The Essential ISC

By Michael Feldman

June 18, 2009

As I get ready to head to Hamburg for the 24th running of the International Supercomputing Conference, I’m taking a last look at the conference agenda to make sure I don’t miss any interesting bits. Fortunately the conference maintains a plenary track of sessions, but there are other activities — BoF sessions, exhibitions, poster sessions, and the obligatory networking and meetings — taking place in parallel, so some planning is mandatory. With that in mind, I thought I’d point to the some of the highlights of the four-day supercomputing extravaganza.

Of course the opening session on Tuesday includes the much-anticipated announcement of the latest TOP500 list. I’ve got to admit, I love the horsepower race, but this year might not have the excitement of recent lists, when petaflop supers were breaking onto the scene. Unless IBM manages some last-minute surprise, ORNL’s Jaguar super will take over the number one spot from the Roadrunner machine at Los Alamos. There is also the expectation that the rest of the top 10 will be shuffled as the newest international supers find their place.

The most interesting aspect to watch may be the TOP500 list’s turnover rate, which has accelerated recently. Because of the crummy economy though, some are predicting a dip in TOP500 volatility. The turnover, or lack thereof, is not likely to excite the mainstream IT press very much, but this is something I’ll be watching.

At the end of the opening session is Andy Bechtolsheim’s keynote, which focuses on the evolution of HPC interconnects. Bechtolsheim, who co-founded Sun Microsystems and is now the chief development officer at Arista Networks, seems to have impeccable timing with industry trends. His original $100,000 investment in Google is now thought to be worth over $1 billion. In 2007 he co-founded 10GbE switch maker Arista Networks, just as the fortunes of his original firm, Sun Microsystems, seemed to be heading south. Bechtolsheim is always worth listening to.

Later on opening day, you have a choice of sessions: one on HPC climate modeling and the other on supercomputing challenges in aeronautics, as well as a gaggle of scientific research sessions and BoF meetings. Unless you have a particular research interest in aeronautics or one of the super-science topics, I’d go for the climate modeling session, and in particular, the panel discussion in the afternoon: “If Global Change is the Grand Challenge Application, Do We Need a World Climate Computing Center?” Great question, and in the age of supercomputing one-upmanship, it implies we’ll need some political finesse to build a global HPC capability.

Finally, don’t miss the opening day welcome party, starting at 6:00 p.m. and presumably ending when the food and beer run out. Good chance to chat with the exhibitors, future employers, close friends and despised enemies. It’s not as exhausting as it sounds. In many cases, these are all the same people.

Which brings us to Wednesday. If you only go to one presentation the whole week, I’d recommend the cloud computing session Cloud Computing in HPC — Synergy or Competition. Current deployments and use cases of cloud technology, and assessments of how the cloud model fits with high performance computing will be discussed. There’s an all-star cast of HPC movers and shakers coming from traditional vendors (IBM, Sun, HP and Microsoft) as well as the high-flying cloud companies (Google, Amazon and Yahoo). A panel discussion at the end wraps it up. Two of the panel participants are Google and Microsoft, so there is a possibility of gun-play.

Later that day is the first hot seat session, which puts some of the top brass at 18 HPC companies on the spot. The vendors are given 10 minutes to speak their piece and then field a couple of questions from “hand-picked inquisitors,” most of whom come from the HPC research community. On Wednesday, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Bull, Spectra Logic, Fujitsu, BlueArc, Cluster Resources, and Cray get grilled. On Thursday, the second hot seat session puts Sun Microsystems, Supermicro, HP, SGI, Mellanox, Myricom, QLogic, Force10, and NEC under the spotlight. An ISC tradition.

Also on Wednesday, LSU professor and HPC maven Thomas Sterling will deliver his customary state-of-the-supercomputer address for 2009. Sterling is always informative and entertaining. Not to be missed.

