Perspectives on HPC and the SC Series of Conferences

By Tiffany Trader (HPC)

November 12, 2008

Once a year, the leading experts from the world of high performance computing gather at SC to assess the current state of HPC and to look ahead to what the future holds. These are the people creating the technologies that will shape our lives. This year, as the conference celebrates an amazing 20 years, several industry thought leaders and long-time attendees reflect on what is most important to them.

Dan Reed, Director of Scalable and Multicore Computing Strategy at Microsoft

Dan Reed

The SC conference continues to grow in scale, scope and variety, with a diverse set of workshops, plenary speakers, technical program sessions and, of course, the massive exhibit floor. In addition to the public program, there are a seemingly endless series of sidebar meetings and lots of technical socializing. Take advantage of the fact that you can talk to almost anyone connected to highperformance computing during the conference, but remember that you can overdo it and never be seen at any of the official venues!

Undoubtedly, one of the great hallway discussion topics will be the effect of the economic downturn on HPC research, infrastructure acquisitions and vendor finances. It is quite possible that some startups and smaller companies may not survive. For those in the U.S., the Presidential transition and the implications for research funding will also be hot topics.

Finally, I suspect two other discussions will center on the relationship between academic Grids and commercial clouds and the relationship between trans-petascale (exascale) options and the design of extremely large data centers. The latter is deeply connected to ecofriendly computing system design and energy efficiency. Answers these questions will affect the future of large-scale computing, our research investments, user communities and the types of applications we can support efficiently.

Remember — bring your running shoes. Your feet will thank you later.

Pete Ungaro, President and CEO of Cray Inc.

Pete Ungarro

Without a doubt, SC is the most important conference of the year for our community. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the conference but even more interesting is that this year’s event will officially kick off the start of a new era in HPC — the petascale era.

There will be a lot going on at the conference around petascale computing — vendors and customers highlighting their capabilities as well as end-users contemplating what will now be possible with this new-found power. A related and important theme will be green computing, especially how can petascale systems be built in a way that minimizes their impact on the environment. Cray, of course, is no exception — we are very excited about bringing petascale computing to our customers through our scalable system designs and innovative power and cooling technologies. We believe that the petascale era promises to enable significant technological breakthroughs as scientists and engineers are able to tackle larger problems with higher fidelity.

Be sure to take a few minutes to stop by our booth to see how we’re tackling the petascale challenge as well as bringing Cray supercomputing technology to individual users. Have a great conference!

Debra Goldfarb, President and CEO of Tabor Communications

Debra Goldfarb

Being an industry observer, I have seen a lot of change. Undoubtedly, we are entering an exciting innovation cycle in terms of technology, usage models and access. This year I have a few “rules of the road” which will guide my week in Austin:

Spend time on the periphery. there is a lot of interesting stuff to see which is not in the main hall, but rather in the small booths which sit out on the edges. This is where you can often get a window into “what’s next.” I will be looking for technology which enables productivity such as: appliances (application as well as infrastructure); development tools; application frameworks; energy efficiency concepts; and more adaptive access models (such as cloud or other webservice models).

Explore “Edge” HPC. Tabor Research is researching the use of HPC technologies and concepts outside of science and engineering. These include virtual worlds, ultra-scale infrastructure (such as search), complex event processing, and business optimization (such as real-time data mining). My goal is to better understand requirements, application evolution, and most importantly, what is in the “envelope” and what falls out.

The politics of science. Timing is everything and given the recent (and quite extraordinary) change in administration, it will be fascinating to get a read on what this means to this community. And, by the way, it should mean a lot in terms of priorities — in science, technology, industry and education.

Jack Dongarra, Distinguished Professor of EECS at the University of Tennessee

Jack Dongarra

I have attended all of the SC meetings, and won’t miss it for the world; it represents “Homecoming Week” for High Performance Computing.

This is truly an awesome time for high performance computing and computational science research, with a number of systems achieved performance exceeding the PFlop/s mark. There are a number of interesting problems that will need to be overcome as we are faced with systems with greater than a million threads of execution. Advancing to the next stage of growth for computational simulation and modeling will require us to solve basic research problems in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the same time as we create and promulgate a new paradigm for the development of scientific software.

To make progress on both fronts simultaneously will require a level of sustained, interdisciplinary collaboration among the core research communities that, in the past, has only been achieved by forming and supporting research centers dedicated to such a common purpose.

I see five important areas that will need attention; effective use of manycore and hybrid architectures, exploiting mixed precision in the algorithms, self adapting and auto tuning of software, fault tolerant algorithms, and communication avoiding algorithms.

