Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Australian Teens Pick Up Supercomputing Knowledge, Souvenirs on Trip to SC15

The Australian group visits the U.S. Department of Energy booth at SC15.
Eight students from three specialized science schools in eastern Australia spent a week at the SC15 conference in Austin, Texas, with the goal of bringing home more than the usual conference swag -- they came looking for information that will help them with computing projects at their schools and experiences that will spur their classmates’ interest in high performance computing.

The students were selected from the Queensland Academy of Science, Mathematics and Technology (QASMT), and the Faith Lutheran College, both in Brisbane, and the John Monash Science School in Melbourne. The students, all but one are in their 10th school year, were part of a program created several years ago by Prof. David Abramson of the University of Queensland.

“A big highlight for me was a panel presentation on post-Moore’s Law looking at digital, quantum and neuromorphic computing from the perspectives of different scientists,” said Dylan Sanusi-Goh of the John Monash Science School (JMSS). “I also went to a Microsoft talk on quantum programming and then they walked me through how to do it. Here you get to do something you couldn’t do otherwise.”

Paro Mitchell of JMSS said she was interested in how computers are getting much faster, but also wanted to know what will happen after Moore’s Law no longer applies, and the doubling of computing power per processor every 18 months which has driven the industry for decades comes to an end. “Supercomputers are such a great technology and I wanted to know what we are using it for.”

One area of research benefiting from supercomputing -- the merging of black holes, their interactions and the gravitational waves that are generated caught the imagination of Olivia MacKenzie of the Queensland Academy.

Jess Woolley of JMSS said that although she hasn’t done any programming, she was learning a lot as the week progressed. At a visit to the nearby Texas Advanced Computing Center, she was excited to see an actual supercomputer and “how big and how loud they are, and see what’s inside of them.”

And learning about a wide range of science disciplines, possibilities and tools was one of the goals of the trip, said teacher Robyn Simpson of QASMT.

Linda McIver, a teacher at JMSS, said the students were selected partly for what they would bring back to get their schools excited about computing.

And the student have clear projects at their home institutions. At each of the three schools, they are installing sensors to measure different conditions in the buildings to make them both more efficient and more comfortable.

Jack Stubbs of the Queensland Academy said his group is rolling out eight sensors to help detect when and where the lights, air conditioning and heating should be on or off, “so we can be more eco-friendly.”

Sanusi-Goh said his group is installing sensors to measure light, sound, temperature and humidity in their school to improve future classroom design. His school consists of one building with three levels, and often the lower one is too cold while the top floor is too warm.

Woolley added that her group is interested in developing a system to better regulate classroom temperatures, which are set to 23 degrees Celsius, but the current system doesn’t take into account the effects of room occupancy.

Travis Jacob, the lone 11th year student in the group, and schoolmate Harrison Cook are using a few sensors to measure carbon dioxide levels to see how they rise and fall during the day at the Faith Lutheran College. They want to see if CO2 levels can be used to indicate room occupancy.

Teacher Stephen Blair of  Faith Lutheran College said the projects help show the students the value to solid data when making their cases about classroom conditions to school administrators and pointing out ways to improve their environments.

The students received travel support from Monash University, the University of Queensland, their schools and they have corporate sponsorship from SGI and ScaleMP.

Monday, November 23, 2015

On Evolving Network Security for a Research and Enterprise Network

SC15 security technology racks with help from Dell,
Gigamon, Reservoir Labs, Splunk, and Verisign.
With more than 12,000 researchers, students, professionals, and vendors attending the conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis conference, better known as SC, SC’s internet, SCinet, has to be at the forefront of network security research and implementations to stay ahead of the game on viruses, trojans, denial of service and other forms of compromise.

As the backbone of data communications for SC, SCinet supports high-bandwidth demos, HPC workshops, classrooms, and thousands of conference attendees accessing the network at any given point. With network traffic from the exhibit floor, wireless and external network traffic, there are many opportunities for the network to be compromised. SCinet’s Network Security team works to develop novel strategies to protect the integrity of the network.

