PRACEdays 2017: The start of a beautiful week in Barcelona

By Kim McMahon

May 17, 2017

Guest contributor Kim McMahon shares highlights from day one of the PRACEdays 2017 conference in Barcelona taking place this week. The theme of the event is “HPC for innovation – when science meets industry.”

Touching down in Barcelona on Saturday afternoon, it was warm, sunny, and oh so Spanish. I was greeted at my hotel with a glass of Cava to sip and treated to a tour of the historic hotel. A short rest, walk around Barcelona, and a little bit of work filled the time until dinner — at 8pm.

On Tuesday morning, PRACEdays 2017 commenced as part of the European Summit Week. The program began with a welcome by Sergi Girona, EXDCI coordinator, and Serge Bogaerts, managing director of PRACE, outlining the week of plenaries, keynotes, breakout sessions, BoFs, and poster sessions. There will be a lot to see and learn this week in Barcelona!

PRACE Council Chair Anwar Osseyran was next with a detailed overview of PRACE achievements and the challenges ahead. PRACE prides themselves on providing open access of the best HPC systems for European scientists. Their criterion: scientific excellence.

Anwar Osseyran at PRACEdays 2017

In the PRACE partnerships, there are seven “Tier 0” systems (top systems available for international use), including the recent addition Piz Daint, currently number eight on the Top500 list. Of the seven world-class systems they have, there are over 60 petaflops of peak performance enabling 524 scientific projects.

Anwar has positioned the challenges PRACE sees in how to adapt and modernize HPC Infrastructure into four quadrants:

  • European open science cloud: Enabling persistent access to data. This is a huge challenge affecting health care.
  • Strong HPC infrastructures for data processing.
  • Adapting HPC solutions for cloud environments to make it easy and accessible for scientists.
  • How to achieve exascale.

As PRACE considers these challenges, the question of funding comes in. How will PRACE fund all their ambitions? If they can’t do it all, what technologies and applications should they focus on? As Anwar says, consider the “mundane versus heavenly science. It’s about choices.

On more than one occasion during his presentation, Anwar discussed the concept of collaboration among the communities versus the benefits of competition. Anwar suggested that competition among scientists produces better results. I would have thought that collaboration among the supercomputing centers would be more of a norm – sharing resources, results — all contributing to better science.

As Anwar said in his closing statement: “It’s about finding a balance between traditional, disruptive, and fundamental science.”

The first keynote was delivered by Minna Palmroth, titled Understanding Near-Earth Space in Six Dimensions.

Minna Palmroth at PRACEdays 2017

The thing I really love about events like this is the opportunity to learn more about the science, the big science problems, and things I’ve never thought about. Minna hit the mark in her presentation on near-space problems.

The Earth has radiation belts. Navigation and weather satellites sail in plasma around the Earth, traversing the radiation belts. Two types of phenomena are affecting spacecraft and satellites: A single event upset (like a system failure), and the aging of the spacecraft due to the harsh radiation they experience in the radiation belts.

The radiation belt situation is already extremely important, but will be more important in the future as the number of spacecraft grows. The challenge in a nutshell: how to simulate large, and ever increasing numbers of spacecraft in the radiation belt requires a dense grid, and complex grid calculations in multiple dimensions simultaneously.

Minna is a research professor and unit head with the department of physics at the University of Helsinki, Finland. They are solving parallelization on three levels:

  • Across nodes on clusters and supercomputers using MPI.
  • Across multiple cores within a node using OpenMP.
  • Within cores with vectorization.

Their most recent development supports multiple ions, an optimised boundary conditions implementation resulting in improved scaling. This has given them the processing power and speed to do the math needed for the near-space problems they have identified.

The simulations Minna shared of solar winds and radiation belts as they hit the Earth’s atmosphere are fascinating. The solar winds create significant amounts of heat that dissipate and spread around the Earth’s atmosphere.

The system Vlasiator is a newly developed large-scale space physics model. The goal is to model the entire near-Earth space, going far beyond the existing large-scale plasma simulations. This will take the modeling from the current solar winds and radiation belts to space weather and spacecraft instrument optimization. Vlasiator has been used to discover phenomena that no one thought existed, and with the continued modeling improvements such as adding machine learning, Vlasiator will be an important tool to understanding space phenomena and methods to protect spacecraft, technological systems, or human life in space.

The second keynote, Using Big-Data Methodologies in the Chemical Industry, was given by Telli van der Lei.

The information shared by Telli is not surprising; we have long known that modeling supply chains can produce positive results. Regardless, this is a topic that can’t be discussed enough, especially in a conference that is heavily research and academic (approximately 73% of the attendees). Talking about the business application of the science they are modeling and the improvements it enables is a good thing. It takes science and computation that was developed in one place, used and enhanced in another, and demonstrating it back to the first place.

Telli van der Lei at PRACEdays 2017

Telli is an academic, now working for industry. She works for DSM as a senior scientist in the Supply Chain and Process Modeling. Doing the modeling in industry, Telli professes, can be quite hard. In her presentation, Telli talks about the industry issues DSM thinks about, the results they achieved with their Supply Chain Modeling, and the challenges she thinks about going forward.