William Feiereisen, Director DoD High Performance Computing, Lockheed Martin

William Feiereisen

I have attended most of the Supercomputing conferences since the 1980s. They always been one of the central opportunities to gather with virtually the entire scientific computing community and to see the latest developments in the spectrum of technologies that interact to make the field of supercomputing.

All of this is available in one place each year, everything from the applications and the important problems that they solve to the latest hardware upon which they run. There is a flavor of computational sciences which has always been my motivation and excitement about the field, but I also confess to not being immune to the latest raw hardware speed breakthroughs presented by each of the manufacturers.

I always plan my week around three things: the technical sessions and tutorials; the exhibits on the show floor; and increasingly in recent years, everyone else who attends and the possibility of much personal interaction. When I started my career, the technical sessions and tutorials dominated my time at SC, however I find much rewarding time is now spent in conversation over convention center coffee. Over the years I believe that many connections and ideas have been hatched at SC in just this way. There is a critical mass that gathers here each year and supports this atmosphere.

It’s for these reasons that I keep coming back each year and I look forward again this year to spending the week in Austin.

Marc Snir, Co-director, Universal Parallel Computing Research Center, University of Illinois

Marc Snir

Moore’s law does not mean, anymore, ever increasing processor performance; instead, it now means an ever increasing number of processors on a chip. Just waiting for processor performance to catch up to your needs is not an option, anymore; the only way to increase application performance, is to parallelize the application and scale it to an increasing number of processors.

This is a major new challenge. On the positive side, parallel programming is moving from being an esoteric art practiced by few experts into a a mainstream occupation. It becomes a major concern of large companies, such as Microsoft and Intel (see, for example, their investment in the Universal Parallel Computing Research Centers at Illinois and Berkeley).

This is an opportunity for the HPC community: Rather than building support for parallelism on top of sequential languages and programming environments, it becomes now possible to scaleup languages and environments that are build up-front to support parallelism and that are supported by massive investments.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

ISC 2019 Student Cluster Competition: Meet the Teams!

June 25, 2019

Finally! The videos have been rendered, the statistics compiled, and the story lines set. It’s time to share with you the incredible event that was the ISC 2019 Student Cluster Competition. So what’s a Student Clu Read more…

By Dan Olds

What’s New in HPC Research: Rock Art, Protein Design, Genome Assembly & More

June 25, 2019

In this bimonthly feature, HPCwire highlights newly published research in the high-performance computing community and related domains. From parallel programming to exascale to quantum computing, the details are here. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Benchmarks HC-series Across 20,000 cores for HPC

June 25, 2019

Cloud provider Microsoft Azure’s push into HPC continues to gain momentum. In a blog last week, Evan Burness, principal program manager, Azure HPC, announced HC-series Virtual Machine are now available in West US 2 and Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

For decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Rediscovering the Value of the Past

Some people would like to forget their past, perhaps for good reasons. But for business or research organizations, preserving institutional memory can be the key to thriving in the future. Read more…

MLPerf Expands Toolset; Launches Inferencing Suite

June 24, 2019

MLPerf today launched a benchmark suite for inferencing, v0.5, which joins the MLPerf training suite launched a little over a year ago. The new inferencing benchmark, which has been anticipated, covers models applicable Read more…

By John Russell

ISC 2019 Student Cluster Competition: Meet the Teams!

June 25, 2019

Finally! The videos have been rendered, the statistics compiled, and the story lines set. It’s time to share with you the incredible event that was the ISC 20 Read more…

By Dan Olds

MLPerf Expands Toolset; Launches Inferencing Suite

June 24, 2019

MLPerf today launched a benchmark suite for inferencing, v0.5, which joins the MLPerf training suite launched a little over a year ago. The new inferencing benc Read more…

By John Russell

Is Weather and Climate Prediction the Perfect ‘Pilot’ for Exascale?

June 21, 2019

At ISC 2019 this week, Peter Bauer – deputy director of research for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) – outlined an ambitious Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC Keynote: Thomas Sterling’s Take on Whither HPC

June 20, 2019

Entertaining, insightful, and unafraid to launch the occasional verbal ICBM, HPC pioneer Thomas Sterling delivered his 16th annual closing keynote at ISC yesterday. He explored, among other things: exascale machinations; quantum’s bubbling money pot; Arm’s new HPC viability; Europe’s... Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Claims No. 1 Commercial Supercomputer with Total Oil & Gas System 

June 20, 2019

IBM can now boast not only the two most powerful supercomputers in the world, it also has claimed the top spot for a supercomputer used in a commercial setting. Read more…

By Staff Report

HPC on Pace for 5-Year 6.8% CAGR; Guess Which Hyperscaler Spent $10B on IT Last Year?