“The Network Security team has transitioned from using signatures to detect single instances of malicious activity in the network to performing behavioral analytics, which track the overall patterns of security threats,” says Jeff Boote, Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories and co-lead for the SCinet Network Security team. “We started using these security algorithms to detect malicious hosts on the network about 2-3 years ago to be more proactive and evolve with the security trends.”

Resevoir Labs staff on SCinet. 
One reason for major changes in the current security strategy is the dramatic increase in network traffic at the conference. Carrie Gates, Chief Security Scientist at Dell Research and Co-lead for the Network Security team, estimates that the amount of traffic that they monitor is two to three orders of magnitude greater than the monitored traffic three years ago.

“We went from 2 10-gigabit taps (20-gigabit aggregate) in 2011, to 31 taps with 580-gigabit aggregate in 2015. With an expected 5000 simultaneous hosts on the Wi-Fi alone, on an open network that is only up for one to two weeks, the Network Security team must find novel ways to prevent malicious activity on the network,” says Gates.

Working with vendors and partners, the SCinet team integrates the technologies to monitor for harmful network traffic, detect and prevent compromised systems, and mitigate the effects of compromised systems.

Over the last three years, SCinet has used Gigamon to help monitor and secure its network operation centers and Internet access gateway. Gigamon acts as a type of mirror, allowing the Network Security team to peer into network traffic and observe a copy of the activity going through the gateway.  This traffic is being analyzed by technologies such as the Dell Firewall Sandwich, which provides high-speed deep packet inspection for malicious security events.

SCinet also serves as a research testbed for the network security.

“Back in 2000, the intrusion detection system, Bro, was being developed by Berkeley Lab and ICSI. SCinet was used as a place to test their technology on a network that is both production and research oriented,” says Gates. “It’s a balance here. SCinet provides the protection grade security of a full production network, while at same time working with technology experts who want to test new features. We’re able to provide both on SCinet. We provide production level network security while allowing for research innovation.”

One SCinet partner, Reservoir Labs, began as a SCinet Sandbox (now called Network Research Exhibition) project and is now an integral part of security architecture. Reservoir uses Bro technology under the covers to both log and analyze activity on the network.  Like Bro, Reservoir used SCinet to test the high-speed analysis features of their product while also providing production-level stability and results.

While SCinet has done behavior-based analysis of security data within a research context for more than a decade, these techniques are becoming ever more popular in day-to-day network operations. To fulfill that role in 2015, SCinet is using Splunk to aggregate the security events from Gigamon, Reservoir, and Dell SonicWALL, along with intelligence data from Verisign’s iDefense, to look for suspicious behaviors in network traffic.

This year, SCinet has over $5,000,000 in vendor loaned technology for network security.

The SC15 SCinet Network Operating Center brining in 1.62 Terabits per second
of network bandwidth.

We want to thank all the vendors and researchers over the years for engaging with SCinet and allowing us to explore the boundaries of security technologies. We look forward to seeing you at SC16!

Friday, November 20, 2015

China’s Team Diablo Turns Up the Heat to Win SC15 Student Cluster Competition

Tsinghua University Claims Third Cluster Competition Title this Year
Team Diablo from Tsinghua University, the overall winners of the SC15 Student Cluster Competition.
Team Diablo, a team of undergraduate students from Tsinghua University in China, won the top prize in the Student Cluster Competition at the SC15 conference in Austin, Texas. A team from Germany, Team TUMuch Phun from the Technical University of Munich, won the award for achieving highest performance for the Linpack benchmark.

For the Tsinghua University team, this was their third win, coming on the heels of victories at the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany and the Asia Supercomputing Community Student Supercomputer Challenge.

When they were announced as SC15 winners at the Thursday, Nov. 19, awards session, the team let out a whoop and went to the stage to collect their certificates.

“After they announced it, we were really excited,” said Youwei Zhou, a senior undergraduate student and team spokesman. “Our secret is teamwork and each member is capable of understanding the hardware and software. When we get stuck on a problem and cannot progress, we always figure it out with more people working on it. We also find potential performance increases this way.”

