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!

Pfizer HPC Engineer Aims to Automate Software Stack Testing

January 17, 2019

Seeking to reign in the tediousness of manual software testing, Pfizer HPC Engineer Shahzeb Siddiqui is developing an open source software tool called buildtest, aimed at automating software stack testing by providing the community with a central repository of tests for common HPC apps and the ability to automate execution of testing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Senegal Prepares to Take Delivery of Atos Supercomputer

January 16, 2019

In just a few months time, Senegal will be operating the second largest HPC system in sub-Saharan Africa. The Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Mary Teuw Niane made the announcement on Monday (Jan. 14 Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google Cloud Platform Extends GPU Instance Options

January 16, 2019

If it's Nvidia GPUs you're after to power your AI/HPC/visualization workload, Google Cloud has them, now claiming "broadest GPU availability." Each of the three big public cloud vendors has by turn touted the latest and Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE Systems With Intel Omni-Path: Architected for Value and Accessible High-Performance Computing

Today’s high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) users value high performing clusters. And the higher the performance that their system can deliver, the better. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Resource Management in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

New challenges demand fresh approaches

Fueled by GPUs, big data, and rapid advances in software, the AI revolution is upon us. Read more…

STAC Floats ML Benchmark for Financial Services Workloads

January 16, 2019

STAC (Securities Technology Analysis Center) recently released an ‘exploratory’ benchmark for machine learning which it hopes will evolve into a firm benchmark or suite of benchmarking tools to compare the performanc Read more…

By John Russell

Google Cloud Platform Extends GPU Instance Options

January 16, 2019

If it's Nvidia GPUs you're after to power your AI/HPC/visualization workload, Google Cloud has them, now claiming "broadest GPU availability." Each of the three Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

STAC Floats ML Benchmark for Financial Services Workloads

January 16, 2019

STAC (Securities Technology Analysis Center) recently released an ‘exploratory’ benchmark for machine learning which it hopes will evolve into a firm benchm Read more…

By John Russell

A Big Data Journey While Seeking to Catalog our Universe

January 16, 2019

It turns out, astronomers have lots of photos of the sky but seek knowledge about what the photos mean. Sound familiar? Big data problems are often characterize Read more…

By James Reinders

Intel Bets Big on 2-Track Quantum Strategy

January 15, 2019

Quantum computing has lived so long in the future it’s taken on a futuristic life of its own, with a Gartner-style hype cycle that includes triggers of innovation, inflated expectations and – though a useful quantum system is still years away – anticipatory troughs of disillusionment. Read more…

By Doug Black

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM’s New Global Weather Forecasting System Runs on GPUs

January 9, 2019

Anyone who has checked a forecast to decide whether or not to pack an umbrella knows that weather prediction can be a mercurial endeavor. It is a Herculean task: the constant modeling of incredibly complex systems to a high degree of accuracy at a local level within very short spans of time. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. 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

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

HPE No. 1, IBM Surges, in ‘Bucking Bronco’ High Performance Server Market

September 27, 2018

Riding healthy U.S. and global economies, strong demand for AI-capable hardware and other tailwind trends, the high performance computing server market jumped 28 percent in the second quarter 2018 to $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion for the same period last year, according to industry analyst firm Hyperion Research. Read more…

By Doug Black

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Summit Supercomputer is Already Making its Mark on Science

September 20, 2018

Summit, now the fastest supercomputer in the world, is quickly making its mark in science – five of the six finalists just announced for the prestigious 2018 Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Germany Celebrates Launch of Two Fastest Supercomputers

September 26, 2018

The new high-performance computer SuperMUC-NG at the Leibniz Supercomputing Center (LRZ) in Garching is the fastest computer in Germany and one of the fastest i Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Microsoft to Buy Mellanox?

December 20, 2018

Networking equipment powerhouse Mellanox could be an acquisition target by Microsoft, according to a published report in an Israeli financial publication. Microsoft has reportedly gone so far as to engage Goldman Sachs to handle negotiations with Mellanox. Read more…

By Doug Black

Houston to Field Massive, ‘Geophysically Configured’ Cloud Supercomputer

October 11, 2018

Based on some news stories out today, one might get the impression that the next system to crack number one on the Top500 would be an industrial oil and gas mon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

House Passes $1.275B National Quantum Initiative

September 17, 2018

Last Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Quantum Initiative Act (NQIA) intended to accelerate quantum computing research and developm Read more…

By John Russell

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