October 31, 2013

LLNL CTO Emphasizes Value of SC13

Nicole Hemsoth

Beginning in the middle of next week we’ll be kicking off an exciting series of features from a number of key researchers, implementers, and end users who are playing central roles in the future of high performance computing.

For those not in the know, this is all set to culminate in what is arguably one of the most exciting weeks for supercomputing aficionados—the annual Supercomputing Conference (SC13), which is entering its 25th year.

By now, you’ve probably already made a final decision about whether or not to attend the Denver event in mid-November. Or more accurately, those holding the pursestrings at your institution have “pushed” your decision along in a particular direction.

However, today we wanted to point to an excellent interview with Bronis de Supinski, Chief Technology Officer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (and Gordon Bell prize winner), where he discusses the importance of the event for professionals across the industry—not to mention its meaning for the community as a whole. The point is to draw more people to the event by emphasizing the value of its importance as a hub to share and honor research and collaboration.

As the Gordon Bell Prize Winner noted, “[The Supercomputing Conference] has helped me in my research because it’s given me ideas for new research, it’s given me a venue to publicize the successes I’ve had in research, and also it’s shaped the directions in kind of a higher-level way that I’ve gone. So supercomputing tends to be a very pragmatic venue.

He continued…

“What my first Supercomputing conference was like is very different from what Supercomputing is like for me today. As I said earlier, I’ve been coming here for 15 years in a row now, and the reasons I come back have changed over time. The first time I came here I was fresh out of grad school, I had been working at Livermore for only a few months at that point, and, you know, it’s a scene—there’s lots of technical talks, but there’s also this whole show floor. It’s not the sort of thing you would normally expect out of an academic conference. That was very appealing at that point.

Since then, over time as I got to know more people and working with more people across DOE and academia and high performance computing, it became a place where you kind of have to show up because everybody is going to be here. If you’re not here you’re missing out on opportunities to meet people.”

Bronis has led several research projects in LLNL’s Center for Applied Scientific Computing (CASC). Most recently, he led the Exascale Computing Technologies (ExaCT) project and co-led the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program’s Application Development Environment and Performance Team (ADEPT). ADEPT is responsible for the development environment, including compilers, tools and run time systems, on LLNL’s large-scale systems. ExaCT explored several critical directions related to programming models, algorithms, performance, code correctness and resilience for future large scale systems. He currently continues his interests in these topics, particularly programming models, and serves as the Chair of the OpenMP Language Committee.

He is among thousands of other researchers who will be descending on Denver in just a few short weeks. If you haven’t yet registered or you’re still on the fence, take a look at the excellent lineup of technical topics and special events. We can’t wait to meet you all there.