Zhou also said the each of this year’s winning teams from his university consisted of different students.

The Student Cluster Competition, which debuted at SC07 in Reno and has since been replicated in Europe, Asia and Africa, is a real-time, non-stop, 48-hour challenge in which teams of six undergraduates assemble a small cluster at SC15 and race to complete a real-world workload across a series of scientific applications, demonstrate knowledge of system architecture and application performance, and impress HPC industry judges.  

The students partner with vendors to design and build a cutting-edge cluster from commercially available components, not to exceed a 3120-watt power limit and work with application experts to tune and run the competition codes.

The award for Student Cluster Competition Overall Winner is based on the combined score for correctly completed workload, benchmark performance, demonstrated understanding of architecture and performance through profiling and analysis, and interviews.

In addition to the teams from China and Germany, the SC15 Student Cluster Competition line-up included:
      Team Desert Heat, Arizona Research Computing, United States
      Illinois Institute of Technology, United States
      National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan
      Northeastern University, United States
      Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Australia
      Universidad EAFIT, Colombia
      University of Oklahoma, United States

The Student Cluster Competition is part of the Students@SC Program. Funding for the SC15 Student Cluster Competition was provided by IEEE/ACM SC15 and supported by Allinea and Schlumberger.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

SC15 Breaks Exhibits and Attendance Records While in Austin, Texas

Noted science communicator and award-winning actor Alan Alda gives the SC15 Keynote Address in Austin, TX, where record-breaking attendance reached approximately  13,000 people.
 Media Contact: Brian Ban (773) 454-7423 or BrianBan@SC15Austin.com

Austin, TX - SC15, the 27th anniversary conference of high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage and analysis, celebrated the contributions of researchers and scientists - from those just starting their careers to those whose contributions have made lasting impacts.

The SC15 Exhibit Hall broke records in Austin, TX. (Click photo to enlarge.)
The conference drew a record-breaking 12,914+ registered attendees (as of data collected on 11/20) and featured a technical program spanning six days. The exhibit hall featured 343 exhibitors from industry, academia and research organizations from around the world.

Crowds rushed to the SC15 Exhibit Hall between engaging Technical Sessions.
“In a world of ever-growing, complex problems, high performance computing has a plethora of opportunities to impact lives across multiple fields,” said Jackie Kern, SC15 General Chair from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

SC15 found its home in Austin, TX - pictured here at dawn.
She continued, “No longer is high performance computing reserved for only the biggest corporations in the world. It is now trickling down to smaller, medium-sized firms, which is only increasing its impact. This conference brings together the best research and industry minds in the world for one packed week of sharing ideas, networking, and education.”

SC15 General Chair Jackie Kern being interviewed by Austin-CBS affiliate KEYE in the Exhibit Hall.
According to Kern, the SC15 Exhibition was sold out and the industry-focused exhibit space was the largest to date in the history of the conference. The 217 industry-focused exhibits also marks a new SC15 record. In addition to record-breaking exhibit space, there were a total of 43 first-time exhibitors and 113 international exhibitors from 23 countries (outside the US).  In all, there was a total of approx. 137,000 net square feet of exhibit space and 343 industry and research organizations

SCinet - once again, the world's fastest conference computer network.
During the conference, Austin also became the hub for the world’s fastest conference computer network - SCinet (SC15’s custom network) which made 1.62 (16 100G + 2 10G) Terabits of bandwidth available to exhibitors and attendees.  The network featured 84 miles of fiber deployed throughout the convention center and $18 million in loaned equipment.  It was all made possible by 130 volunteers representing global organizations spanning academia, government and industry.

Noted science communicator and award-winning actor Alan Alda opened the SC15 Technical Program with a keynote speech focusing on the role of science in our society and the intersection of science and computing to a full house of approximately 3,000 people in Austin, Texas on November 17th.

Jeffrey S. Vetter, the SC15 Technical Program Chair, takes the stage.
The Technical Program again offered the highest quality in original HPC research. The SC workshops set a new record with more than 2,000 attendees. There were 10 Best Paper Finalists and 5 Gordon Bell Finalists. These submissions represent the best of the best in a wide variety of research topics in HPC.

