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!

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has been unveiled in upstate New York that will be used by IBM Read more…

By Doug Black

At SC19: Developing a Digital Twin

December 11, 2019

In the not too distant future, we can expect to see our skies filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) delivering packages, maybe even people, from location to location. In such a world, there will also be a digita Read more…

By Aaron Dubrow

Supercomputers Help Predict Carbon Dioxide Levels

December 10, 2019

The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems – its lands, forests, jungles and so on – are crucial “sinks” for atmospheric carbon, holding nearly 30 percent of our annual CO2 emissions as they breathe in the carbon-rich Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Finally! SC19 Competitors Live and in Color!

December 10, 2019

You know the saying “better late than never”? That’s how my cluster competition coverage is faring this year. With SC19 coming late in November, quickly followed by my annual trip to South Africa to cover their clu Read more…

By Dan Olds

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum processor chips. The new controller is a mixed-signal SoC named Ho Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Making High Performance Computing Affordable and Accessible for Small and Medium Businesses with HPC on AWS

High performance computing (HPC) brings a powerful set of tools to a broad range of industries, helping to drive innovation and boost revenue in finance, genomics, oil and gas extraction, and other fields. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

GPU Scheduling and Resource Accounting: The Key to an Efficient AI Data Center

[Connect with LSF users and learn new skills in the IBM Spectrum LSF User Community!]

GPUs are the new CPUs

GPUs have become a staple technology in modern HPC and AI data centers. Read more…

What’s New in HPC Research: Natural Gas, Precision Agriculture, Neural Networks and More

December 6, 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

RPI Powers Up ‘AiMOS’ AI Supercomputer

December 11, 2019

Designed to push the frontiers of computing chip and systems performance optimized for AI workloads, an 8 petaflops (Linpack) IBM Power9-based supercomputer has Read more…

By Doug Black

Intel’s Jim Clarke on its New Cryo-controller and why Intel isn’t Late to the Quantum Party

December 9, 2019

Intel today introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ cryo-controller chip for quantum computing and previewed a cryo-prober tool for characterizing quantum proces Read more…

By John Russell

On the Spack Track @SC19

December 5, 2019

At the annual supercomputing conference, SC19 in Denver, Colorado, there were Spack events each day of the conference. As a reflection of its grassroots heritage, nine sessions were planned by more than a dozen thought leaders from seven organizations, including three U.S. national Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and Sylabs... Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake

Intel’s New Hyderabad Design Center Targets Exascale Era Technologies

December 3, 2019

Intel's Raja Koduri was in India this week to help launch a new 300,000 square foot design and engineering center in Hyderabad, which will focus on advanced com Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

AWS Debuts 7nm 2nd-Gen Graviton Arm Processor

December 3, 2019

The “x86 Big Bang,” in which market dominance of the venerable Intel CPU has exploded into fragments of processor options suited to varying workloads, has n Read more…

By Doug Black

Ride on the Wild Side – Squyres SC19 Mars Rovers Keynote

December 2, 2019

Reminding us of the deep and enabling connection between HPC and modern science is an important part of the SC Conference mission. And yes, HPC is a science its Read more…

By John Russell

NSCI Update – Adapting to a Changing Landscape

December 2, 2019

It was November of 2017 when we last visited the topic of the National Strategic Computing Initiative (NSCI). As you will recall, the NSCI was started with an Executive Order (E.O. No. 13702), that was issued by President Obama in July of 2015 and was followed by a Strategic Plan that was released in July of 2016. The question for November of 2017... Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Tsinghua University Racks Up Its Ninth Student Cluster Championship Win at SC19

November 27, 2019

Tsinghua University has done it again. At SC19 last week, the eight-time gold medal-winner team took home the top prize in the 2019 Student Cluster Competition Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Using AI to Solve One of the Most Prevailing Problems in CFD

October 17, 2019

How can artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) solve mesh generation, one of the most commonly referenced problems in computational engineering? A new study has set out to answer this question and create an industry-first AI-mesh application... Read more…

By James Sharpe

D-Wave’s Path to 5000 Qubits; Google’s Quantum Supremacy Claim

September 24, 2019

On the heels of IBM’s quantum news last week come two more quantum items. D-Wave Systems today announced the name of its forthcoming 5000-qubit system, Advantage (yes the name choice isn’t serendipity), at its user conference being held this week in Newport, RI. Read more…

