Honestly the researchers and the granting agencies don't care. They just want to do the most they can. So how would I construct the rules for an HPC service from funding agency on down? Note that the following while not morally wrong does currently, (to the best of my understanding) violate IRS tax rules that are used to say what is capital and what pays indirects.
- (Bad)Indirects pay for all HPC services. Who wouldn't love this. Admins are given a bucket of money build a service and researchers use it at no cost. Problems with this is, zero moderation between how much of an HPC service a given research group consumes.
- (Good)Grant money for HPC services are indirect free and the the fee for the service exposes the researcher to the entire price of the service. That is admin, software, rack rent, hardware, etc.
- (Best)Indirects pay things that are hard to measure, these would be public goods. Admins and software are both hard to measure how much a user consumed. Power/cooling would also be in here if you can't measure it, or it isn't provided in a way that accurately reflects core usage. Items that are easy to measure are exposed to the researcher, this is a break down of a cost per core month of cpu time and similar items.