The history of DeiC

DeiC continues the activities of former organizations within networking and high performance computing in Denmark
NEUCC-maskinstue i bygning 305 på DTU

DeiC (Danish e-infrastructure Cooperation) was established in 2012 as an organization under the Danish Ministry of Education and Research.

The new organization was the result of a merger of the supercomputing activities within the DCSC (Danish Center for Scientific Computing) and the national research and education network known as Forskningsnettet. The latter belonged to the Technical University of Denmark and was run by UNI-C.

Forskningsnettet

The first computing systems of the Danish universities were based at regional computing centers:

  • NEUCC (Northern Europe University Computing Center) at the Technical University of Denmark in the city of Lyngby from 1965
  • RECKU (Det Regionale EDB-Center ved Københavns Universitet) at the University of Copenhagen from 1970
  • RECAU (Det Regionale EDB-Center ved Aarhus Universitet) at Aarhus University from 1971

In 1985, the centers were merged into UNI-C.

Around 1984, the Danish universities started connecting their local area networks nationally in order to communicate with each other. The connections were established via bridges: On one side of the bridge the local area network was connected via Ethernet, on the other side a telco line connected to the other university.

Eventually TCP/IP routers were added to the architecture, making UNI-C the first to manage a large network in Denmark based on Internet technology. The network, known as DENET, was also connected to the Internet.

Later the network was organized under the name Forskningsnettet (The Research Network). Since 2003, Forskningsnettet has been financed by the universities through the national Danish budget. Until 2012, a network secretariat ran the administration while operations were outsourced to UNI-C.

Supercomputing

A supercomputer is a computer for scientific calculations which is larger than normal computers. According to that rather loose definition, the first computer at NEUCC may be considered the first supercomputer in Denmark. It was an IBM 7090, and it doubled the entire computing capacity of Denmark when it was delivered in July, 1965.

The first proper supercomputer within UNI-C was an Amdahl VP1100 vector processor purchased in 1987. Vector processors are specialized computers for calculations involving many operations on long sets of numbers (vectors).

UNI-C operated several supercomputers based in Lyngby. University researchers had access to the computers via Forskningsnettet.

In 2001 the DCSC (Danish Center for Scientific Computing) was established. As opposed to the centralized organization of UNI-C, DCSC was decentralized. The center distributed money for establishing supercomputing at the individual universities.

Grid computing had now become the dominant version of supercomputing. Here, a large number of industry standard computer nodes are connected in a high speed network. In order to further grid development, Danish Centre for Grid Computing (DCGC) was active from 2003 to 2007. In 2008 DCSC and DCGC were merged.

When DeiC was established, 50 million DKK were transferred from the part of the national budget earmarked for research infrastructure. The money was used for establishing the three national DeiC HPC (High Performance Computing) centers.

The DeiC national HPC centers are based at individual universities and established in cooperation with them. But the centers are available for all researchers on Danish universities and research organizations. So the model is a combination of centralized and decentralized organization.

Data management and the eScience Competence Center

In April, 2011, the Agency for Science and Higher Education published a roadmap for research infrastructure. The roadmap was based on input from six panels covering different areas of science and research.

The roadmap stipulated that DeiC should be established as a merger of the DCSC and Forskningsnettet. Furthermore, DeiC should establish a national competence center in order to further the knowledge of eScience.

It was also decided that DeiC should be involved in the area of research data management.

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