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November 10, 2008

Executive Guide to SC08: Tuesday

Michael Feldman

Tuesday marks the first full day of the conference technical program. This year’s conference keynote will be given by Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell, Inc. Dell’s selection reflects both the changing face of the industry, and the conference’s location – Dell is headquartered about 20 miles north of Austin in Round Rock, Texas.

Computing at Scale

There are many sessions on Tuesday that address the programming and operational challenges faced by managers of large computing systems today.

The HPC Systems papers session includes presentations on the performance characteristics of Roadrunner, the largest system on the June TOP500 list, developing performance-optimal algorithms for multicore systems, and a comparison of the performance characteristics of several common HPC platforms.

The Grid Resource Management papers session addresses many of the issues that arise in providing services over large scale, often distributed, computational resources. The session includes presentations on management of resources for massively multiplayer online games, strategies for predictable execution of jobs on shared computers, and auction-based grid reservations.

Late in the day is a panel focused on an important issue that stands between users and effective use of very large scale parallel computers. Can Developing Applications for Massively Parallel Systems with Heterogeneous Processors Be Made Easy(er)? will feature some of today’s most recognized voices in this area: David Patterson, Marc Snir, David Bader, Vivek Sarkar, and John Shalf.

Application Horizons

Tuesday features three Masterworks sessions on emerging HPC applications that have the potential to reshape our cultural understanding and how the business of business gets done.

If you’re new to SC, the Masterworks sessions will be a real treat for you. They focus on the intersection of the real world and HPC, and provide an opportunity to learn from the people at the leading edge of the application of HPC to real world problems in business, finance, energy, the arts, and more.

Humanities Scholarship in the Petabyte Age explores the transformation happening in the humanities as the artifacts of study — books, sculpture, recordings, and so on — are digitized and for the first time become available to the whole world for further study.

The marriage of HPC and finance is explored in two sessions late in the day. High Performance Computing in the Financials: Where Rocket Science Meets ‘The Street’ will begin with an introduction on how banks use HPC today, and then discuss their unique computational requirements, and Golden Tree Asset Management will discuss the uses of HPC in finance.

Expanded Access

The final group of papers in the technical program on Tuesday includes Workflows. Papers in this session will review the state of the art in domain-based workflow composition, methods for leveraging workflow systems in solution of large problems, and double auctions for workflow scheduling in grid environments.