For industry issues, health is number one. I would argue that nearly every country in the world has the issues of aging population, healthcare, and optimal food composition. After health, nutrition, how to feed the growing population, and the drive of urbanization creating clusters of humans while decreasing farming space is a growing issue. Lastly, resource constraints of available materials to feed into the supply chain is a major issue.

Kim McMahon, XAND McMahon

DSM uses computer modeling to simulate the supply chain from raw materials to manufacturing, warehouse to the client. Using the modeling and incorporating the process into their supply chain, they have realized some amazing results in correctness of orders, reduction in supply chain costs, reduction of inventory, and a more efficient, flexible, and responsive supply chain.

Out of all this, they have modeling and advanced analytics which have come from their proven successes. They still see challenges such as from a modeling perspective, how do you optimize the input, output, and runtime of existing models or incorporate the business choices in models? They can use HPC to simulate, but how are you convinced your results have value? As Telli said: “It’s not yay – here we go [with our results], it’s how you change your business.”

Feature image by Bernard Gagnon via Creative Commons

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!

InfiniBand Still Tops in Supercomputing

July 19, 2018

In the competitive global HPC landscape, system and processor vendors, nations and end user sites certainly get a lot of attention--deservedly so--but more than ever, the network plays a crucial role. While fast, perform Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC for Life: Genomics, Brain Research, and Beyond

July 19, 2018

During the past few decades, the life sciences have witnessed one landmark discovery after another with the aid of HPC, paving the way toward a new era of personalized treatments based on an individual’s genetic makeup Read more…

By Warren Froelich

WCRP’s New Strategic Plan for Climate Research Highlights the Importance of HPC

July 19, 2018

As climate modeling increasingly leverages exascale computing and researchers warn of an impending computing gap in climate research, the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) is developing its new Strategic Plan – and high-performance computing is slated to play a critical role. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

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

Are Your Software Licenses Impeding Your Productivity?

In my previous article, Improving chip yield rates with cognitive manufacturing, I highlighted the costs associated with semiconductor manufacturing, and how cognitive methods can yield benefits in both design and manufacture.  Read more…

U.S. Exascale Computing Project Releases Software Technology Progress Report

July 19, 2018

As is often noted the race to exascale computing isn’t just about hardware. This week the U.S. Exascale Computing Project (ECP) released its latest Software Technology (ST) Capability Assessment Report detailing progress so far. Read more…

By John Russell

InfiniBand Still Tops in Supercomputing

July 19, 2018

In the competitive global HPC landscape, system and processor vendors, nations and end user sites certainly get a lot of attention--deservedly so--but more than Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC for Life: Genomics, Brain Research, and Beyond

July 19, 2018

During the past few decades, the life sciences have witnessed one landmark discovery after another with the aid of HPC, paving the way toward a new era of perso Read more…

By Warren Froelich

D-Wave Breaks New Ground in Quantum Simulation

July 16, 2018

Last Friday D-Wave scientists and colleagues published work in Science which they say represents the first fulfillment of Richard Feynman’s 1982 notion that Read more…

By John Russell

AI Thought Leaders on Capitol Hill

July 14, 2018

On Thursday, July 12, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology heard from four academic and industry leaders – representatives from Berkeley Lab, Argonne Lab, GE Global Research and Carnegie Mellon University – on the opportunities springing from the intersection of machine learning and advanced-scale computing. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

HPC Serves as a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for the Information Age

July 12, 2018

In an age defined and transformed by its data, several large-scale scientific instruments around the globe might be viewed as a ‘mother lode’ of precious data. With names seemingly created for a ‘techno-speak’ glossary, these interferometers, cyclotrons, sequencers, solenoids, satellite altimeters, and cryo-electron microscopes are churning out data in previously unthinkable and seemingly incomprehensible quantities -- billions, trillions and quadrillions of bits and bytes of electro-magnetic code. Read more…

By Warren Froelich

Tsinghua Powers Through ISC18 Field

July 10, 2018

Tsinghua University topped all other competitors at the ISC18 Student Cluster Competition with an overall score of 88.43 out of 100. This gives Tsinghua their s Read more…

By Dan Olds

HPE, EPFL Launch Blue Brain 5 Supercomputer

July 10, 2018

HPE and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausannne (EPFL) Blue Brain Project yesterday introduced Blue Brain 5, a new supercomputer built by HPE, which displ Read more…

By John Russell

Pumping New Life into HPC Clusters, the Case for Liquid Cooling

July 10, 2018

High Performance Computing (HPC) faces some daunting challenges in the coming years as traditional, industry-standard systems push the boundaries of data center Read more…

By Scott Tease

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17

Altair

AMD @ SC17

AMD

ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack

CEJN @ SC17

CEJN

DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17

Huawei

IBM @ SC17

IBM

IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17

Intel

Lenovo @ SC17

Lenovo

Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17

Microsoft

Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17

Supericro

Tyan @ SC17

Tyan

Univa @ SC17

Univa

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