In the annual report we look back at our achievements in 2016, including the inauguration of the new Tier-1 system and the expansion of the Tier-2 infrastructure, and the collaboration with industry.

For the VSC, the partnership between the Flemish universities and the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), 2016 arrived as a year full of challenges in a new environment. Having worked for years under the inspiring auspices of the Hercules Foundation, the VSC is now managed by the FWO.

The inauguration of a new supercomputer at KU Leuven in October 2016 was yet another milestone for the VSC. It illustrates the commitment of the Flemish government to continuing investing in state-of- the-art infrastructure for research and innovation. A Tier-1 supercomputer is actually an incentive for academic and industrial researchers to initiate challenging research in R&D.

In 2016, particular attention was also paid to the expansion of the Tier-2 infrastructure at the Flemish universities and additional staff resources were provided for training and user support. The VSC ensures that researchers can easily migrate between the university clusters and the Tier-1 supercomputer so that the most suitable computer is used at all times. In addition, the number of training courses on the use of the Tier-1 and the Tier-2 was expanded for researchers from Flemish universities, strategic research centres and other public institutions of knowledge, but also for companies.

For the allocation of computing time on the Tier-1, the Board of Directors approved a slightly modified regulation, whereby a panel of international experts was again appointed for the evaluation of the applications. In 2016, applications were assessed on three occasions. A total of 198,490 node days were allocated to 74 projects. From 2016, academic researchers are no longer charged part of the costs, which had had a positive impact on the number of submitted applications.

The VSC Users Committee identified also in 2016 users’ needs and formulated proposals to improve user service.

Special attention was paid to collaboration with companies. The Industrial Board was re-appointed in 2016 and developed initiatives to highlight the advantages of a collaboration with the VSC: professional support, customised training as required, but above all embedding within an academic environment. In brief, 2016 was a busy year, but also one that allows both the VSC and the FWO to look forward to a bright future!

The report is available in English and in Dutch.

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