ISC 2018 Preview from @hpcnotes

By Andrew Jones

June 21, 2018

Editor’s note: As we enter the final countdown to the ISC kickoff in Frankfurt, Andrew Jones (aka @hpcnotes) offers his look at what’s in store for the week ahead.

Prepare for your social media feed to be saturated with #HPC, #ISC18, #Top500, etc. Prepare for your mainstream media to talk about supercomputers (in between the hourly commentary on Brexit, the FIFA World Cup, or US presidential antics). Yes, it’s time for ISC 2018 – the 2nd biggest annual gathering of the world’s High Performance Computing community in Frankfurt next week.

What can we look forward to?

A new holder of the Top500 crown

The world’s fastest supercomputer gets (formally) announced. Assuming you haven’t been hiding in some internet-free corner of the world for the last few weeks, you’ll already have been inundated by the build up to the inauguration of the Summit supercomputer built by [insert ORNL/IBM/NVIDIA/USA/DOE/… depending on who’s PR you are reading]. Barring an almighty shock announcement, the USA/DOE/ORNL/IBM/NVIDIA (and anyone else who can claim involvement) will wrestle the title of world’s fastest supercomputer from the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight. Does it really matter? This article in WiredUK quotes me and Jack Dongarra on this question. In short, my view is that 2x doesn’t deliver competitive leadership on its own, as that is within the reach of better software/people/practices. 10x would matter, as would failing to have the people/software/practices to take advantage of the 2x.

The promise of technology diversity hits reality

We have predicted (SC17 review, HPC benchmarking webinar, 2018 HPC predictions) that the choice of processors (Xeon, EPYC, TX2, Power, GPUs) for HPC systems will be a major issue during 2018. This has been proven true as HPC buyers invest effort (their own research, or via benchmark services such as NAG) to properly evaluate the range of options. However, at ISC18 I expect to hear more about the range of processors being deployed in practice. We know about Power and GPUs at ORNL and LLNL. We know about the Cavium TX2 systems at Bristol (Cray) and Sandia (HPE). Will we hear rumors or confirmed stories of new industry supercomputer wins for Power or TX2 or EPYC at ISC18? My (informed) guess is yes.

Where are the future HPC people?

HPC hardware is all very exciting – but is merely energy hungry modern art with moving pieces unless we have people to program the supercomputers and deliver science and business value using them. I’m pleased to see a lot of action on this front at ISC18. The ISC team will be running a STEM student day on Wednesday 27th to introduce STEM students to the world of computational science and HPC. There will be a Women-in-HPC workshop and reception at ISC18. There will be the usual student HPC cluster competition. (While we are talking about future HPC people, here is a blatant plug for my HPC Leadership Institute training at TACC in September.) I will be trying to coordinate some industry leaders to produce a video promoting careers in HPC to STEM students (please get in touch if you want to get involved).

Attention please!

The usual suspects will do their best to hog the attention of ISC attendees and non-attendees alike. PR from purveyors of products and services in AI/ML, cloud, quantum computing, etc. will demand a share of the attention out of proportion to their actual role in the HPC community. Not to say these can’t/won’t be potential gamer-changers for HPC – they will be – but they are still in their infancy compared to the much more mature and pervasive traditional HPC use cases. ISC18 is a good opportunity to find out the reality and possibilities from peers, talks and exhibitors.

Pick of the agenda

There is so much valuable content on the program at ISC18 it is impossible to attend it all. This is a purely personal list, but if I weren’t constrained by other meetings or travel, I’d make sure I attended these sessions:

  • Tuesday keynote on Photonics by Keren Bergman (who I was lucky enough to be introduced to at a DOE workshop nearly a decade ago);
  • Thomas Sterling’s annual summary of the HPC world on Wednesday (a great speaker and very useful talk);
  • The Industrial Day on Tuesday (industry use of HPC is not new, but it is under-reported – Marie-Christine has pulled together a good list of speakers);
  • The “GoingArm” workshop on Thursday (essential knowledge base as Cavium TX2 starts to appear in deployed HPC systems);
  • Monday’s talk on XALT (knowing what your systems are actually doing / being used for)
  • Tuesday’s session on Cybersecurity for HPC (I’ve been involved in a NIST-led group, including the speaker Sean, to help the community on this topic);
  • Analyst Crossfire on Wednesday (fun, but informative too);
  • … I could go on but I’ll just end up with most of the agenda listed!

I know that face

A major value of ISC (and SC) is the opportunity to meet and network with so many people in the HPC community. Learning from (and helping) peers on technical challenges and opportunities; talking with experts; uncovering career options; and more – ISC18 is about the networking receptions, side meetings, and informal chats after the talks – as much as it is about the exhibition and technical program.

