Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SC15 Announces New NSF-Funded Diversity Program for SCinet

SCinet, SC’s dedicated high-performance research network and backbone of information and communication, is running a new "pilot” program that will fund up to five US women candidates in their early to mid-career to join the SCinet volunteer workforce for SC15.

Marla Meehl
“I am very excited to be enabling career women to expand their experience at SC15” said Marla Meehl, Principal Investigator for the NSF grant and UCAR Manager of Network Engineering, Telecommunications, FRGP, and BiSON. “This is a fabulous opportunity for those chosen, and I appreciate NSF’s, SC15's, ESnet’s, and KINBER's commitment and support.  I hope this is the first in an ongoing effort to engage women in IT and SC.”

Funded by the NSF’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure: Infrastructure, Innovation Engineering (CC*IIE) Region: Rocky Mountain Cyberinfrastructure Mentoring and Outreach Alliance (RMCMOA) under grant number 1440642 and lead by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Reseach (UCAR), the Pennsylvania research network KINBER, and the Department of Energy’s network ESnet, selected candidates will receive full travel support and mentoring by well-known engineering experts in the networking community.

SCinet offers many unique growth opportunities for volunteers including hands-on training with emerging network hardware and software, working collaboratively with known experts in the networking field, and building new professional connections.

Applications are currently being reviewed and notifications of the SCinet candidates will be sent out August 15.

For specific details, click here.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SC15 Registration Is Open!

The wildly popular Austin, Texas is the location of SC15 this November.
Registration for SC15 is now open and will be held November 15-20 in Austin, Texas. This year’s registration offers several options for discounted rates, as well as an opportunity to participate in the Mentor-Protégé program.

Here are some key points about SC15 registration:
  • Register before October 15 and potentially save hundreds of dollars
  • Double your savings by joining one of our sponsoring societies (listed below)*
  • New "all workshops" rate lets you add all the workshops on November 15, 16, and 20 to your tech program registration for just $90 ($40 for students)
When registering, considering signing up for the Mentor-Protégé program organized by the Students@SC program. Mentors are especially needed to meet and talk with students at all levels. Sign-up by checking the appropriate box on the registration page. Click here to read more about this program.

Click here for more information on registering for SC15.

*Do you know you can save potentially hundreds of dollars with the special "member rates" available to members of one of the SC sponsors?  If you're not already a member, click on the organization you are interested in below:


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 31 is the Final Deadline for Remaining Technical Program Submissions!

Friday, July 31 is the final deadline for several Technical Program submissions, including Emerging Technologies, Posters, ACM Student Research Competition Posters, Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions (BoFs), Scientific Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase Program, and Doctoral Showcase.

Submissions due: Friday, July 31
Web submissions: https://submissions.supercomputing.org/

Show Off Your Next-Gen Innovations in the Emerging Technologies Track
The Emerging Technologies (ET) track is welcoming submissions for any new, potentially disruptive technology that might have a big impact on the HPC landscape in the medium to long term (5-15 years). While submissions from any potentially relevant emerging technology is welcomed, for 2015 we will have a particular focus on SoCs for HPC”. System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technologies which might be highly advantageous for HPC and so an exploration of how this space might disrupt HPC is timely.

Click here for more information.
Email contact: emerging-technologies@info.supercomputing.org

Poster & Student Research Competition Poster Submissions
Submissions are now being accepted for Posters and Student Research Competition Posters that display cutting-edge research and work in progress in high performance computing, storage, networking and analysis.

Click here for more information.
Web Submissions: https://submissions.supercomputing.org/
Email contact: posters@info.supercomputing.org

BoFs: Engage with Your HPC Community
Don't just observe, ENGAGE!

SC15 is soliciting submissions for Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) sessions which are among the most interactive, diverse, popular, and well-attended sessions of the SC conference series. The BoF sessions provide a non-commercial, dynamic venue for conference attendees to openly discuss current topics of focused mutual interest within the HPC community with a strong emphasis on audience-driven discussion, professional networking and grassroots participation.

Click here for more information.
Email contact: bofs@info.supercomputing.org

Submit Your Best Movies to the Scientific Visualization Showcase!
SC15’s Visualization and Data Analytics Showcase Program provides a forum for the year's most instrumental movies in HPC.  Six finalists will compete for the Best Visualization Award, and each finalist will present his or her movie during a dedicated session at SC15 in a 15-minute presentation. Movies are judged based on how their movie illuminates science, by the quality of the movie, and for innovations in the process used for creating the movie.

Click here for more information.
Email contact: vis_showcase@info.supercomputing.org

Showcase Your HPC Dissertation
The Doctoral Showcase Program invites graduating Ph.D. students in high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis to present their dissertation research and engage in stimulating discussions with the SC community. This program provides a unique opportunity for you, the graduate students, to engage and get feedback from other students, senior researchers and future employers! Don't be afraid to show off your HPC talents!

