Scaling an HPC Career in Nepal Can Be a Steep Climb

By Nages Sieslack

April 20, 2017

Umesh Upadhyaya works as an IT Associate at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal, which supports the country’s one and only HPC facility. He is directly involved in an initiative that focuses on climate change and atmosphere modeling, an area that has particular relevance to the country’s dependence on its agricultural production and hydroelectric power.

Part of what Umesh wants to accomplish at ICIMOD is acquiring the necessary technical skills so that he can assist research scientists in setting up and supporting HPC resources at the Nepal facility. Unfortunately, at this point the government doesn’t have the funds to allocate for training or workshops to help him acquire such skills.

Umesh Upadhyaya

The conference organizers for ISC High Performance became aware of his plight and are offering Umesh free registration for the tutorials, the conference and workshops at this year’s conference in June. STEM-Trek, a non-profit group that supports professional development for individuals from underserved regions who are trying to establish themselves in the HPC workforce, is trying to help him secure travel funding. The hope is that an ISC exhibitor will come forward to help sponsor his trip to Frankfurt, Germany.

ISC’s Nages Sieslack recently got an opportunity to speak with Umesh about his work, ICIMOD’s mission, and what he would like to achieve if he could attend the ISC conference this year.

Why are you interested in attending ISC 2017?

Umesh Upadhyaya: Scientific computing is such an exciting realm of technology and there is a severe lack of skills in Nepal in this particular area. By attending the ISC 2017, I would have the opportunity to network with academics, researchers, and representatives from industry and bring in a lot of experience to my organization via interactions in the various workshops, tutorials and conference sessions.

The ISC 2017 platform will also help me learn about advancements in infrastructure design, state-of-the-art hardware, breakthroughs in computational sciences, and the latest use cases of HPC.

Can you tell us a bit about ICIMOD and its purpose?

Umesh: The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge-sharing center, based in Kathmandu, Nepal. It serves the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. ICIMOD aims to assist mountain people to understand changes to their environment, adapt to them, and make the most of new opportunities, while also addressing upstream-downstream issues.

ICIMOD supports transboundary programs through partnership with regional partner institutions, facilitates the exchange of experience, and serve as a regional knowledge hub. It also strengthens networking among regional and global centers of excellence. Overall, we are working to develop an economically and environmentally sound mountain ecosystem to improve the living standards of local populations and to sustain vital services for the billions of people living downstream now, and in the future.

Can you describe your center’s current HPC capabilities?

Umesh: The High-Performance Center provides a unique ability to access the latest systems, CPUs, and networking technologies. ICIMOD has installed and is operating a high performance computing cluster based on Dell blade servers equipped with Intel Xeon processors. The center hosts a Linux environment and is specifically used for atmosphere modeling. Air quality scientists currently run the latest version of WRF, WRF-Chem, and STEM etc. in this HPC environment. The in-house Dell blade servers and storage system comprises 160 cores, 512 GB of memory and 100 TB of disk storage.

ICIMOD High-Performance Center also offers an environment for developing, testing, benchmarking and optimizing software. The center provides on-site technical support and enables secure sessions locally or remotely.

What kind of research are you and your project involved in, and how do you use HPC at the center?

Umesh: The cluster is currently available to ICIMOD scientists and PhD fellows for academic and research purposes, especially those related to weather and pollution models. The modeling software is currently supported by the GCC, Intel and PGI compilers.

I am working with research scientists to determine and compare run times of WRF v3.8 compiled with gfortran versus commercial Intel and PGI compilers. Currently, ICIMOD uses MPICH2 and gfortran for multi-CPU runs for WRF v3.8 in a multi-clustered environment, and recently we subscribed to PGI and Intel compilers. All our compute nodes are bare metal and have low-latency interconnects for better parallel processing performance. My research emphasis is on the performance of WRF on different software compilers using our 160-core Dell cluster.

What would you like to achieve by attending ISC 2017? 

Umesh: Attending ISC 2017 would be a professionally rewarding experience for someone like me, who is beginning his career in HPC. Sharing the same space with attendees at ISC will help me engage with the larger HPC community and hopefully return with new ideas that make me more effective at my work. Overall, I believe the conference will inspire me to grow and challenge myself in many areas of HPC.

ISC exhibitors interested in funding Umesh Upadhyaya can contact Elizabeth Leake of STEM-Trek at [email protected]

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!

NREL ‘Eagle’ Supercomputer to Advance Energy Tech R&D

August 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has contracted with HPE for a new 8-petaflops (peak) supercomputer that will be used to advance early-stage R&D on energy technologies s Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Training Time Slashed for Deep Learning

August 14, 2018, an organization offering free courses on deep learning, claimed a new speed record for training a popular image database using Nvidia GPUs running on public cloud infrastructure. A pair of researchers trained Read more…

By George Leopold

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learning. The CERN team demonstrated that AI-based models have the Read more…

By Rob Farber

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

Introducing the First Integrated System Management Software for HPC Clusters from HPE

How do you manage your complex, growing cluster environments? Answer that big challenge with the new HPC cluster management solution: HPE Performance Cluster Manager. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Super Problem Solving

You might think that tackling the world’s toughest problems is a job only for superheroes, but at special places such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, supercomputers are the real heroes. Read more…

Rigetti Eyes Scaling with 128-Qubit Architecture

August 10, 2018

Rigetti Computing plans to build a 128-qubit quantum computer based on an equivalent quantum processor that leverages emerging hybrid computing algorithms used to test programs and potential applications. Founded in 2 Read more…

By George Leopold

NREL ‘Eagle’ Supercomputer to Advance Energy Tech R&D

August 14, 2018

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has contracted with HPE for a new 8-petaflops (peak) supercomputer that will be Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CERN Project Sees Orders-of-Magnitude Speedup with AI Approach

August 14, 2018

An award-winning effort at CERN has demonstrated potential to significantly change how the physics based modeling and simulation communities view machine learni Read more…

By Rob Farber

Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Advances AI Strategy

August 9, 2018

Intel's chief datacenter exec Navin Shenoy kicked off the company's Data-Centric Innovation Summit Wednesday, the day-long program devoted to Intel's datacenter Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SLATE Update: Making Math Libraries Exascale-ready

August 9, 2018

Practically-speaking, achieving exascale computing requires enabling HPC software to effectively use accelerators – mostly GPUs at present – and that remain Read more…

By John Russell

Summertime in Washington: Some Unexpected Advanced Computing News

August 8, 2018

Summertime in Washington DC is known for its heat and humidity. That is why most people get away to either the mountains or the seashore and things slow down. H Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

NSF Invests $15 Million in Quantum STAQ

August 7, 2018

Quantum computing development is in full ascent as global backers aim to transcend the limitations of classical computing by leveraging the magical-seeming prop Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

By the Numbers: Cray Would Like Exascale to Be the Icing on the Cake

August 1, 2018

On its earnings call held for investors yesterday, Cray gave an accounting for its latest quarterly financials, offered future guidance and provided an update o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Google is First Partner in NIH’s STRIDES Effort to Speed Discovery in the Cloud

July 31, 2018

The National Institutes of Health, with the help of Google, last week launched STRIDES - Science and Technology Research Infrastructure for Discovery, Experimen Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17


AMD @ SC17


ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack



DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17


IBM @ SC17


IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17


Lenovo @ SC17


Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17


Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17


Tyan @ SC17


Univa @ SC17


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