Congrats to the 2015 Gordon Bell Prize Award winners. The team received their award at SC15 for using innovative algorithms & implicit solvers to realistically simulate current conditions of the Earth’s interior for the first time. Their work could herald a major step toward more accurately predicting earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Overall Stats on Tech Program Tracks:

•    75 Birds-of-a-Feathers
•    78 Papers
•    12 Panels
•    135 Posters  
•    41 Tutorials
•    42 Workshops
•    14 Invited Speakers
•    14 Doctoral Showcase Presentations
•    10 Emerging Technology Presentations

Intel executive Diane Bryant addresses the crowd at the HPC Matters Plenary.
For the second year, SC featured an opening “HPC Matters” plenary that this year was led by Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, who discussed how next-generation supercomputers are transforming HPC.  She further identified exciting opportunities for advancing scientific research and discovery to deliver far-reaching impacts on society.

As part of this Plenary, Intel announced a $300,000 scholarship per-year for five years for women/minorities with STEM undergraduate degrees to fund fellowships for those pursuing PhD's degrees in computational and data science.  This commitment is in honor of Intel's third CEO Andrew Grove. 

The entire Plenary is available online and available by clicking here.

SC16 will be held next November 13th-18th in Salt Lake City, Utah.  For more details, click here.

About SC15
SC15, sponsored by ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and IEEE Computer Society offers a complete technical education program and exhibition to showcase the many ways high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. This premier international conference includes a globally attended technical program, workshops, tutorials, a world class exhibit area, demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning. For more information on SC15, please visit http://www.sc15.supercomputing.org/, or contact communications@info.supercomputing.org for more information.

About ACM
ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery www.acm.org, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hear from NSF's Aaron Dubrow as He Lists 10 Ways Advanced Computing Catalyzes Science

Visualization of 3-D Cerebellar Cortex model generated by researchers Angus Silver and Padraig Gleeson from University College London. The NeuroScience Gateway was used for simulations. Credit: Angus Silver and Padraig Gleeson, University College London
When researchers need to compare complex new genomes; or map new regions of the Arctic in high-resolution detail; or detect signs of dark matter; or make sense of massive amounts of fMRI data, they turn to the high-performance computing and data analysis systems supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

High-performance computing (HPC) enables discoveries in practically every field of science - not just those typically associated with supercomputers like chemistry and physics - but also in the social sciences, life sciences and humanities.

By combining superfast and secure networks, cutting-edge parallel computing and analytics software, and advanced scientific instruments and critical datasets across the U.S., NSF's cyber-ecosystem lets researchers investigate questions that can't otherwise be explored.

NSF has supported advanced computing since its beginning and is constantly expanding access to these resources to help tens of thousands of researchers each year - from high school students to Nobel Prize winners -- at institutions large and small, regardless of geographic locality, expand the frontiers of science and engineering.

Click here for 10 examples of research -- enabled by advanced computing resources -- from across all of science.

Excerpted with permission from Aaron Dubrow, the National Science Foundation

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Alan Alda Gives Inspiring Keynote to Open SC15 in Austin Today

Alan Alda gives the 2015 SC Keynote to more than 3,000 attendees on Nov. 17th in Austin. 
Noted science communicator and award-winning actor Alan Alda opened SC15 with keynote speech focusing on the role of science in our society and the intersection of science and computing to a full house of more than 3,000 people in Austin, Texas on Nov. 17.

SC15 Chair Jackie Kern
“High performance computing has a transformational impact on science in our society,” comments SC15 general chair Jackie Kern, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. “For decades scientists and engineers have relied on high performance computing to advance the state of the art in diverse fields ranging from healthcare and automotive safety to renewable energy. Computing is now fully integrated into the scientific discovery process, an equal partner with theory and experiment in improving the quality of life for all members of our global society.

She continues, "Mr. Alda’s focus on communicating the benefits of science to the public—and how we can all do this more effectively—makes him uniquely positioned to help SC continue to bridge the gaps in science understanding and highlight our role in the discovery process.”

