Final Countdown to ISC19: What to See

By Tiffany Trader

June 13, 2019

If you’re attending the International Supercomputing Conference, taking place in Frankfurt next week (June 16-20), you’re either packing, in transit, or are already ensconced at the venue. In any case, you’re busy, so here’s a sampling of highlights from the coming week for you to check your schedule against. If you’re not going to make it this year, you can follow the news and highlights on HPCwire.

On-site preparation–and socializing–has already begun, but the official event kicks off Sunday with tutorials. The opening session starts at 9am Monday morning, with an introduction and welcome from ISC General Co-Chairs Martin Meuer and Thomas Meuer, and Program Chair Yutong Lu. The exhibition begins Monday afternoon (at 3pm) and extends through Wednesday. And Thursday is dedicated to workshops. The action takes place at and around the Frankfurt Messe and surrounding hotels and restaurants.

ISC is a well-run event and one of my favorites of the year due to its engaging sessions, international exhibitors, and academic and industry-oriented attendees all within an easy-to-navigate setting with ample provisions built into the schedule. The weather even looks to be accommodating: low-to-mid 80s F (mid-high 20s C) with possibility for a few showers on Sunday.

With so much to do and see, here are HPCwire’s picks, in no particular order:

Analyst briefings

Hyperion Research will host its bi-annual HPC Market Update Breakfast on Tuesday morning, June 18th, at the Mövenpick hotel near the convention center; breakfast starts at 7:45am.

Intersect360 Research, which just released its annual HPC market update, gives its briefing 2:30pm-3pm on Tuesday, June 18th, at Microsoft’s booth (K-530).


The Algorithms of Life – Scientific Computing for Systems Biology
Monday, June 17th, 9:30am – 10:30am (Panorama 2, 3)
Ivo Sbalzarini, TU Dresden, Faculty of Computer Science, MOSAIC Group, Center for Systems Biology Dresden, and his team are working to develop computational methods and software systems to better understand biological processes on an algorithmic basis. The talk will discuss how HPC is being used as a tool for scientific investigation and for hypothesis testing, as well as a more fundamental way to think about problems in systems biology.

HPC Beyond Moore’s Law
Tuesday, June 18th, 5:15pm-6pm (Panorama 2)
John Shalf, Department Head for Computer Science Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, presents on Moore’s law. From the abstract: “The classical technological driver that has underpinned Moore’s law for the past 50 years is already failing and is anticipated to flatten by 2025. This talk provides an updated view of what a 2021-2023 system might look like and the challenges ahead, based on our most recent understanding of technology roadmaps. It also will discuss the tapering of historical improvements in lithography, and how it affects options available to continue scaling of successors to the first exascale machine.”

HPC Achievement and Impact – 2019
Wednesday, June 19th, 5:30pm-6:15pm (Panorama 2)
The inimitable Thomas Sterling, Director, Continuum Computer Architecture Laboratory, School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering Indiana University, returns to deliver what will surely be an engaging closing keynote on the state of supercomputing as it closes in on exaflops. “Because progress in performance, energy efficiency, size, cost, and user productivity must be measurably pursued, there is no stopping unless we’re forced to,” notes a teaser in the program. “This fast-paced presentation will punch through the barriers to progress. Is risk-adverse the riskiest strategy? Is past success the path to future failure? Let’s get at it!”

Awards and Competitions

TOP500, Green500 & HPCG Awards

Horst Simon, Jack Dongarra, Wu Feng, Martin Meuer, Erich Strohmaier and Michael A. Heroux present the latest round of awards on Monday, June 17th, 11am to 11:15am in Panorama 2 & 3.

Hans Meuer Award

The Hans Meuer Award honors the most outstanding research paper submitted to the conference’s Research Papers Committee. This award has been introduced in the memory of the late Dr. Hans Meuer, general chair of the ISC conference from 1986 through 2014, and co-founder of the TOP500 project.

The Hans Meuer Award Ceremony will be held Tuesday, 5-5:15pm in Panorama 2.