June 20, 2019

In the neck-and-neck horse race for HPC server market share, HPE has hung on to a slim, shrinking lead over Dell EMC – but if server and storage market shares Read more…

By Doug Black

ISC 2019 Research Paper Award Winners Announced

June 19, 2019

At the 2019 International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this week, the ISC committee awarded the event's top prizes for outstanding research pape Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

ISC Keynote: The Algorithms of Life – Scientific Computing for Systems Biology

June 19, 2019

Systems biology has existed loosely under many definitions for a couple of decades. It’s the notion of describing living systems using first-principle physics Read more…

By John Russell

High Performance (Potato) Chips

May 5, 2006

In this article, we focus on how Procter & Gamble is using high performance computing to create some common, everyday supermarket products. Tom Lange, a 27-year veteran of the company, tells us how P&G models products, processes and production systems for the betterment of consumer package goods. Read more…

By Michael Feldman

Cray, AMD to Extend DOE’s Exascale Frontier

May 7, 2019

Cray and AMD are coming back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to partner on the world’s largest and most expensive supercomputer. The Department of Energy’s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Graphene Surprises Again, This Time for Quantum Computing

May 8, 2019

Graphene is fascinating stuff with promise for use in a seeming endless number of applications. This month researchers from the University of Vienna and Institu Read more…

By John Russell

Why Nvidia Bought Mellanox: ‘Future Datacenters Will Be…Like High Performance Computers’

March 14, 2019

“Future datacenters of all kinds will be built like high performance computers,” said Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang during a phone briefing on Monday after Nvidia revealed scooping up the high performance networking company Mellanox for $6.9 billion. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Verifies Its Largest 7nm Chip Design in Ten Hours

June 5, 2019

AMD announced last week that its engineers had successfully executed the first physical verification of its largest 7nm chip design – in just ten hours. The AMD Radeon Instinct Vega20 – which boasts 13.2 billion transistors – was tested using a TSMC-certified Calibre nmDRC software platform from Mentor. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

It’s Official: Aurora on Track to Be First US Exascale Computer in 2021

March 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy along with Intel and Cray confirmed today that an Intel/Cray supercomputer, "Aurora," capable of sustained performance of one exaf Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning Competitors Stalk Nvidia

May 14, 2019

There is no shortage of processing architectures emerging to accelerate deep learning workloads, with two more options emerging this week to challenge GPU leader Nvidia. First, Intel researchers claimed a new deep learning record for image classification on the ResNet-50 convolutional neural network. Separately, Israeli AI chip startup Read more…

By George Leopold

TSMC and Samsung Moving to 5nm; Whither Moore’s Law?

June 12, 2019

With reports that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC) and Samsung are moving quickly to 5nm manufacturing, it’s a good time to again ponder whither goes the venerable Moore’s law. Shrinking feature size has of course been the primary hallmark of achieving Moore’s law... Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

ISC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour


Nvidia Embraces Arm, Declares Intent to Accelerate All CPU Architectures

June 17, 2019

As the Top500 list was being announced at ISC in Frankfurt today with an upgraded petascale Arm supercomputer in the top third of the list, Nvidia announced its Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

Top500 Purely Petaflops; US Maintains Performance Lead

June 17, 2019

With the kick-off of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt this morning, the 53rd Top500 list made its debut, and this one's for petafl Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Cray – and the Cray Brand – to Be Positioned at Tip of HPE’s HPC Spear

May 22, 2019

More so than with most acquisitions of this kind, HPE’s purchase of Cray for $1.3 billion, announced last week, seems to have elements of that overused, often Read more…

By Doug Black and Tiffany Trader

Intel Launches Cascade Lake Xeons with Up to 56 Cores

April 2, 2019

At Intel's Data-Centric Innovation Day in San Francisco (April 2), the company unveiled its second-generation Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) family and debuted it Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Announcing four new HPC capabilities in Google Cloud Platform

April 15, 2019

When you’re running compute-bound or memory-bound applications for high performance computing or large, data-dependent machine learning training workloads on Read more…

By Wyatt Gorman, HPC Specialist, Google Cloud; Brad Calder, VP of Engineering, Google Cloud; Bart Sano, VP of Platforms, Google Cloud

In Wake of Nvidia-Mellanox: Xilinx to Acquire Solarflare

April 25, 2019

With echoes of Nvidia’s recent acquisition of Mellanox, FPGA maker Xilinx has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Solarflare Communications, provider Read more…

By Doug Black

Nvidia Claims 6000x Speed-Up for Stock Trading Backtest Benchmark

May 13, 2019

A stock trading backtesting algorithm used by hedge funds to simulate trading variants has received a massive, GPU-based performance boost, according to Nvidia, Read more…

By Doug Black

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This