SC19: Welcome to Denver

By Tiffany Trader

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 cutting for the Expo Hall opening is Monday at 6:45pm, with the Gala Opening Reception, held from 7-9pm.

As every year, there’s a lot to look forward to — in addition to connecting with your HPC friends and family. SC19 Chair Michela Taufer and the SC19 Committee have put together a banner program of workshops, plenaries, invited talks, panels, tutorials, BoFs, and awards.

Benchmark results will be revealed: the 54th Top500 list, the Green500, the growing HPCG benchmark, the Graph500, IO-500, and more. The new HPL-AI benchmark, led by Jack Dongarra and Piotr Luszczek, will have its official launch this week and will soon be seeking submissions. So far, there is one benchmarked system, Summit (ORNL), which achieved 445 petaflops mixed precision, equivalent to 148 double-precision Linpack petaflops. Dongarra gave an overview of that work — conducted in partnership with ORNL and Nvidia — in June.

For more on the benchmarking updates and analysis, attend the Top500 BoF, Tuesday, 5:15-6:45pm in the Mile High Ballroom. Get there early as it’s a popular and well-attended session.

Diversity in the processor space continues to be a major focal point. Intel, AMD and Nvidia are all lining up to have big news at the show. At the leadership level the U.S. is standing up Intel, AMD, and Arm-based machines, and is exploring further technology development with Fujitsu (per the recent Cray-Fujitsu parnership announcement) as well as NEC. Los Alamos National Laboratory and the United States Naval Research Laboratory are both presenting on early work and benchmarking of the NEC SX-Aurora TSUBASA Vector Engine at NEC’s Aurora Forum, to be held at SC19 on Monday, Nov. 18 (1-3pm) at the Embassy Suites hotel.

We should be hearing more from Nvidia (and relevant ecosystem partners) on the status of Arm-GPU integration, potentially during Nvidia Chief Jensen Huang’s special address Monday afternoon (Nov. 18). At ISC in June, Nvidia committed to accelerated-Arm to a chorus of endorsements from Cray, Marvell, RIKEN and others. Nvidia said the work would progress quickly. Given the momentum behind leadership-scale Arm development — in Japan, the EU and the US — and the market opportunity of accelerating those systems, this move makes sense. Another motivation would be Nvidia seeking an alternate CPU option for its machines, with competitive pressures mounting from AMD and, potentially, Intel on the GPU front. Further, full Arm support opens the door to Arm-GPU machines with NVLink connections into the CPUs.

AMD is picking up Epyc wins left and right. The pinnacle of course being the exascale Oak Ridge Frontier system, slated for late 2021 deployment. The Cray Shasta Frontier will be what AMD calls an A+A system: AMD CPUs and AMD GPUs. As part of the readiness effort, AMD’s Frontier Center of Excellence is providing three training sessions on porting CUDA applications to ROCm with HIP. Short for Heterogeneous-compute Interface for Portability, HIP is a C++ runtime API that allows developers to create portable applications that can run on AMD and other GPUs; notably, it functions as a translational layer for moving codes from CUDA over to Radeon Instinct GPUs. Sessions will be held Nov. 19-21 (Tues., Wed., and Thurs.) in the Banquet Room of Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery in Denver. More info here.

Other show highlights:


Exploring the Solar System with the Power of Technology
Tuesday, Nov. 19th, 8:30-10am, Mile High Ballroom
Steven Squyres, principal scientist for the Mars Exploration Rover Project and James A. Weeks Professor of Physical Sciences at Cornell University, presents on NASA’s mission to Mars and the pioneering drive across its surface by two high-tech robotic rovers named “Spirit” and “Opportunity.”

Invited Talks

There are 12 invited talks held over three days, Nov. 19 through Nov. 21, 2019. Attendees “will hear how translational research and technologies and their applications address some of the most complex challenges of our time. These talks will provide insights with a broad context and from a longer-term perspective,” according to SC19. More information here.

HPC Is Now Plenary

When Technology Kills
Monday, November 18, 5:30-6:30pm, Mile High Ballroom
Open to all badge holders. From the abstract: “Technology is increasingly being used to automate and simplify tasks there are many questions arising – how much autonomy machines should be given, what regulations should be put in place to govern software development, what additional training should humans have to manage these new software systems, and ultimately, who is responsible when software fails and causes property damage, injury, or loss of life.”

Analyst briefings

Hyperion Research will host its bi-annual HPC Market Update Breakfast on Tuesday morning, November 19, 2019, 7:00-9:00am at Brown Palace Hotel and Spa.

Intersect360 Research CEO Addison Snell will give his SC19 market overview, including developments and predictions for HPC, Hyperscale, and AI, offering two presentations: Tuesday, November 19, 2:30–3pm at Mellanox Booth Theater, #601, and Wednesday, November 20, 4–4:30pm at AWS Booth Theater, #425.

Awards and Competitions: Don’t miss presentations for the IEEE Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award, the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award, the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award and the Gordon Bell Prize. The SC19 conference awards, as well as selected ACM and IEEE awards, will be presented in a ceremony on November 21, 2019, from 12:45 to 1:30pm in the Mile High Ballroom. And the winner of the always-popular Student Cluster Competition will be revealed. Come wish the teams well at the Student Cluster Competition Kick-off on Monday, from 7:30-8pm in the Exhibit Hall.

HPCwire will announce the winners of the 2019 HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards just before the opening gala reception on Monday, Nov. 18. These awards, now in their 16th year, are the only HPC awards that open voting to a worldwide audience of end users.

AI/ML/DL in Full Force

AI and HPC are increasingly intertwined as leadership computing project around the world prioritize the converged use of modeling, simulation and AI. Here’s a rundown of AI-related sessions and activities coming up at SC19  from EnterpriseAI Managing Editor Doug Black.

The SC Committee

A shout out and thank you to ACM, IEEE, the SC Committee, and all the dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to put on the biggest and longest running HPC event. Read our interview with SC19 Chair and HPCwire 2019 Person to Watch Michela Taufer here.

More SC19 LiveWire coverage here.

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