On Thursday, a couple of academicians try to answer the existentialist question for the multicore obsessed: What the heck is with all these cores? The multicore session features Yale N. Patt, Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and Kathy Yelick, Director of NERSC and CS prof at UC Berkeley. Patt will talk about future architectural directions of multicore processors, while Yelick will give us the latest developments on the software side.

For something completely different, you’ll want to check out IBM’s Prof. Dr. Gunter Dueck’s keynote on Thursday afternoon. His presentation is about Lean Brain Management. What pray tell is that, you ask? From the session summary:

Lean Brain Management aims at economizing on intelligence by moving all the necessary brain work in to a perfect system which can be handled by completely unskilled workers, the future “morons”. Only the system must be intelligent, not the employees. We estimate that a perfect system can be designed by a few intelligent people, the so-called “moronorgs”, who dumb down all business processes to perfect foolproof Lean Brain Quality.

Groovy. Presumably mind-expanding drugs will be handed out before the talk.

On Friday, make sure you attend the morning session on what’s being done with the new petaflop (and a few near-petaflop) machines around the world. In this session, we hear from some of the masters of the petaverse from the US, China, India, Germany, and Switzerland.

That wraps up my hot picks. To see the entire conference schedule, take a look here.

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!

Nvidia Aims Clara Healthcare at Drug Discovery, Imaging via DGX

April 12, 2021

Nvidia Corp. continues to expand its Clara healthcare platform with the addition of computational drug discovery and medical imaging tools based on its DGX A100 platform, related InfiniBand networking and its AGX develop Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fledged partner to CPUs and GPUs in delivering advanced computi Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” The newly announced SuperPods come just two years after the Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Volkswagen Passenger Cars Uses NICE DCV for High-Performance 3D Remote Visualization

 

Volkswagen Passenger Cars has been one of the world’s largest car manufacturers for over 70 years. The company delivers more than 6 million automobiles to global customers every year, from 50 production locations on five continents. Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U.S. Entity List bars U.S. firms from supplying key technolog Read more…

Nvidia Serves Up Its First Arm Datacenter CPU ‘Grace’ During Kitchen Keynote

April 12, 2021

Today at Nvidia’s annual spring GPU technology conference, held virtually once more due to the ongoing pandemic, the company announced its first ever Arm-based CPU, called Grace in honor of the famous American programmer Grace Hopper. Read more…

Nvidia Debuts BlueField-3 – Its Next DPU with Big Plans for an Expanded Role

April 12, 2021

Nvidia today announced its next generation data processing unit (DPU) – BlueField-3 – adding more substance to its evolving concept of the DPU as a full-fle Read more…

Nvidia’s Newly DPU-Enabled SuperPOD Is a Multi-Tenant, Cloud-Native Supercomputer

April 12, 2021

At GTC 2021, Nvidia has announced an upgraded iteration of its DGX SuperPods, calling the new offering “the first cloud-native, multi-tenant supercomputer.” Read more…

Tune in to Watch Nvidia’s GTC21 Keynote with Jensen Huang – Recording Now Available

April 12, 2021

Join HPCwire right here on Monday, April 12, at 8:30 am PT to see the Nvidia GTC21 keynote from Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, livestreamed in its entirety. Hosted by HPCwire, you can click to join the Huang keynote on our livestream to hear Nvidia’s expected news and... Read more…

The US Places Seven Additional Chinese Supercomputing Entities on Blacklist

April 8, 2021

As tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer, the U.S. government today added seven Chinese supercomputing entities to an economic blacklist. The U Read more…

Habana’s AI Silicon Comes to San Diego Supercomputer Center

April 8, 2021

Habana Labs, an Intel-owned AI company, has partnered with server maker Supermicro to provide high-performance, high-efficiency AI computing in the form of new Read more…

Intel Partners Debut Latest Servers Based on the New Intel Gen 3 ‘Ice Lake’ Xeons

April 7, 2021

Fresh from Intel’s launch of the company’s latest third-generation Xeon Scalable “Ice Lake” processors on April 6 (Tuesday), Intel server partners Cisco, Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo simultaneously unveiled their first server models built around the latest chips. And though arch-rival AMD may... Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

Julia Update: Adoption Keeps Climbing; Is It a Python Challenger?

