2014 INCITE Call for Proposals

The Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program promotes transformational advances in science and technology for computationally intensive, large-scale research projects through large allocations of computer time and supporting resources at the Argonne and Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (LCF) centers, operated by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science.

INCITE seeks research enterprises for capability computing: production simulations - including ensembles - that use a large fraction of the LCF systems or require the unique LCF architectural infrastructure for high-impact projects that cannot be performed anywhere else.

INCITE is currently soliciting proposals of research for awards of time on the 27-petaflops Cray XK7 "Titan" and the 10-petaflops IBM Blue Gene/Q "Mira" beginning Calendar Year (CY) 2014. More than five billion core-hours will be allocated for CY 2014. Average awards per project for CY 2014 are expected to be on the order of 50 million core-hours for Titan and 100 million core-hours for Mira, but could be as much as several hundred million core hours. Proposals may be for up to three years.


INCITE issues an annual call for proposals of high-impact, computationally intensive research campaigns in a broad array of science, engineering, and computer science domains. Individuals and teams of researchers from academia, national laboratories, and industry are eligible to apply and awards of one-, two-, or three-years are granted. If you answer yes to the following questions, INCITE may be right for you.

  • Is your science campaign outpacing the computing resources available to you?
  • Do you have a long-term vision for your research campaign, over a period of years rather than months?
  • Can you effectively use an INCITE-sized award, usually more than twenty million core-hours per year?


INCITE awards are large - often one hundred times greater than more generally available allocation programs - and a limited number of projects are selected each year. Campaigns chosen by the INCITE program typically cannot be performed anywhere else and require extremely large high-performance computing systems, large awards of time, very large memory or other unique LCF architectural infrastructure in order to succeed.

INCITE supports research that answers high-impact, key scientific or technical questions or points to new areas of research. Accomplishments by INCITE researchers are frequently seen in Nature, Science, and other highly visible journals.


The INCITE program is open to US- and non-US-based researchers and research organizations needing large allocations of computer time, supporting resources, and data storage to pursue transformational advances in science and engineering. INCITE considers requests regardless of funding source (ex. DOE, NSF, private, etc).

The intent of INCITE is to support large-scale, computationally intensive projects that would not be possible or productive without petascale computing. Requests that represent less than one percent of the total allocable time on the system may be more appropriate for another program.


Awards of time are made on the leadership-class systems at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). Sixty percent of time on the leadership-class systems - the Cray XK7 at ORNL and the IBM Blue Gene/Q at ANL - is allocated through INCITE. The IBM Blue Gene/P, "Intrepid" is retired from the INCITE program and not included in this call. Researchers may request access to more than one LCF center. A full description of the resources available under this call can be found at the system descriptions and includes important details that all applicants should review prior to proposal submittal.


Last year's call for proposals resulted in 61 projects (41 new, 20 renewals) awarded 4.7 billion core-hours for CY 2013, with an average allocation of 50 million hours. The acceptance rate for new proposals was 33%. Representative awards include the following.

  • Biophysics (75 million core-hours) "Multiscale blood flow simulations"
  • Materials science (240 million core-hours) "Petascale simulation of stress corrosion cracking"
  • Seismology (100 million core-hours) "Global seismic tomography based on spectral-element and adjoint methods"
  • Plasma Physics (100 million core-hours) "High-fidelity simulation of tokamak edge plasma transport"
  • Fluids and Turbulence (35 million core-hours) "Combustion stability in complex engineering flows"
  • Computer Science (21 million core-hours) "Collaborative research into exascale systemware, tools and applications"

The complete list of awards is available.



Awards are made based on the quality and impact of the research and the suitability of the proposed simulations for the requested resource. INCITE employs a two-phase review process. Proposals are peer-reviewed by an international panel of experts for scientific and technical merit and potential impact, and this assessment is the primary basis to identify the top-ranked proposals for potential awards. The computational readiness of the proposal is also assessed in order to determine how effectively the project will utilize the requested system. Multiyear awards are subject to annual review.

The INCITE Awards Committee, composed of the LCF management teams, will make selections based on the rankings by the peer-review panel. Potential impact is the predominant determinant for awards. The readiness ratings are used to determine the capability of the project to effectively use the selected system and are based on proficiency shown through benchmarking data and/or proposed development plans. Proposals are selected that answer a high-impact, key scientific/technical question and/or point to a new area of research. Successful proposal teams demonstrate a very clear understanding of petascale computing and can optimally use these resources to accomplish the stated scientific/technical goals.