To view the write up in the Austin Business Journal, click here.

Mr. Alda--actor, writer, science advocate, and Visiting Professor at Stony Brook University—shared his passion for science communication and its importance, drawing on his personal experiences including his 11 years as host of the TV series Scientific American Frontiers.

Throughout his 40-year career, he has won seven Emmys, six Golden Globes, and three Directors Guild of America awards for directing. Alda also hosted the 2010 PBS mini-series The Human Spark and wrote Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie, a play about the personal life of the great scientist who discovered radium. He teamed up with PBS again in 2013 for Brains on Trial, a neurological look at brains in the court room.

A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, Alda is a visiting professor at and founding member of Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he helps develop innovative programs on how scientists communicate with the public. He is also on the Board of Directors of the World Science Festival.

Monday, November 16, 2015

SC15 HPC Matters Plenary Session Available Now Online

SC15 just released the full HPC Matters Plenary on YouTube for all to access.  Watch as Jackie Kern, SC15 General Chair from the University of Illinois, introduces Diane Bryant who then discusses how next-generation supercomputers are transforming HPC and presents exciting opportunities to advance scientific research and discovery to deliver far-reaching impacts on society.

As part of this Plenary, Intel announced a $300,000 scholarship per year for five years for women/minorities with STEM undergraduate degrees to fund fellowships for those pursuing PhD's degrees in computational and data science.  This commitment is in honor of Intel's third CEO Andrew Grove.

 Making special appearances were Intel Fellows Mark Bohr, Matt Adiletta, Al Gara, Mark Seager, Bill Magro, and Pradeep Dubey.

Closing out the HPC Matters Plenary was Wilf Pinfold, HPC Matters Chair from Concurrent Systems. Wilf encouraged future engagement by the audience in the HPC Matters theme for the coming year.  To learn more about the HPC Matters Program, click here or to view the HPC Matters short, compelling videos, click here.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Connecting Live in Austin with One of the Mosts Powerful Networks in the World

The SCinet network, SC’s Supercomputing Internet, is now live! On November 14, the Austin Convention Center became home to the fastest and most innovative computer network in the world built by volunteers, delivering more than 1.6 terabits per second of network bandwidth to the SC conference (SC15).

SCinet gives the SC conference attendees a unique chance to showcase and discover the latest research in HPC. By building the fastest, most innovative operational network possible every year, SCinet enables data-intensive research and live-use of high performing hardware to run multi-gigabit demonstrations, requiring a fast and robust infrastructure.

SC15 SCinet Contributors (click to enlarge).
“This network is unrivaled with regards to its capabilities and the broad-reaching influence, both nationally and internationally, to support demonstrations and experiments that could not be done easily in any other place. It’s a one-of-a-kind environment where research meets production,” says Davey Wheeler, SCinet Chair and Senior Network Engineer from the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). “As the SCinet Chair leading the development of this network, this year is a culmination of 17 years of experience working on SCinet from year to year. It is humbling and honoring to be able to work aside these colleagues and see the tremendous talent, dedication, and creativity of the volunteers.”

SCinet is built by a team of expert volunteers from around the world, taking one year to design the network, three weeks to set it up, four days to operate it, and twenty-four hours to tear it down. Over 100 engineers from industry, academia and government institutions came together to build this network, using over $22 million in loaned equipment and over 89 miles of newly installed fiber optic cables.

“Having been the SCinet Chair for SC07 in Reno, I am intimately familiar with the incredible amount of planning and work that goes into creating what will be the most powerful network. Over 130 SCinet volunteers from more than 15 countries have worked energetically for the past year to provide wired and wireless access to our conference attendees, and the platform for our exhibitors to showcase bandwidth-driven HPC and cloud computing applications. SCinet continues to be a crucial part of SC and I am extremely grateful for their hard work,” says Jackie Kern, Director of IT Shared Services at UIUC and SC15 Conference Chair.