By John Russell

DARPA Looks to Propel Parallelism

September 4, 2019

As Moore’s law runs out of steam, new programming approaches are being pursued with the goal of greater hardware performance with less coding. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency is launching a new programming effort aimed at leveraging the benefits of massive distributed parallelism with less sweat. Read more…

By George Leopold

Ayar Labs to Demo Photonics Chiplet in FPGA Package at Hot Chips

August 19, 2019

Silicon startup Ayar Labs continues to gain momentum with its DARPA-backed optical chiplet technology that puts advanced electronics and optics on the same chip Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: IBM Changes Its HPC-AI Game Plan

November 25, 2019

It’s probably fair to say IBM is known for big bets. Summit supercomputer – a big win. Red Hat acquisition – looking like a big win. OpenPOWER and Power processors – jury’s out? At SC19, long-time IBMer Dave Turek sketched out a different kind of bet for Big Blue – a small ball strategy, if you’ll forgive the baseball analogy... Read more…

By John Russell

Cray, Fujitsu Both Bringing Fujitsu A64FX-based Supercomputers to Market in 2020

November 12, 2019

The number of top-tier HPC systems makers has shrunk due to a steady march of M&A activity, but there is increased diversity and choice of processing compon Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Crystal Ball Gazing: IBM’s Vision for the Future of Computing

October 14, 2019

Dario Gil, IBM’s relatively new director of research, painted a intriguing portrait of the future of computing along with a rough idea of how IBM thinks we’ Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Debuts New GPU – Ponte Vecchio – and Outlines Aspirations for oneAPI

November 17, 2019

Intel today revealed a few more details about its forthcoming Xe line of GPUs – the top SKU is named Ponte Vecchio and will be used in Aurora, the first plann Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 2019 Virtual Booth Video Tour

AMD
AMD
CEJN
CJEN
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
ONE STOP SYSTEMS
PANASAS
PANASAS
SIX NINES IT
SIX NINES IT
VERNE GLOBAL
VERNE GLOBAL
WEKAIO
WEKAIO

Kubernetes, Containers and HPC

September 19, 2019

Software containers and Kubernetes are important tools for building, deploying, running and managing modern enterprise applications at scale and delivering enterprise software faster and more reliably to the end user — while using resources more efficiently and reducing costs. Read more…

By Daniel Gruber, Burak Yenier and Wolfgang Gentzsch, UberCloud

Dell Ramps Up HPC Testing of AMD Rome Processors

October 21, 2019

Dell Technologies is wading deeper into the AMD-based systems market with a growing evaluation program for the latest Epyc (Rome) microprocessors from AMD. In a Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Wins NNSA-Livermore ‘El Capitan’ Exascale Contract

August 13, 2019

Cray has won the bid to build the first exascale supercomputer for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Lawrence Livermore National Laborator Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

SC19: Welcome to Denver

November 17, 2019

A significant swath of the HPC community has come to Denver for SC19, which began today (Sunday) with a rich technical program. As is customary, the ribbon cutt Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

When Dense Matrix Representations Beat Sparse

September 9, 2019

In our world filled with unintended consequences, it turns out that saving memory space to help deal with GPU limitations, knowing it introduces performance pen Read more…

By James Reinders

With the Help of HPC, Astronomers Prepare to Deflect a Real Asteroid

September 26, 2019

For years, NASA has been running simulations of asteroid impacts to understand the risks (and likelihoods) of asteroids colliding with Earth. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the next, crucial step in planetary defense against asteroid impacts: physically deflecting a real asteroid. Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Cerebras to Supply DOE with Wafer-Scale AI Supercomputing Technology

September 17, 2019

Cerebras Systems, which debuted its wafer-scale AI silicon at Hot Chips last month, has entered into a multi-year partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as part of a larger collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Jensen Huang’s SC19 – Fast Cars, a Strong Arm, and Aiming for the Cloud(s)

November 20, 2019

We’ve come to expect Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s annual SC keynote to contain stunning graphics and lively bravado (with plenty of examples) in support of GPU 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