Click here for more information.
Email contact: doc-showcase@info.supercomputing.org

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SC15 Technical Program Committee Update from Recent Austin Meeting

The SC15 Technical Program Committee met in Austin on June 22nd-23rd. During the meeting, 358 paper submissions were discussed in nine different focus areas. Out of these papers, 57 papers were accepted for presentation at SC15 and 22 were accepted with shepherds. 

The Program Committee also nominated five papers for the Best Paper award and three for the Best Student Paper award. Additionally, one paper was nominated in both categories.

The Technical Papers chairs would like to thank all the authors and all the Technical Paper Committee members for making the SC15 technical program a success.

The list of accepted papers will be posted on Wednesday, August 12.  More details about the full program are available here.  Check back here for updates as they become available.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Poster & Student Research Competition Poster Submissions due July 31, 2015

SC Posters are known for facilitating open discussions, ideas and collaboration.
SC15 is soliciting submissions for Posters and Student Research Competition Posters that display cutting-edge research and work in progress in high performance computing, storage, networking and analysis.

Posters provide an excellent opportunity for short presentations and informal discussions with conference attendees. Posters will be prominently displayed for the duration of the Conference, giving presenters a chance to showcase their latest results and innovations. A Best Poster Award will also be presented based on quality of research work and quality of poster presentation.

This year, SC15 is encouraging authors to explore the integration of remotely hosted multimedia elements accessible through embedded QR codes into the poster. The goal of the embedded multimedia elements should be to enhance the presentation of research in the poster.

Click here for more information on Posters.

Applications due: July 31, 2015

Web Submissions: https://submissions.supercomputing.org/

Email contact: posters@info.supercomputing.org!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Focus on Austin: Electric Bicycle Foodie Tour

Article courtesy of Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau – The 1st in a series of articles about fun and interesting things to do in Austin.

Nicole Zinn and John Dawson wanted to show people around Austin from the perspective of a local. They agreed there’s no better way to do that than on a bicycle. They opened Rocket Electrics, Austin’s only all-electric bike shop, in 2011 and offer rentals, sales and tours focused on food, music and Lady Bird Lake.

Rocket Electrics Austin Foodie Tour departs from the Rocket Electrics shop on East Riverside Drive at 4 p.m. daily. Tours last about four hours. All food tours include an electric bike (ebike) rental, a tour guide and four courses from a diverse selection of Austin eateries.

Food tours are led by local foodies, and are interactive to cater to the interests and needs of each particular group. They take steps to ensure tours stop at delicious off-the-beaten path spots while avoiding lines at some of the more popular Austin spots.

Austin is a fun, culturally diverse and entertaining city.
When guests arrive for tours, which range from two to 35 riders, the folks at Rocket Electrics fit each person to an ebike, go through ebike operation and take a test lap around the parking lot. They talk about what kind of food guests want to sample and preferences they have, if any. Since Rocket Electrics is just off the shores of Lady Bird Lake, many of the Foodie Tours spend their first leg on the trail, away from cars, allowing guests to get comfortable with their ebikes.

While each tour is different, stops may include:
  • Russian House for a bowl of hot borscht
  • Torchy's Tacos for some great, creative food.
  • Via 313 for Detroit-style square pizza, specifically The Detroiter with cheese and double pepperoni
  • Casino El Camino for their famous Buffalo Burger grilled with hot wing sauce and smothered with bleu cheese
  • Gourdoughs for a sweet treat to end the evening’s tastings
Total tour mileage averages around six to eight miles round-trip. At the end of the tours, participants often ask owner Nicole Zinn for recommendations on other favorite Austin spots.

She also recommends:
  • Dolce Neve for the goat cheese pecan and dark chocolate cayenne gelato
  • Winebelly and Henri’s because they serve delicious food but are a bit lower key, making it easier to have a conversation and relax with friends
“Another out-of-the-way place with amazing food in a casual atmosphere is Gourmands,” Zinn says.

Be sure to check out the other Rocket Electrics tours, featuring live music and Lady Bird Lake.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

1988 Gordon Bell Prize Creates Foundation for Successful HPC Career

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Deputy Director Horst Simon still displays the 1988 Gordon Bell Prize he shared in. Behind him is the 2009 Gordon Bell Prize awarded to a team he was a part of. Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt, LBNL.
In the foyer of the main building at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a panel displaying the 13 Nobel Prize-winning researchers and projects associated with the lab takes pride of place. Just down the hallway, Deputy Lab Director Horst Simon has two awards displayed prominently in his office, Gordon Bell Prize certificates from 1988 and 2009.

Though not as famous as the prizes created by Alfred Nobel, the prizes endowed by Gordon Bell, who rose to fame as a computer designer for Digital Equipment Corp., are highly valued by the scientists whose scientific applications push the sustained performance of leading edge supercomputers. The awarding of each year’s prizes are a highlight of the SC conference held every November.