For SC15, SCinet has connected multiple 100 gigabit circuits, bringing an unprecedented 1.62 terabits per second of bandwidth to the Austin Convention Center. Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN) leads this effort in collaboration with leading national and international research networks and commodity providers. LEARN and SCinet supports the HPC community by providing multiple 100 gigabit waves and complementary capabilities throughout the SC15 conference events. 

In addition to the massive external capacity SCinet brings to the convention center, the network is also supporting research initiatives through a half-day workshop, Innovating the Network for Data-Intensive Science (INDIS); and the Network Research Exhibition (NRE). SCinet organizes the INDIS workshop to discuss technical papers and show floor demonstrations dedicated to high performance networking technologies, innovations, protocols, hardware, and much more.

Further, SCinet is providing the wireless connectivity for more than 11,000 expected conference attendees throughout the conference areas. The SCinet team built the SC15 wireless network using 339 wireless access points to support more than 4,000 simultaneous users on the conference wifi. The wireless network will include support for eduroam (education roaming) service, which allows users (researchers, teachers, students, and staff) from participating institutions to securely access the protected wireless network using their home organization’s login credentials.

SCinet is the result of the hard work and significant contributions of many government, research, education and corporate collaborators who have volunteered time, equipment and expertise to ensure SC15’s success. This year, SCinet continued the Contributors Program and we would like to give a special thank you to all SCinet contributors and volunteers!

Platinum contributors: CenturyLink, Ciena, ESnet, Infinera, Internet2, Juniper Networks, and Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN).

Gold contributors: Brocade, Cisco, and Gigamon.

Silver contributors: Alcatel-Lucent, Arista, Austin Convention Center, Dell, Greater Austin Area Telecommunications Network (GAATN), inMon, IXIA, Reservoir Labs, Spirent, and The University of Texas System.

Bronze contributors: CABLExpress, Commscope, Splunk, Verisign, and Viavi Solutions.

Volunteers from the following organizations supporting the development and deployment of SCinet: Alcatel-Lucent, Army Research Laboratory, CABLExpress Corporation, CENIC, CenturyLink, Ciena, Cisco, Clemson University, DFN-Verein, DataDirect Networks, Dell Research, Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), Florida LambdaRail (FLR), Freelance, Georgia Institute of Technology, Idaho State University, InMon Corporation, Indiana University, Indiana University GlobalNOC, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Infinera, Internet Consulting of Vermont, Internet2, JDSU, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lonestar Education and Research Network (LEARN), Louisiana Optical Network Initiative (LONI), Louisiana State University, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, REANNZ, Radware, Reservoir Labs, SURFnet, Sandia National Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, University of Amsterdam, University of California, San Diego, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Heidelberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Michigan, University of Oklahoma, University of Pittsburgh, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, University of Texas, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Utah Education Network, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

If you’re interested in volunteering for SCinet or participating in the Contributor’s Program for SC16, please email scinet@info.supercomputing.org.

HPCwire Interviews Diane Bryant On Eve of HPC Matters Plenary

HPC Matters Plenary Speaker Diane Bryant
Thomas Ayres and Tiffany Trader for HPCwire

Back in September, the news broke that Intel’s Senior Vice President Diane Bryant was named the HPC Matters plenary speaker for the SC15 conference taking place in Austin, Texas.

The theme for this year’s HPC Matters program is “Fueling the Transformation” and Bryant, along with multiple industry luminaries, will be taking the stage before the SC15 opening gala on November 16 to discuss the myriad of ways that HPC is transforming lives.

Bryant leads Intel’s datacenter business unit, one of the chipmaker’s strongest segments. This year, FORTUNE magazine named Bryant to its Most Powerful Women in Business list. Criteria for selection to this prominent listing includes the importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, health and direction of the business, career arc, and cultural influence.

This dovetails well with Bryant’s role as speaker for this year’s HPC Matters plenary. The HPC Matters program, launched by the SC program committee two years ago, rests on four pillars: influencing daily lives, science and engineering, economic impact, and education.

