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!

Russian and American Scientists Achieve 50% Increase in Data Transmission Speed

September 20, 2018

As high-performance computing becomes increasingly data-intensive and the demand for shorter turnaround times grows, data transfer speed becomes an ever more important bottleneck. Now, in an article published in IEEE Tra Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

IBM to Brand Rescale’s HPC-in-Cloud Platform

September 20, 2018

HPC (or big compute)-in-the-cloud platform provider Rescale has formalized the work it’s been doing in partnership with public cloud vendors by announcing its Powered by Rescale program – with IBM as its first named Read more…

By Doug Black

Democratization of HPC Part 1: Simulation Sheds Light on Building Dispute

September 20, 2018

This is the first of three articles demonstrating the growing acceptance of High Performance Computing especially in new user communities and application areas. Major reasons for this trend are the ongoing improvements i Read more…

By Wolfgang Gentzsch

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

Clouds Over the Ocean – a Healthcare Perspective

Advances in precision medicine, genomics, and imaging; the widespread adoption of electronic health records; and the proliferation of medical Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile devices are resulting in an explosion of structured and unstructured healthcare-related data. Read more…

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 Gordon Bell Prize used Summit in their work. That’s impres Read more…

By John Russell

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

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

Nvidia Accelerates AI Inference in the Datacenter with T4 GPU

September 14, 2018

Nvidia is upping its game for AI inference in the datacenter with a new platform consisting of an inference accelerator chip--the new Turing-based Tesla T4 GPU- Read more…

By George Leopold

DeepSense Combines HPC and AI to Bolster Canada’s Ocean Economy

September 13, 2018

We often hear scientists say that we know less than 10 percent of the life of the oceans. This week, IBM and a group of Canadian industry and government partner Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Rigetti (and Others) Pursuit of Quantum Advantage

September 11, 2018

Remember ‘quantum supremacy’, the much-touted but little-loved idea that the age of quantum computing would be signaled when quantum computers could tackle Read more…

By John Russell

How FPGAs Accelerate Financial Services Workloads

September 11, 2018

While FSI companies are unlikely, for competitive reasons, to disclose their FPGA strategies, James Reinders offers insights into the case for FPGAs as accelerators for FSI by discussing performance, power, size, latency, jitter and inline processing. Read more…

By James Reinders

Update from Gregory Kurtzer on Singularity’s Push into FS and the Enterprise

September 11, 2018

Container technology is hardly new but it has undergone rapid evolution in the HPC space in recent years to accommodate traditional science workloads and HPC systems requirements. While Docker containers continue to dominate in the enterprise, other variants are becoming important and one alternative with distinctly HPC roots – Singularity – is making an enterprise push targeting advanced scale workload inclusive of HPC. Read more…

By John Russell

At HPC on Wall Street: AI-as-a-Service Accelerates AI Journeys

September 10, 2018

AIaaS – artificial intelligence-as-a-service – is the technology discipline that eases enterprise entry into the mysteries of the AI journey while lowering Read more…

By Doug Black

TACC Wins Next NSF-funded Major Supercomputer

July 30, 2018

The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has won the next NSF-funded big supercomputer beating out rivals including the National Center for Supercomputing Ap Read more…

By John Russell

IBM at Hot Chips: What’s Next for Power

August 23, 2018

With processor, memory and networking technologies all racing to fill in for an ailing Moore’s law, the era of the heterogeneous datacenter is well underway, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Requiem for a Phi: Knights Landing Discontinued

July 25, 2018

On Monday, Intel made public its end of life strategy for the Knights Landing "KNL" Phi product set. The announcement makes official what has already been wide 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

ORNL Summit Supercomputer Is Officially Here

June 8, 2018

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) together with IBM and Nvidia celebrated the official unveiling of the Department of Energy (DOE) Summit supercomputer toda Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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…

By John Russell

AMD’s EPYC Road to Redemption in Six Slides

June 21, 2018

A year ago AMD returned to the server market with its EPYC processor line. The earth didn’t tremble but folks took notice. People remember the Opteron fondly 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

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

Sandia to Take Delivery of World’s Largest Arm System

June 18, 2018

While the enterprise remains circumspect on prospects for Arm servers in the datacenter, the leadership HPC community is taking a bolder, brighter view of the x86 server CPU alternative. Amongst current and planned Arm HPC installations – i.e., the innovative Mont-Blanc project, led by Bull/Atos, the 'Isambard’ Cray XC50 going into the University of Bristol, and commitments from both Japan and France among others -- HPE is announcing that it will be supply the United States National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) with a 2.3 petaflops peak Arm-based system, named Astra. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

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

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

TACC’s ‘Frontera’ Supercomputer Expands Horizon for Extreme-Scale Science

August 29, 2018

The National Science Foundation and the Texas Advanced Computing Center announced today that a new system, called Frontera, will overtake Stampede 2 as the fast Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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

GPUs Power Five of World’s Top Seven Supercomputers

June 25, 2018

The top 10 echelon of the newly minted Top500 list boasts three powerful new systems with one common engine: the Nvidia Volta V100 general-purpose graphics proc Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Machine Learning Hype Cycle and HPC

June 14, 2018

Like many other HPC professionals I’m following the hype cycle around machine learning/deep learning with interest. I subscribe to the view that we’re probably approaching the ‘peak of inflated expectation’ but not quite yet starting the descent into the ‘trough of disillusionment. This still raises the probability that... Read more…

By Dairsie Latimer

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