HPC-AI Advisory Council Gears Up New Cluster, Student Competitions and Conferences

By Brian Sparks, Co-founder HPC Advisory Council, Director of Worldwide Operations

September 6, 2021

This summer, the HPC-AI Advisory Council has been filled with activity and preparation to bring about new and returning conferences, student training and competitions. We even have a new GPU and DPU-based system “Tessa”, which has recently been stood up in the Council’s Cluster Center and is immediately available for community-wide access.

Tessa is our first system that features NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs and NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPUs, providing a unique testbed to support innovative application development and integration testing in addition to providing a supplemental resource for researchers to complete critical complex works. We are very excited by this new system and we look forward to getting you and your applications onboard.

Last month, the HPC-AI Advisory Council held its 9th Annual Advanced RDMA Programming Workshop and Competition, which combined an immersive four-and-a-half-day workshop followed by a three-day challenge. In addition to the introduction of advanced RDMA programming, expert instructors contributed to the annual education and development workshop with in-depth training on optimizing performance for a variety of network offload features. Over 150 students, from 12 countries and regions, joined the workshop and competition, with 41 teams from 34 universities and 6 top APAC hyperscale organizations vying for the gold medal. We thank all the students for joining us and we look forward to announcing the winners of the competition during our formal award ceremony that will take place during SC China on Nov 16, 2021.

As we close the APAC RDMA Competition, so begins the annual ISC Student Cluster Competition. Commencing a second decade of collaborations grooming STEM undergraduates with introductions to intensive mentoring and hands-on skills, proposal submission for student participation is now open for the ISC Student Cluster Competition 2022. Co-organized by the HPC-AI Advisory Council and ISC Group, which will take place during the ISC High Performance Conference 2022 (Venue and final dates TBD). After two years hosting remote challenges, the organizers plan to have both virtual/remote along with onsite competitions that closely follow COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. The competition encourages international teams of university students to showcase their expertise in a friendly yet spirited competition that fosters critical skills, professional relationships, competitive spirit, and lifelong comraderies. The competition will include applications that address education and applied learning towards accelerating bioscience research and discovery.

The increasing demand for domain expertise underscores the importance of the benefits gained through competition, and the competition provides exclusive access to ISC’s technical program to expose teams to core disciplines and expertise while also enabling students to explore voluntary and professional opportunities to build on their CVs and career paths. Don’t let your students miss this great opportunity!

Back to the conference front, coming up this month (September 23 and 24), the HPC-AI Advisory Council and Pawsey Supercomputing Centre Australia continues its collaboration with the fourth annual Australia Conference. The all-digital conference returns with a condensed agenda, featuring invited talks from leading research, education and industry experts, locally and globally with a sampling of cutting-edge research, visionary innovation and breakthrough achievements, including Pawsey’s new platform(s) and inspiring STEM success, and NCI’s Gadi supercomputer, who’s debut contributed to a potential COVID-19 cure.

Finally, coming in October will be the HPC-AI Advisory Council UK conference partnership with DiRAC (October 13 and 14), as well as the HPC-AI Advisory Council China Conference, co-located with HPC China 2021 (October 21-23). More details about these conferences AND MORE will be coming soon.

We look forward to virtually seeing you soon.


Brian Sparks is a co-founder of the HPC-AI Advisory Council and responsible for the Council’s worldwide operations and activities. As an avid open source and developer community organizer, Brian has helped create and foster multiple open, developer communities, including the Open, Domain-Specific Architecture Workgroup (ODSA) which soon merged into the Open Compute Project (OCP), and Open-NFP, a community-driven organization that empowered open and collaborative research in the area of network function processing. Brian has also held Marketing Working Group Chair positions in the Unified Communication Framework (UCF) Consortium, InfiniBand Trade Association (IBTA) and the OpenFabrics Alliance (OFA). Brian holds a B.A. degree in Communications from San Jose State University.

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