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July 29, 2014

SC14 Technical Program Preview

Tiffany Trader
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July has been rather quiet in the HPC space, but what better time to start looking ahead and preparing for the busy fall ahead, including the preeminent annual HPC event: SC14. Attendees won’t flock to this event until November 16, but SC planners are busy getting everything into place, including the core event offering: the Technical Program. To explore the highlights of this year’s Technical Program, the SC committee spoke with computing pioneer and program chair Jack Dongarra.

Dongarra explains that this year’s technical program will include new initiatives focused on big data and analytics. There will also be some changes to the format of the Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase Program at SC14, which provides a forum for the year’s most instrumental videos in HPC.

“Six finalists will compete for the Best Visualization Award, and each finalist will present his or her movie in a 15-minute presentation during a dedicated session at SC14,” says Dongarra. “Submissions will be judged based on how well the analysis illuminates the underlying science, by the quality of the end result, and for innovations in the process used for creating the movie.”

Dongarra also spotlights the Test-of-Time award, which was launched last November. The award recognizes a paper from a prior Supercomputing Conference that has stood the “test of time” by having a deep and lasting influence on the HPC discipline. Any SC paper that is at least 10 years old is eligible. The inaugural award recipient was William Pugh from the University of Maryland for “The Omega Test: a fast and practical integer programming algorithm for dependence analysis,” published in the proceedings of Supercomputing’91.

Of course, HPC/supercomputing is known for having a future-oriented outlook, so what does Dongarra think about current trends and opportunities?

As he ticks off the many challenges that beset the exascale horizon – hardware, software, energy-efficiency, memory, networking, scalability, programming, data management, resilience and correctness, to name a few – Dongarra also remains focused on the amazing advances that will be enabled in fields as diverse as energy, pharmaceutical, aircraft, automobile, entertainment, and many more.

“More powerful computing capability will allow these diverse industries to more quickly engineer superior new products that could improve a nation’s competitiveness,” he shares. “In addition, there are considerable flow-down benefits that will result from meeting both the hardware and software high-performance computing challenges. These would include enhancements to smaller computer systems and many types of consumer electronics, from smartphones to cameras.”