Get with the Program at ISC 2018

By Chelsea Lang

June 25, 2018

On Monday, this year’s annual ISC conference hit the ground running with an overarching look at the state of supercomputing around the globe, key themes that are top of mind and top of the agenda in 2018, as well as a closer look at this year’s event program.

Session hosts and event co-chairs Thomas Meuer and Martin Meuer put a special emphasis on community in this year’s kick off, touching on academic collaborations, international partnerships that pave the way for scientific breakthroughs.

But community isn’t just a matter of of collective spirit, as this year’s conference stats demonstrate. ISC 2018 commences with a good deal of momentum behind it, with 3,400 attendees, 318 total research submissions, and the largest exhibition to date with 162 exhibitors. And the agenda did not fail to build on this energy: Monday’s TOP500 panel quickly took the spotlight as it announced that Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Summit supercomputer had unseated China’s Sunway TaihuLight from the elusive top spot, and remained a dominant talking point throughout the day.

Breaking down the program during the opening address was Berkeley Lab Deputy Director and ISC Program Chair Horst Simon, who dove into event themes, keynotes, panels and special tracks. Here’s an overview of the program highlights that were discussed:

Today’s Keynote

Dr. Maria Girone, CTO at CERN, followed today’s opening session by diving into the unique needs of CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and datacenters in her talk, “Tackling Tomorrow’s Computing Challenges Today at CERN.”

“Data intensive” is a descriptor that quickly comes to mind in Girone’s talk as she describes how conditions in the LHC range from millions of times hotter than the center of the sun to almost absolute zero. These extremes, along with the breadth of variables measured, mean that CERN gathers 1 petabyte of data per second during an experiment, which has to be filtered and reconstructed in real time.

Even after reducing petabytes to gigabytes, the datacenter contains an exabyte of storage between disk and tape. And over the next decade CERN is looking at an 50-100x increase in compute capacity demand as they prepare to build their next particle accelerator, the High Luminosity LHC.

Upcoming Keynotes

Dr. Keren Bergman, Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University will speak tomorrow on the shifting HPC landscape caused by machine and deep learning in “Empowering Flexible and Scalable High Performance Architectures with Embedded Photonics.” The keynote is expected to review advances in integrated silicon photonics and explore embedded solutions for data movement challenges in HPC systems.

And on Wednesday, Dr. Thomas Sterling, professor in the Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering and PI of the Semantic Memory Architecture Research Team (SMART) at Indiana University, will lead his HPC year-in-review “HPC Achievement and Impact – 2018.” Sterling’s annual closing keynote has a reputation as a standing-room-only talk, so be sure to save your seat early.

Panels

On Monday, John Shalf of LBL hosted a panel exploring the intersection of advanced computing and machine learning, “Will HPC Transform AI or Will AI Transform HPC?” featuring Peter Messmer, Alessandro Curioni and Satoshi Matsuoka as panelists. And a second panel on Wednesday, “Convergence of Extreme-Scale Computing and Big Data – Looking Back and Looking Ahead” will be hosted by Sadaf Alam with panelists Jeff Nichols, Haohuan Fu, John Shalf and Simon McIntosh-Smith.

Special Tracks

There are three special tracks for attendees looking for a streamlined program to meet their needs. “Industrial Day” on Tuesday will center around cloud services and digital twins. And Wednesday offers two tracks, “Machine Learning Day,” which features Summit Architecture for ML, IO and Storage for Large-Scale Machine Learning, & Scalable Machines Learning Systems, as well as “HPC in Asia” to cover research and industry activities in the region.

Distinguished Speakers

ISC 2018 is also hosting four distinguished speakers across two sessions. The first, which is slated for Tuesday, features Lin Gan presenting “Redesigning Climate Model on Sunway TaihuLight for Petascale Performance and Ultra-High Resolution” along with Cathy Wu to discuss “Incentives and Games in Large-Scale Mobility.”

On Wednesday a second session will feature Miriam Mehl to share “Simulation of Large-Scale Coupled Systems,” and Wolfgang Prinz’s talk, “Blockchain: Technology Issues and Applications.

Awards

Finally, two awards sessions will honor three outstanding research submissions that will be showcased Monday.

The first two are finalists for the Hans Meuer Award for outstanding research paper submissions: “Chebyshev Filter Diagonalization on Modern Manycore Processors and GPGPUs,” authored by Moritz Kreutzer, Dominik ErnstAlan R. Bishop, Holger Fehske, Georg Hager, Kengo Nakajima, and Gerhard Wellein; and “Compiler-assisted Source-to-Source Skeletonization of Application Models for System Simulation,” authored by Jeremiah Wilke, Joseph Kenny, Samuel Knight, and Sebastien Rumley. The award was introduced in the memory of Dr. Hans Meuer, ISC general chair from 1986-2014 and co-founder of the TOP500 project.

The second award is the Gauss Award Winning Paper, “On the Accuracy and Usefulness of Analytic Energy Models for Contemporary Multicore Processors” by Johannes Hofmann, Georg Hager, and Dietmar Fey, which discusses refinements to the execution-cache-memory performance model as well as the power model for multicore processors. The Gauss Award, sponsored by the German Gauss Center for Supercomputing, is by Professor Michael Resch.

And for even more competition, ISC’s Student Cluster Competition kicks off Monday with “Benchmark Day,” followed by series of challenges around real scientific applications on Tuesday. To keep up with the action and see how the teams stack up, follow HPCwire Contributor Dan Olds as he gives us an up-close look at the competition throughout the week.

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