Gauss Award

The GCS Award honors the most outstanding research paper submitted to the Research Papers Committee in the field of HPC. The GCS Award has been a key component of the conference each year since the foundation of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) in 2008. It is sponsored by GCS, an alliance of Germany’s three national supercomputing centers — the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS), Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), and Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ).

The GCS award announcement will be made Monday, June 17th, 9:15am – 9:25am (Panorama 2, 3).

Presentations from the Hans Meuer award finalists and the GCS award winning paper will take place Monday, June 17th, 4pm – 6pm in Panorama 2.

The Student Cluster Competition

An integral part of the ISC High Performance Conference and Exhibition, the Student Cluster Competition will take place June 17-19. HPCwire’s Contributing Editor & Student Contest Commentator-at-Large Dan Olds will be tracking the proceedings closely.

The list of competing teams:

  •  Nanyang Technological University
  •  ETH Zurich
  •  EPCC at University of Edinburgh
  •  The University of Tartu
  •  University of Warsaw
  •  University of Massachusetts
  •  Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
  •  National Cheng Kung University
  •  University of Heidelberg
  •  University of Hamburg
  •  Tsinghua University (China)
  •  Centre for High Performance Computing
  •  National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan)
  •  Sun Yat-sen University

The HPCAC-ISC Student Cluster Competition 2019 Award Ceremony will be held Wednesday, June 19, 5:15pm-5:30pm in Panoram 2.


Impossible to name all the highlights (here’s the program:, so applying the rule of five; rest assured any obvious-miss (i.e., your preferred/favorite session) was number six.

Highlights of the 53rd TOP500 List takes place Monday, June 17th, 11:15am – 11:45am at Panorama 2 & 3. After the new list results and awards are presented, the 53rd Top500 list will be dissected by list co-author Erich Strohmaier.

Vendor Showdown 01 with Session Chairs Addison Snell (Intersect360 Research) and Rupak Biswas (NASA Ames Research Center), and Vendor Showdown 02, moderated by Dan Olds (Gabriel Consulting Group) and Mark Parsons (University of Edinburgh).

These fun and fast-paced sessions together pack 24 vendor updates into two 2-hour-10-minute sessions and the audience votes the winners. They are at the same time – Monday from 1pm to 3:10pm, so you’ll have to pick one, or run back and forth between Panorama 2 and 3 and try to catch it all.

HPC in Germany – An Update from GCS takes place Tuesday from 12:30pm to 1pm in Panorama 2, presented by Dieter Kranzlmüller (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre). The Gauss Center for Supercomputing (GCS) has just procured its next generation of HPC systems for Germany; and each system at the three national supercomputing centers in Garching, Jülich and Stuttgart offers more than 10 petaflops of performance. Plus Germany was just selected to host a EuroHPC exascale supercomputer. From the abstract: “This update from GSC showcases the latest installations and their capabilities and introduces an outlook on the future developments towards exascale.”

At the panel, High Performance Computing in 2029 or The Cambrian Explosion in Computing in the 2020s (Tuesday, 3:45pm – 4:45pm, Panorama 2), Moderator Horst Simon will ask several worldwide HPC experts to make their predictions for 2030. Panelists include John Shalf, Jack Dongarra, Kristel Michielsen, Yutong Lu, Kengo Nakajima. Better get there early.

ISC STEM Student Day & Gala

From the program: “The ISC STEM Student Day & Gala addresses the challenges of high performance computing (HPC) technology providers in finding suitable graduates for entry level positions. Besides introducing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students to the HPC career landscape: the types of jobs involved, the various hiring and training organizations, we also exposure you to the different technologies that encompass HPC. This evening program will be attended by students, HPC practitioners, and supported by organizations and vendors in the HPC space. The program will include a career fair, dinner and networking opportunity.”

When:   Wednesday, June 19

Bonus – #AI @ISChpc

Head to HPCwire’s sister site EnterpriseAI to dive into the machine learning program at ISC.

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