Skip to main content

Procurement of New PDC System

Gert Svensson, PDC

As mentioned in the previous PDC Newsletter , PDC received a substantial grant (in total 170 million SEK) from the Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC) to install and operate a new general-purpose high-performance computing (HPC) system for academic research. The process of procuring the new system had just started in the spring with an initial invitation being published and submitted to a range of potential vendors in April. The invitation roughly described the desired system, as well as specifying some requirements that any companies submitting tenders would need to satisfy. You may remember that the earlier article explained that the new system will have one partition using only central processing units (CPUs) and another partition which will be equipped with graphics processing unit (GPU) accelerators. In addition, the system will include a fast Lustre storage subsystem.

During May a large number of vendors replied that they were interested in bidding, and also provided information about the economic status and technical capacity of their businesses, so that PDC could judge if their companies were financially and technically suitable to qualify as potential suppliers of the new system.

In June PDC sent a request for proposals (which were due at the end of August) to all the companies that had qualified. The request contained a detailed technical and commercial description of the requirements for the new system, together with the benchmark suite and test cases, as well as detailed information about how the bids would be evaluated. Several vendors asked us to prolong the proposal period due to the COVID-19 situation, so the due date was moved three weeks later. Also many of the vendors that had initially expressed interest dropped out and did not submit proposals.

By late September PDC had received some exciting proposals from various vendors. Since then, things have been hectic: reviewing the bids, rectifying mistakes in the proposals and benchmarks, and holding discussions with the vendors to improve the bids. Now we are in the final stage of the procurement process. At the time of writing, the remaining vendors had just been asked to submit their best and final offers. So, by the time this newsletter is published, the supplier of the new system may have been selected. You can rest assured that PDC will soon have an excellent new system for the coming years!