all responses can be collated.

We thank Robertus Erdelyi for bringing this to the attention of the council.

Kind regards,
UKSP Council

Dear Colleague,

If you make use of computing in your research, or expect to in the future, please read on. Feel free to pass this e-mail and the attached document to any colleagues for whom it might be relevant.

As part of UKRI’s planning for next generation exascale supercomputing systems and services, STFC established an Exascale Working Group which has been gathering feedback from the community about use cases and requirements.

We would very much appreciate your feedback on the attached draft STFC Exascale Requirements document. This summarises contributions received to date from major STFC projects, services and a number of allied domains which are supported by, or working with, STFC. We are circulating the draft as widely as possible as we want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to comment on it.

We are particularly seeking feedback on the following:

  • Are there any obvious gaps or omissions? e.g. projects that are at an early stage of development but will have major compute/data requirements.
  • Are your project or community’s exascale requirements adequately captured? e.g. the timeline to exascale and level of resourcing required.
  • Have we correctly synthesised the critical attributes and characteristics of STFC community workflows? e.g. the balance between monolithic and ensemble workflows, data volume and velocity, and homogeneity versus heterogeneity of systems and services.

If you are unsure whether your project or workflow would be considered “exascale”, the ExCALIBUR exascale pathfinder programme has produced a definition which may be helpful:

  • Solving Problems that are 10-1000x larger than we solve at present
  • Solving Problems 10-1000x faster than at present
  • Problems can be simulation, data modelling and/or data-driven
  • Can come from all areas of Research and Innovation
  • Exascale “Velocity” is just as important an output as exascale “Volume”

“Should I respond to this consultation?” If your work is compute and data intensive but you do not feel that this definition applies to you, we would still encourage you to read and comment on the exascale requirements document so that your views can be captured. Your response will help to shape the future direction of the UK’s largest ever public investment in scientific computing facilities.

Please send your feedback to the special mailbox we have set up for the requirements gathering exercise:

Your comments should reach us by 5pm on 24th January 2024. After this time, we will incorporate feedback into a revised draft which will be circulated in February. In early March, STFC will be holding a Town Hall to discuss to the document and we hope that many of you will attend that event.

A note on privacy and data protection: We expect that the requirements document will become part of the public record once finalised. Your feedback and contributions will be anonymised by the working group and your identity will only be shared outside of the working group with your express written permission. Consultation responses will be deleted six months after the closing date.

Wishing you all a restful Christmas break and a very happy New Year.

Best wishes,
Mark Wilkinson
Jeremy Yates
Vassil Alexandrov
(Co-chairs of the STFC Exascale Working Group)