See you all in Frankfurt – if you see me, do feel free to say hello or ask my views on anything to do with HPC!

About the Author

Andrew Jones has over 20 years experience in HPC across industry, government and academia, and is acknowledged as one of the leading voices on the business and people aspects of HPC. Andrew is VP of NAG’s international impartial HPC consulting practice, which is trusted by clients around the world to provide expert advice on strategy, technology and software performance for HPC and cloud. Andrew is active on twitter as @hpcnotes.

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!

HPC in Life Sciences Part 1: CPU Choices, Rise of Data Lakes, Networking Challenges, and More

February 21, 2019

For the past few years HPCwire and leaders of BioTeam, a research computing consultancy specializing in life sciences, have convened to examine the state of HPC (and now AI) use in life sciences. Without HPC writ large, modern life sciences research would quickly grind to a halt. It’s true most life sciences research computing... Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized silicon designs catered toward general-purpose cloud computing Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Internet of Criminal Things—Trust in the Gods but Verify!

February 20, 2019

“Are we under attack?” asked Professor Elmarie Biermann of the Cyber Security Institute during the recent South African Centre for High Performance Computing’s (CHPC) National Conference in Cape Town. A quick show Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture: How to Power a Cloud

Learn how HPE and Intel® Omni-Path Architecture provide critical infrastructure for leading Nordic HPC provider’s HPCFLOW cloud service.

powercloud_blog.jpgFor decades, HPE has been at the forefront of high-performance computing, and we’ve powered some of the fastest and most robust supercomputers in the world. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

The Perils of Becoming Trapped in the Cloud

Terms like ‘open systems’ have been bandied about for decades. While modern computer systems are relatively open compared to their predecessors, there are still plenty of opportunities to become locked into proprietary interfaces. Read more…

Machine Learning Takes Heat for Science’s Reproducibility Crisis

February 19, 2019

Scientists are raising red flags about the accuracy and reproducibility of conclusions drawn by machine learning frameworks. Among the remedies are developing new ML systems that can question their own predictions, show Read more…

By George Leopold

HPC in Life Sciences Part 1: CPU Choices, Rise of Data Lakes, Networking Challenges, and More

February 21, 2019

For the past few years HPCwire and leaders of BioTeam, a research computing consultancy specializing in life sciences, have convened to examine the state of HPC (and now AI) use in life sciences. Without HPC writ large, modern life sciences research would quickly grind to a halt. It’s true most life sciences research computing... Read more…

By John Russell

Arm Unveils Neoverse N1 Platform with up to 128-Cores

February 20, 2019

Following on its Neoverse roadmap announcement last October, Arm today revealed its next-gen Neoverse microarchitecture with compute and throughput-optimized si Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Insights from Optimized Codes on Cineca’s Marconi

February 15, 2019

What can you do with 381,392 CPU cores? For Cineca, it means enabling computational scientists to expand a large part of the world’s body of knowledge from the nanoscale to the astronomic, from calculating quantum effects in new materials to supporting bioinformatics for advanced healthcare research to screening millions of possible chemical combinations to attack a deadly virus. Read more…

By Ken Strandberg

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

UC Berkeley Paper Heralds Rise of Serverless Computing in the Cloud – Do You Agree?

February 13, 2019

Almost exactly ten years to the day from publishing of their widely-read, seminal paper on cloud computing, UC Berkeley researchers have issued another ambitious examination of cloud computing - Cloud Programming Simplified: A Berkeley View on Serverless Computing. The new work heralds the rise of ‘serverless computing’ as the next dominant phase of cloud computing. Read more…

By John Russell

Iowa ‘Grows Its Own’ to Fill the HPC Workforce Pipeline

February 13, 2019

The global workforce that supports advanced computing, scientific software and high-speed research networks is relatively small when you stop to consider the magnitude of the transformative discoveries it empowers. Technical conferences provide a forum where specialists convene to learn about the latest innovations and schedule face-time with colleagues from other institutions. Read more…

By Elizabeth Leake, STEM-Trek

Trump Signs Executive Order Launching U.S. AI Initiative

February 11, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) today launching a U.S Artificial Intelligence Initiative. The new initiative - Maintaining American L Read more…

By John Russell

Celebrating Women in Science: Meet Four Women Leading the Way in HPC

February 11, 2019

One only needs to look around at virtually any CS/tech conference to realize that women are underrepresented, and that holds true of HPC. SC hosts over 13,000 H Read more…

