Fighting COVID-19 at the SC20 UrgentHPC Workshop

November 12, 2020

Nov. 12, 2020 —

A message from UrgentHPC Workshop Chair Nick Brown. The workshop takes place Friday, Nov. 13, at 2:30 pm ET.

I doubt many would argue that 2020 will go down in history as the year of COVID-19. Little wonder then that the UrgentHPC workshop at SC20, which explores the fusion of data and HPC in disaster response, has a major focus on the pandemic this year.

We are very excited when Professor Madhav Marathe, a Distinguished Professor in Biocomplexity and Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia (UVA) has agreed to join us, albeit virtually, straight from fighting COVID-19 to deliver the keynote talk and describe some of his work which directly influences US government policy.

Much of Professor Marathe’s work is directly driven by requests from policymakers as they study important questions pertaining to logistics, resource allocation, epidemic forecasts and intervention analysis for the pandemic. With such global economic, social and health impacts it is critically important that the correct information gets in the hands of the correct people. A key part of enabling this is the group at UVA who explore a fusion of high performance computing, data science and new sources of massive amounts of data to help prevent, detect and respond to pandemic outbreaks. As organisers of the workshop we have had a sneak preview of the talk, and I can tell you that it is absolutely fascinating to see some of the efforts that are on-going and how Professor Marathe’s group designs and executes scalable high performance computing-enabled workflows to support the real-time response and situation assessment to COVID-19.

But of-course the keynote talk isn’t the only thing going on during Friday afternoon’s workshop – we have a packed program of research papers, lightening talks, and an audience Q&A. Whilst COVID-19 is a recurring theme throughout our program, there are also numerous other talks focussed around challenges associated with using HPC and data for responding to disasters. These include tsunami simulations, urgent processing of dark energy spectroscopic information, a workflow for tackling wildfires, computing on the edge, earthquake early warning systems, and smart city in response to issues raised by rapid urbanization.

I think these other areas of focus are also really important, as at this stage it is easy to forget that there are other critically important disasters impacting humanity, and these will still be around long after a vaccine for COVID-19 has been developed!

So please join us — the workshop is running on the afternoon of Friday 13th of November (unlucky for some!) between 2:30pm ET and 6:30pm ET. It is all taking place virtually using SC’s platform, which you can access with an SC workshop registration. The workshop will also be recorded and made available for a subsequent six months, whilst much of this is driven by the challenge in time-zone.

The full schedule is available on the UrgentHPC website (www.urgenthpc.com) and also on the SC program.


Source: Nick Brown, UrgentHPC

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