Preparing a proposal

INCITE and the LCF centers offer webinars to advise potential authors on best practices for INCITE proposal writing. Authors are encouraged to attend the webinars and to apply for LCF center Director's Discretionary (DD) time: DD requests can be submitted any time and used to obtain benchmarking data in preparation for the INCITE call for proposals. Also, the list of questions used by reviewers to assess INCITE proposals are available on the proposal web site and can be used to guide the development of INCITE application. For more details about these aids to proposal writing, see the INCITE Proposal Preparation Instructions.

Request for Information

Authors are encouraged to respond to the INCITE Request for Information in early spring, even if considering applying to INCITE. This web-based survey is optional but provides the INCITE manager with input about potential applicants. Respondents can receive additional information about the INCITE program and its resources.

User agreements

Use of HPC resources under the INCITE program is conditional upon acceptance of the relevant user agreement provided by the center at which an allocation is awarded. Upon receipt of an INCITE award, each participating institution on the awarded proposal must accept or already have signed the user agreement; otherwise, access by their researcher(s) to the LCF system will be delayed until the agreement is signed. The ANL user agreements and ORNL user agreements are accessible online. The proposer may contact the INCITE manager, INCITE@DOEleadershipcomputing.org, for further details. The proposer's and any participating institution's authorized agents (typically contracts specialists or legal representatives who have the authority to sign the user agreement on behalf of the institution) should be prepared to review and sign the agreement once an award of time is granted. Inability of the proposer's institution to sign the agreement in a timely fashion may put the award at risk.

Proprietary use

Proprietary use (e.g., using the resources to generate data or results that they wish to designate as proprietary) of the HPC resources is allowed and will include full cost recovery through a proprietary user agreement. The use of proprietary or export-controlled software applications or input data does not by itself constitute proprietary use of the facility. A single and standardized peer-review selection process and project reporting requirement, as described within the INCITE Overview and Policies, will be implemented for both proprietary and non-proprietary user proposals. Given the complexities associated with proprietary research, individuals considering submittal of a proposal for proprietary research must contact the INCITE manager, INCITE@DOEleadershipcomputing.org, before the call for proposals closes to discuss the policy on proprietary work. Note: Proprietary information may NOT be included in the proposal submitted via the INCITE proposal website.

Acknowledgements and Reporting Requirements

All recipients of resources allocated through the INCITE program are expected to acknowledge the center and the program in publications resulting from their award. Refer to the Frequently Asked Question "What are my responsibilities if I receive an award?" for the standard acknowledgements and other reporting requirements. The principal investigator of each awarded project will be expected to provide periodic reports (e.g. quarterly, end of year) and respond to an annual survey.


The INCITE centers have implemented cybersecurity programs at a moderate baseline with compensatory controls in accordance with National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-53. Project-specific security requirements can also be discussed and potentially addressed; the proposer should contact the center directly for details. Risk is currently mitigated using available enterprise infrastructure and network-based tools to provide perimeter protection and vulnerability resolution. System- and application-level security controls are implemented in accordance with industry and federal best practices. All non-temporary user data reside on centralized file and archival storage systems that are regularly backed up. These data are protected and segmented from other users through standard access controls.

Data sensitivity and protection

The HPC centers cannot guarantee zero risks to information stored on their systems. Requests for processing sensitive (e.g., proprietary or export-controlled) data must therefore be clearly identified in the proposal. Information-sensitivity concerns apply to the intent of the research, storing and compiling of source code, loading and execution of application software, input data for the application software, output data generated by the application software, and data resulting from analysis of output data. If, for example, the application software has an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN), prospective users should state this fact in the proposal and provide the ECCN number. Prospective users should work with the center to identify appropriate levels of data protection. Greater levels of protection not typically offered may be provided at a cost borne by the project.


Applications will be accepted only electronically starting April 15, 2013, and in accordance with these instructions. INCITE reserves the right to decline consideration of proposals not compliant with these instructions. New proposals will be accepted until a call deadline of 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 28, 2013. Awards are expected to be announced in November 2013. Access to a computing system, granted over the 2014 calendar year, will be established upon completion of the appropriate agreements and in accordance with center-specific procedures. Please direct questions about the application procedure to the INCITE manager (INCITE@DOEleadershipcomputing.org).

Submit a proposal here.

If you have a multi-year award that has not reached its final year, you must submit a renewal request to continue the project.

Submit a renewal here.