By AJ Lauer

Quantum Computing Will Never Work

November 27, 2018

Amid the gush of money and enthusiastic predictions being thrown at quantum computing comes a proposed cold shower in the form of an essay by physicist Mikhail Read more…

By John Russell

Cray Unveils Shasta, Lands NERSC-9 Contract

October 30, 2018

Cray revealed today the details of its next-gen supercomputing architecture, Shasta, selected to be the next flagship system at NERSC. We've known of the code-name "Shasta" since the Argonne slice of the CORAL project was announced in 2015 and although the details of that plan have changed considerably, Cray didn't slow down its timeline for Shasta. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

The Case Against ‘The Case Against Quantum Computing’

January 9, 2019

It’s not easy to be a physicist. Richard Feynman (basically the Jimi Hendrix of physicists) once said: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourse Read more…

By Ben Criger

AMD Sets Up for Epyc Epoch

November 16, 2018

It’s been a good two weeks, AMD’s Gary Silcott and Andy Parma told me on the last day of SC18 in Dallas at the restaurant where we met to discuss their show news and recent successes. Heck, it’s been a good year. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Reportedly in $6B Bid for Mellanox

January 30, 2019

The latest rumors and reports around an acquisition of Mellanox focus on Intel, which has reportedly offered a $6 billion bid for the high performance interconn Read more…

By Doug Black

ClusterVision in Bankruptcy, Fate Uncertain

February 13, 2019

ClusterVision, European HPC specialists that have built and installed over 20 Top500-ranked systems in their nearly 17-year history, appear to be in the midst o Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

US Leads Supercomputing with #1, #2 Systems & Petascale Arm

November 12, 2018

The 31st Supercomputing Conference (SC) - commemorating 30 years since the first Supercomputing in 1988 - kicked off in Dallas yesterday, taking over the Kay Ba Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Looking for Light Reading? NSF-backed ‘Comic Books’ Tackle Quantum Computing

January 28, 2019

Still baffled by quantum computing? How about turning to comic books (graphic novels for the well-read among you) for some clarity and a little humor on QC. The Read more…

By John Russell

Leading Solution Providers

SC 18 Virtual Booth Video Tour

Advania @ SC18 AMD @ SC18
ASRock Rack @ SC18
DDN Storage @ SC18
HPE @ SC18
IBM @ SC18
Lenovo @ SC18 Mellanox Technologies @ SC18
NVIDIA @ SC18
One Stop Systems @ SC18
Oracle @ SC18 Panasas @ SC18
Supermicro @ SC18 SUSE @ SC18 TYAN @ SC18
Verne Global @ SC18

Contract Signed for New Finnish Supercomputer

December 13, 2018

After the official contract signing yesterday, configuration details were made public for the new BullSequana system that the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep500: ETH Researchers Introduce New Deep Learning Benchmark for HPC

February 5, 2019

ETH researchers have developed a new deep learning benchmarking environment – Deep500 – they say is “the first distributed and reproducible benchmarking s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Quantum Update: Q System One Launch, New Collaborators, and QC Center Plans

January 10, 2019

IBM made three significant quantum computing announcements at CES this week. One was introduction of IBM Q System One; it’s really the integration of IBM’s Read more…

By John Russell

IBM Bets $2B Seeking 1000X AI Hardware Performance Boost

February 7, 2019

For now, AI systems are mostly machine learning-based and “narrow” – powerful as they are by today's standards, they're limited to performing a few, narro Read more…

By Doug Black

HPC Reflections and (Mostly Hopeful) Predictions

December 19, 2018

So much ‘spaghetti’ gets tossed on walls by the technology community (vendors and researchers) to see what sticks that it is often difficult to peer through Read more…

By John Russell

Nvidia’s Jensen Huang Delivers Vision for the New HPC

November 14, 2018

For nearly two hours on Monday at SC18, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, presented his expansive view of the future of HPC (and computing in general) as only he can do. Animated. Backstopped by a stream of data charts, product photos, and even a beautiful image of supernovae... Read more…

By John Russell

The Deep500 – Researchers Tackle an HPC Benchmark for Deep Learning

January 7, 2019

How do you know if an HPC system, particularly a larger-scale system, is well-suited for deep learning workloads? Today, that’s not an easy question to answer Read more…

By John Russell

Intel Confirms 48-Core Cascade Lake-AP for 2019

November 4, 2018

As part of the run-up to SC18, taking place in Dallas next week (Nov. 11-16), Intel is doling out info on its next-gen Cascade Lake family of Xeon processors, specifically the “Advanced Processor” version (Cascade Lake-AP), architected for high-performance computing, artificial intelligence and infrastructure-as-a-service workloads. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

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