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April 30, 2012

Hot Interconnects Event Warms Up for Summer Meeting

Nicole Hemsoth

This August, the IEEE is hosting its annual symposium on high-performance interconnects, known as Hot Interconnects (HOTI) . Now in its 20th year, the event focuses on the latest developments in the field, both in industry and academia, with a special emphasis on how the technology is advancing in the realm of supercomputing and large-scale datacenters. The event covers chip-to-chip interconnects as well as networking fabrics that bind whole systems and datacenters together.

In the world of high performance computing, the interconnect is second only to the microprocessor in terms of performance-critical components. As systems expand into every-widening arrays of processors and servers, the interconnect is the enabling technology that allows the underlying computation to scale efficiently. And with the size of these systems increasing, new developments in this area are generating even greater interest.

This year’s HOTI event comes at a time when the latest commodity system networks, FDR InfiniBand and 10 GbE Ethernet, are making their way into some of the newest HPC systems. Meanwhile, custom-built interconnects are undergoing somewhat of a revival, with examples like Fujitsu’s Tofu interconnect, IBM’s Blue Gene/Q torus, and the Tianhe-1A’s Galaxy network. As a backdrop to these developments are custom interconnects that are being acquired by commodity chipmakers — SeaMicro’s Freedom supercomputing fabric, by AMD, and more recently, Cray’s Aries interconnect and related technology by Intel.

The HOTI meeting provides a forum that encompasses all these developments. This year the event will take place from August 22nd through the 24th at the Huawei North America Headquarters in Santa Clara, California. The first two days are the symposium proper, consisting of presentations by vendors and academicians, with the final day dedicated to tutorials. The event organizers are calling for paper submissions by May 13, 2012 for peer review by its technical committee.

HPCwire spoke with University of Illinois’ Torsten Hoefler, HOTI’s Technical Chair, and Myricom’s Patrick Geoffray, the General Chair, about the conference and what’s on tap for this year’s event.

HPCwire: For our readers who are not familiar with the IEEE Hot Interconnects Symposium, can you briefly encapsulate what the event is about?

Patrick Geoffray: HOTI is a technical conference for the presentation of new developments and architectures in high-speed interconnects both within and between systems as well as the evolution of software to improve network performance, efficiency and configuration for virtualization, file systems and big data. Along with its sister conference, Hot Chips, HOTI aims to attract leading research work in academia as well as industry, interconnecting between these two communities worldwide.

HPCwire: Who has been attending the event in years past?

Torsten Hoefler: Because HOTI is usually in Silicon Valley, we have a great audience of network researchers, software engineers and product managers from nearly all the local major universities and companies – Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, Columbia, Cisco, HP, IBM, Oracle, Google, Facebook, etc. In addition technologists from IT organizations worldwide like Wall Street, Amazon, Boeing, and centers in Europe and Asia attend to find out the latest developments.

HPCwire: Such as?

Hoefler: Last year’s HOTI featured talks on the TianHe-1A and Kei (Tofu) interconnects, powering the world’s two fastest computers at that time. In addition the networks of IBM’s Blue Gene/Q machine were first revealed as a keynote. Videos of the 2011 conference are available on the site.

HPCwire: How do you go about attracting research papers from academia?

Hoefler: The reviewers of the submissions are first rate and are strongly oriented to both research and the progress of data center infrastructure. As we are an IEEE-sponsored event all papers are published in the IEEE digital library which is open to members worldwide. Top papers and talks from HOTI usually appear in IEEE journals, for example, the January/February 2012 issue of IEEE Micro featured Petascale Network Architectures from HOTI11. In addition HOTI has an average impact factor of 10.5 as stated by MS Academic search.

HPCwire: Are you seeking paper submissions in particular areas?

Geoffray: Examples include chipset and SOC level processing and interfaces – electronic and optic, high bandwidth low latency I/O for networks, switches and storage, novel APIs and protocols for HPC, cloud, and big data, software definition of fabric and network configuration and performance.

HPCwire: What are some of the presentations on the schedule for this year’s conference?

Hoefler: In our single track format we have four great keynotes by leaders in industry and academia scheduled. Bob Alverson, the lead architect of Cray’s Aries network will discuss the evolution of networking at Cray in his talk titled “Cray High Speed Networking.” John Roese will discuss Huawei’s strategy towards networking in his talk “The Future Of Network Technology – What is Old, is New Again”. Fuad Doany will talk about IBM’s new break-through technology in optical networking and storage, the Holey Optochip, and Nick McKeown will once again challenge our status-quo thinking with the latest Developments In Software Defined Networking.

We also have an industrial panels dealing with the controversial issues of today and great practical tutorials for early adopters. It is now up to you and the community to contribute tutorials, papers and presentations to the conference. We want to encourage everybody to submit their best work to this year’s HOTI. The technical paper submission is still open until May 13th!

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This interview was prepared in collaboration with the HOTI’12 media chairs Bill Boas and Raj Channa.