January 13, 2021

The rapid adoption of Julia, the open source, high level programing language with roots at MIT, shows no sign of slowing according to data from Julialang.org. I Read more…

Intel Launches 10nm ‘Ice Lake’ Datacenter CPU with Up to 40 Cores

April 6, 2021

The wait is over. Today Intel officially launched its 10nm datacenter CPU, the third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor, codenamed Ice Lake. With up to 40 Read more…

CERN Is Betting Big on Exascale

April 1, 2021

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) involves 23 countries, 15,000 researchers, billions of dollars a year, and the biggest machine in the worl Read more…

Programming the Soon-to-Be World’s Fastest Supercomputer, Frontier

January 5, 2021

What’s it like designing an app for the world’s fastest supercomputer, set to come online in the United States in 2021? The University of Delaware’s Sunita Chandrasekaran is leading an elite international team in just that task. Chandrasekaran, assistant professor of computer and information sciences, recently was named... Read more…

HPE Launches Storage Line Loaded with IBM’s Spectrum Scale File System

April 6, 2021

HPE today launched a new family of storage solutions bundled with IBM’s Spectrum Scale Erasure Code Edition parallel file system (description below) and featu Read more…

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

Saudi Aramco Unveils Dammam 7, Its New Top Ten Supercomputer

January 21, 2021

By revenue, oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco is one of the largest companies in the world, and it has historically employed commensurate amounts of supercomputing Read more…

Quantum Computer Start-up IonQ Plans IPO via SPAC

March 8, 2021

IonQ, a Maryland-based quantum computing start-up working with ion trap technology, plans to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) merger a Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

Can Deep Learning Replace Numerical Weather Prediction?

March 3, 2021

Numerical weather prediction (NWP) is a mainstay of supercomputing. Some of the first applications of the first supercomputers dealt with climate modeling, and Read more…

Livermore’s El Capitan Supercomputer to Debut HPE ‘Rabbit’ Near Node Local Storage

February 18, 2021

A near node local storage innovation called Rabbit factored heavily into Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s decision to select Cray’s proposal for its CORAL-2 machine, the lab’s first exascale-class supercomputer, El Capitan. Details of this new storage technology were revealed... Read more…

New Deep Learning Algorithm Solves Rubik’s Cube

July 25, 2018

Solving (and attempting to solve) Rubik’s Cube has delighted millions of puzzle lovers since 1974 when the cube was invented by Hungarian sculptor and archite Read more…

African Supercomputing Center Inaugurates ‘Toubkal,’ Most Powerful Supercomputer on the Continent

February 25, 2021

Historically, Africa hasn’t exactly been synonymous with supercomputing. There are only a handful of supercomputers on the continent, with few ranking on the Read more…

The History of Supercomputing vs. COVID-19

March 9, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a greater challenge to the high-performance computing community than any before. HPCwire's coverage of the supercomputing response t Read more…

HPE Names Justin Hotard New HPC Chief as Pete Ungaro Departs

March 2, 2021

HPE CEO Antonio Neri announced today (March 2, 2021) the appointment of Justin Hotard as general manager of HPC, mission critical solutions and labs, effective Read more…

AMD Launches Epyc ‘Milan’ with 19 SKUs for HPC, Enterprise and Hyperscale

March 15, 2021

At a virtual launch event held today (Monday), AMD revealed its third-generation Epyc “Milan” CPU lineup: a set of 19 SKUs -- including the flagship 64-core, 280-watt 7763 part --  aimed at HPC, enterprise and cloud workloads. Notably, the third-gen Epyc Milan chips achieve 19 percent... Read more…

Microsoft, HPE Bringing AI, Edge, Cloud to Earth Orbit in Preparation for Mars Missions

February 12, 2021

The International Space Station will soon get a delivery of powerful AI, edge and cloud computing tools from HPE and Microsoft Azure to expand technology experi Read more…

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire