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Stephane Requena

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Stephane Requena

Stephane Requena
Chief Technical Officer at GENCI; Member, Board of Directors at PRACE

There are a lot of interesting things happening in HPC in Europe. Two organizations in Europe are doing their part to lead the way: The Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), and GENCI (Grand Equipement National De Calcul Intensif). As the CTO for GENCI and a director for PRACE, Stephane Requena is definitely a person to watch. His influence has been a key catalyst for driving the Dark Energy Simulation Project (DEUS), which aims is to get a better understanding of the nature of ‘dark energy,’ and its influence on the structure of the universe. We caught up with Requena to capture a few of his thoughts on the year ahead.

HPCwire: As the CTO of GENCI and a member of the PRACE board of directors, what can you tell us about your priorities as you open 2014 and look at the year ahead?

Stephane Requena: Both GENCI and PRACE share challenges in supporting French and European scientific and industrial competitiveness in making available HPC resources and services for large-scale research projects.

In 2014, it will be important to continue our efforts toward the democratization of the use of advanced numerical simulation and HPC towards new scientific communities and industries (especially SMEs), support projects selected through our calls for proposals and disseminate the results obtained by researchers using our supercomputers.

This implies to continue deploying leading HPC systems (in 2014 GENCI will update in France the facilities of CINES, one of the 3 national centers and some PRACE partners will update their systems) as well as providing high value services in dissemination, training or community and code enabling.

HPCwire: Some of the collaborations that you’ve been a part of have gotten a lot of attention, including the DEUS (Dark Energy Universe Simulation) project. What other top initiatives does PRACE have going on in 2014 that should be on people’s radars?

Stephane Requena: PRACE launched 18 months ago a pilot of multiyear access for 7 large scale scientific and industrial projects in the field of climate modeling, materials, combustion, particle physics or atomistic modeling for electrophysiology (in relation with the Human Brain project flagship). In 2014, these projects will finish their 2-year allocation and demonstrate outstanding results using PRACE HPC resources.

On May 20-22 in Barcelona (Spain) PRACE will organize for the first time a joint scientific and industrial conference called PRACE Days 2014. This conference will include latest advancements in HPC-supported science and engineering, presentation of the SHAPE pilot results (a PRACE initiative for fostering the use of HPC by European small and medium sized companies) and the PRACE industrial award.

HPCwire: What trends in high performance computing do you see as particularly relevant as you look forward to the year ahead?

Stephane Requena: For 2014 I see a strong interest on the following technologies or initiatives:

  • The rise of stacked fast memories and NVRAM
  • Next gen interconnects from Intel and Mellanox
  • The merge of Open MP and OpenACC? Good news for fostering the use of heterogeneous and manycore devices
  • Big Data + HPC: first concrete results of Hadoop Map Reduce scientific workflows on top of Lustre or GPFS
  • ARM A53 and A57 64 bits processors
  • HPC in Europe: new PRACE systems in Germany and Spain, the deployment of the first Mont-Blanc ARM based low-power prototype and the Fortsissimo EU commercial cloud HPC infrastructure.

HPCwire: On a personal note, can you talk about your personal life? Your family, background, any hobbies?

Stephane Requena: I’m 43 years old, married and I live close to Paris. I enjoy running, skiing and watching the stars, movies and rugby games.

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