HPC User Forum Prepares for Lively April Meeting

By Nicole Hemsoth

May 19, 2006

HPC User Forum officials encourage all interested members of the HPC community to register soon for the April 10-12, 2006 meeting at the historic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. For more information (including the preliminary agenda) or to register, go to www.hpcuserforum.com. HPC User Forum meetings are co-sponsored by HPCwire.

“We have strong early registrations, and we're looking forward to another exciting, information-packed meeting like our September 2005 meeting at ORNL, which received very positive evaluations,” according to Earl Joseph, IDC, who serves as executive director of the HPC User Forum.

“The April meeting will continue to explore leadership computing in the U.S. and around the world,” said Paul Muzio, who chairs the HPC User Forum steering committee and represents the Army HPC Research Center and Network Computing Services, Inc. (NCSI). “We'll have a great line-up of speakers representing national petaflops initiatives from as far away as China; major global collaborations such as ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) and IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change); and government agencies that are major purchasers and users of HPC.”

The meeting will include a substantial component on HPC in industry. “We'll have speakers from the aerospace, automotive, petroleum, weather/climate and other industries,” said Muzio. In addition, there will be presentations from large commercial firms recently awarded DOE Incite grants and an update on the activities of the Council on Competitiveness, whose research initiatives with IDC helped to shape the Bush Administration's increased focus on supercomputing.

In his State-of-the-Union address and in his speech the next day, President Bush proposed to increase the focus on supercomputing and to “double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing and alternative energy sources.” To support this goal, President Bush proposed doubling the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Energy (DOE) budgets over the next decade.

The technical topic for the April meeting is storage systems and data management. Brad Blasing of the Army HPC Center and NCSI will chair panel sessions featuring users from government, industry and academia, who will discuss their requirements, and what is and isn't working well today.

The “storage systems” topic is aimed at covering three areas: shared file systems software, hierarchical storage systems software, and hardware media (solid state, magnetic disk, optical disk, tape). Representatives of the user community will present on their current and future (5 to 10 years out) requirements for storage systems. Confirmed speakers for this part of the meeting include Boeing, General Motors and Pfizer, as well as government and university-based organizations.

Vendors of storage systems products will be asked to provide information on their perception of technology trends over the next 5 to 10 years, including cost and performance trends in media technology (solid state, optical, magnetic disk, magnetic tape, new technologies); back-up and off-site storage support for collections of extremely large data files; readability for extremely large data sets that need long-term preservation; software storage systems futurity; and what future hierarchical storage systems will look like.

HPC systems vendors will give back-to-back technical updates on Monday evening, using a format that worked well in the fall 2005 HPC User Forum meeting held at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“There are still a few open spots on the agenda and I invite users who are doing really interesting things to contact me directly at [email protected],” said Joseph.

The HPC User Forum was founded in 1999 to advance the state of high-performance computing through open discussions, information sharing and initiatives involving HPC users in industry, government and academia, along with HPC vendors and other interested parties. The organization has grown to more than 150 members.

“We've had a positive impact on making better benchmarks available, which was the number one issue brought forward by users, and we're engaged with other organizations in an effort to improve programming models and the scalability of ISV applications. We want to make sure we're discussing and acting on other important user issues that are out there,” said Joseph.

The annual academic membership fee has been reduced to $1,500 and this includes electronic copies of all HPC User Forum and IDC research publications distributed to members.

Joseph noted that the overall HPC market has had two successive growth years and in 2005 had record revenue estimated at over $9 billion.

The HPC User Forum is directed by a steering committee consisting of users/buyers from government, industry and academia, and is operated for the users by market analyst firm IDC, in partnership with HPCwire.

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