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January 03, 2012
Despite the last few years of dismal news on the employment front, software engineers with backgrounds in high performance computing are in high demand. A recent story in the Daily Beast points out that elite supercomputing labs in the US are finding it tough to find software developers that can program their cutting-edge machines.
That's mainly due to the fact that HPC systems require engineers trained in the intricacies of parallel programming -- MPI, OpenMP, CUDA, and such. While these software frameworks are well know in the HPC realm, most computer science programs do not offer classes in them at the undergrad level. And there are only a handful of specialized HPC curriculums in the country, most of which are associated with DOE or NSF supercomputing centers.
The Daily Beast article quotes Wu Feng, a professor of supercomputing at Virginia Polytechnic, who says that companies are so hungry for HPC talent that he's had inquiries from different parts of the same company competing for graduating students. And at the University of Tennessee, supercomputer guru Jack Dongarra notes: “It’s not that we’ve had a drop-off in enrollments, it’s that we need an increase. We need people who can build the applications and algorithms needed to effectively use the equipment.”
One concern is that other countries are going to eclipse the US in supercomputing by developing the better software talent. RENCI supercomputing veteran Stan Ahalt points out that China is churning out huge numbers of scientists and engineers to jump-start its burgeoning high performance computing sector. And even though US universities and labs still train a lot of HPC engineers, the ones from China and India often return to their native countries to fill local demand for those jobs.
Other rapidly growing areas application like mobile computing, cloud computing, and big data analytics are also suffering talent shortages. An article in the Austin American Statesman points out that competition for engineers is fierce in most US high-tech centers:
In an otherwise sluggish U.S. economy, an intense national talent war is being waged for engineers with critical skills in hot areas. Austin is one of a number of fronts — which include California, the Northeast and other tech centers such as Seattle and Boulder, Colo. — where recruiters and executives say the supply of talent can't keep up with demand.
As always, the availability of software -- and the engineers that write it -- will determine the success of all these technologies. That's as true for room-filling supercomputers as it is for handheld smartphones.
In quieter times, sounding the bell of funding big science with big systems tends to resonate further than when ears are already burning with sour economic and national security news. For exascale's future, however, the time could be ripe to instill some sense of urgency....
In a recent solicitation, the NSF laid out needs for furthering its scientific and engineering infrastructure with new tools to go beyond top performance, Having already delivered systems like Stampede and Blue Waters, they're turning an eye to solving data-intensive challenges. We spoke with the agency's Irene Qualters and Barry Schneider about..
Large-scale, worldwide scientific initiatives rely on some cloud-based system to both coordinate efforts and manage computational efforts at peak times that cannot be contained within the combined in-house HPC resources. Last week at Google I/O, Brookhaven National Lab’s Sergey Panitkin discussed the role of the Google Compute Engine in providing computational support to ATLAS, a detector of high-energy particles at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/15/2013 | Bull | “50% of HPC users say their largest jobs scale to 120 cores or less.” How about yours? Are your codes ready to take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s ultra-parallel HPC systems? Download this White Paper by Analysts Intersect360 Research to see what Bull and Intel’s Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming can do for your codes.
In this demonstration of SGI DMF ZeroWatt disk solution, Dr. Eng Lim Goh, SGI CTO, discusses a function of SGI DMF software to reduce costs and power consumption in an exascale (Big Data) storage datacenter.
The Cray CS300-AC cluster supercomputer offers energy efficient, air-cooled design based on modular, industry-standard platforms featuring the latest processor and network technologies and a wide range of datacenter cooling requirements.