Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eight Questions with "HPC Matters" Chair Wilf Pinfold from Intel

Wilf Pinfold
Wilf Pinfold has a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics and Studied Business at Stanford.  He serves as the HPC (High Performance Computing) Matters Chair as well as the Chair of the ACM SIGHPC Advisory Board.

What is your role in the “HPC Matters” program?
SC conference organizers launched the “HPC Matters” program in 2013 with support to develop it over a three-year period. I am honored to have been asked to chair the program through this three-year launch period.
SC15: How/when did this get started?
My first conversation with the SC Steering committee about a program that reaches beyond the technical community and communicates the importance of high performance computing to politicians and the general public was in 2006. Since then there have been several programs such as “masterworks”, but they have not had multi-year support. We believe this multi-year program will be a breakthrough.

What are the goals?
Starting in November 2013, the SC conference organizers launched “HPC Matters” to encourage members of the computational sciences community to share their thoughts, vision, and experiences with how High Performance Computers are used to improve the lives of people all over the world. Four pillars provide structure to the program:
1.    Influencing Daily Lives
2.    Science and Engineering
3.    Economic
4.    Education

The inaugural HPC Matters Plenary opened to a packed house
What were some of the highlights from last year?
The SC14 launch was excellent with a Video Challenge, a Plenary and a 
speaker program called the Impact Showcase.

The HPC Matters video challenge had four award winners:

o    Micron Technology for the Funniest Video
o    Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) for the Most Creative Video
o    Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) for the Most Inspiring
o    National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) for the Most Likes/Views

The conference also created four videos highlighting the ways in which supercomputers benefit society via health/consumer products, entertainment, weather forecasting, and climate modeling.

The HPC Matters Plenary was given by Dr Eng Lim Goh, CTO of SGI, who discussed the vital role HPC plays in helping researchers and organizations create a better world. Dr. Goh explained what HPC makes possible across industry with real-world examples. He invited Dr. Piyush Mehrotra, chief, from NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division, to speak on HPC-based research that is leading us to revolutionary insights about the world.

The Impact Showcase, launched  in 2013, is designed to introduce attendees to the many ways that HPC matters in our world, through testimonials from companies large and small who many times are clients of exhibitors on the show floor.  Their stories relate real-world experiences of what it took to embrace HPC to better compete and succeed in their line of endeavor.

What can attendees expect this year?
These programs will be back along with new programs for Technical Program, Exhibitors, and Students. Stay tuned as these get rolled out in 2015.
How can organizations or individuals get involved?
There will be a call for participation in May 2015 looking for parties interested in the HPC Matters Plenary, the Video Challenge and Impact Showcase.

Why is this important?
For the whole HPC community it is important because we need the politicians and their electorate to understand the value of HPC so our scientists and researchers continue to have the best equipment to keep doing the analyses that make the world a better place.

As a veteran of the HPC industry, what keeps you motivated?
In HPC there is always something new to learn, some new discovery or some significant advance. Each day you can see how HPC makes the world better and that is highly motivating.