An industry article from the time.
Simon, along with Phong Vu, Cleve Ashcraft, Roger Grimes, John Lewis and Barry Peyton, achieved the first 1 gigaflop/s performance of a science application, running a general sparse matrix vectorization on a Cray Y-MP computer. At the time, Simon, Grimes and Lewis worked for Boeing Computing Services, Simon was based at NASA Ames, Vu worked at Cray Research, Ashcraft was at Yale and Peyton was at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The 1988 prize was awarded at the IEEE CompCon meeting held in March 1989 in San Francisco.

While Lewis, Grimes and Ashcraft developed the code, Simon had been using the eight-processor

Y-MP with a peak performance of 1.6 gigaflop/s at NASA Ames and saw the potential. After doing a lot of fine tuning, the team was able to get the highest performance from what many considered a machine with the “old” vector processing technology.
“At the time, there was a lot of debate about how to go parallel,” Simon recalled. “One path was with the Cray that had a few very powerful processors, while others were looking to systems with hundreds of smaller processors.”

In fact, the other two Gordon Bell Prizes awarded in 1988, one for best price-performance and another for compiler parallelization, were for applications run on a 1,024-processor N-CUBE. But none of the highly parallel systems of that time could claim a theoretical peak in excess of 1 gigaflop/s.

Winners of the 1988 Gordon Bell Prize are presented with the award.
“I was absolutely elated to be a member of the winning team – I was early in my career and thought that an award for parallel performance was a great idea,” Simon said. “I was fortunate to be in a great group at Boeing and be part of a great team at NASA. The award came at a time when parallel computing was emerging as a hot topic and it was a great career boost – it established my credentials in HPC.”

He has continued to add to those credentials, including serving as one of four editors of the twice-yearly TOP500 list, which rates the performance of the world’s fastest supercomputers.
Simon said that the original motivation for parallel computers was not how to solve problems that ran on one processor faster, but to solve problems that needed more processors. And the goal was to increase the overall speed as you scaled up to bigger and bigger machines.

The idea for the annual prize grew out of a SIAM meeting in 1985, when a group tossed around the idea of having a prize recognizing the speedup of real applications on real parallel machines. Alan Karp of IBM got things rolling by offering $100 out of his own pocket as a prize. Since 2011, the winners share $10,000.

The very first prize was given to Robert Benner, John Gustafson and Gary Montry, all of Sandia National Laboratories. Simon said their work was a conceptual breakthrough that helped define the future of parallel computing. In the late 1980s there was a lot of discussion of how much speed-up one could actually obtain on parallel computer for a fixed problem, later called strong scaling. The Sandia group defined what became to be known as weak scaling: the motivation for parallel computers was not how to solve problems that ran on one processor faster, but to solve problems that needed more processors. And the goal was to increase the overall speed as you scaled up to bigger and bigger machines.

For the first few years, the prize was awarded at CompCon, a general computing conference. But in the early 1990s, Simon worked with the SC conference committee to bring the Gordon Bell Prize into the supercomputing conference and the submissions deadline was changed to coincide with that of the conference. But unlike today where the prize entries are a formal part of the tech program, they were initially relegated to a Birds-of-a-Feather session.

At SC06 in Tampa Bay, the Gordon Bell Prize submissions were incorporated into a single track of the Technical Program. Also in 2006, the ACM assumed sponsorship and the name was officially changed to the ACM Gordon Bell Prize.

Fast forward to 2009 and Simon was a member of a team led by IBM’s Dharmendra Modha that created the largest brain simulation to date on a supercomputer, with the number of neurons and synapses in the simulation exceeding those in a cat’s brain. The team, which also included Rajagopal Ananthanarayanan and Steven K. Esser, won a Gordon Bell Prize in a special category for “The Cat is Out of the Bag: Cortical Simulations with 109 Neurons, 1013 Synapses.” For the project, the IBM team members came up with the idea and Simon provided the link to the supercomputing resources. Although the team did not claim to have actually simulated a cat brain, the award generated a flurry of controversy.

But the goal of simulating brain activity is nothing new. For years, Simon said, scientists have wondered if super computers could be used to create super intelligence, which although it has occurred in a number of films, cannot be done in silico.

“But it’s an interesting challenge and if we can understand how the brain computes, it could help us design more efficient computers,” Simon said. “After all, our brain only needs about 20 watts of power to easily outperform a supercomputer drawing 20 megawatts. If we could simulate a chip with brainlike characteristics, the results could help us build a better chip.”

The simulation of chips on HPC systems is interesting, but not mainstream, Simon said, which leads him to a parting anecdote.

“Steve Jobs wanted to design a one-piece plastic casing for the Apple 2 and used a Cray for the simulation of the injection mold flow process,” Simon said. “And when Seymour Cray was building the Cray 2, he used an Apple computer.”