Bryant speaks frequently on all of these issues and has been especially prominent in promoting the benefits of diversity in the workplace. For the upcoming HPC Matters plenary, Bryant will draw on her experience running Intel’s datacenter group, which includes the HPC business segment and products ranging from high-end coprocessors for supercomputers, to big data analytics solutions, to high-density systems for the cloud. In the exclusive interview to follow, she shares her thoughts on where she sees HPC heading in the upcoming years, why it’s an important topic in our world, and how her career at Intel has shaped her views on HPC. Following is the interview:

HPCwire: What key points are you going to touch on in your presentation?
Diane Bryant: We are in the midst of an unprecedented change in High Performance Computing. Everything about how HPC systems are used and built is going to change over the next decade. HPC must support more complex models with more and more data, and enable new usages as industries realize the benefits of very powerful real-time analytics.  To meet these needs, HPC must achieve exascale performance and beyond, while expanding access to more users.  This will require a transformation of not only the systems, but the entire solution stack.

How does HPC matter to you?
Diane Bryant: As an engineer, what excites me is seeing how information technology is used to solve real world problems.  HPC is a transformational capability helping solve society’s most pressing challenges.  Look at the improvements in life science and precision medicine that have really been enabled by researchers and physicians gaining access to more powerful supercomputers.  Seeing industry after industry take these tools with Intel technology as their foundation and use them to improve lives and drive economic growth is tremendously gratifying and exciting to all of us who work to push IT forward.

Click here to go to the full HPCwire article.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

An Elite Group: the SC Perennials

Do you know the SC Perennials?

Do you know how to recognize them at SC15?

Well, here's a hint. 

You can recognize that select group of 18 individuals who will be making their 28th consecutive appearance at the SC conference, by the unique lapel pin bestowed upon each of them (listed below).

If you see someone wearing this lapel pin, you don't have to salute.  No need to buy them a drink (unless of course you feel strongly about it).  And most of all, you should not refer to them as, "old timers".

The SC Perennials are very young at heart, and we stand tall with our motto, "We Keep Coming Back."

 (listed in alphabetical order)
  • Mike Bernhardt / Intel
  • Bill Boas / System Fabric Works
  • Vito Bongiorno / Cray Inc.
  • Jim Bottum / Clemson Univ. / Internet2
  • Maxine Brown / Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
  • Jack Dongarra / Univ. of Tennessee and ORNL
  • John L. Gustafson
  • Fred Johnson
  • Anne Marie Kelly / IEEE Computer Society
  • John M. Levesque / Cray Inc.
  • Allen D. Malony / Univ. of Oregon
  • Kenichi Miura / NII / LBNL
  • Steve Poole
  • Ralph Roskies / Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
  • Horst Simon / LBNL
  • Burton Smith
  • Quentin F. Stout / Univ. of Michigan
  • Steve Wallach

Article by Mike Bernhardt.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

SC15 Releases Exclusive Podcast with Science Advocate and Emmy Award Winning Actor Alan Alda

SC15 Keynote Presenter Alan Alda
Listen to Alan Alda, SC15 Keynote Speaker and founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stonybrook University, as he talks about the urgency for clear, engaging and accurate communication in high performance computing (and the importance of supercomputers in general) in this short, but enlightening conversation with SC’s Jorge Salazar.

Alan Alda Excerpt:
“I think the kind of transformation that's already been brought about by high performance computing is extraordinary. And for it to go further and fully realize its potential requires another kind of transformation… Powerful computing affects all our lives and can hopefully save our lives.

It can eventually help us survive some of our unfortunate efforts that have affected climate, for instance. To model climate change is one of the great benefits we're going to get from supercomputing. The trouble is, to really help the public understand all the benefits that they can get from supercomputing, it has to be communicated with clarity so that they get it and they get excited by it… (thus) I think we have to transform the scientists who are explaining this to the public before the public will allow them and participate with them in transforming their own lives with this amazing ability to model things on supercomputers.”

Listen to the full podcast by clicking here.

Alan Alda, actor, director and writer, has had a lifelong interest in science. He hosted the PBS program Scientific American Frontiers from 1993 to 2005, an experience he called "the best thing I ever did in front of a camera." Perhaps best known as surgeon 'Hawkeye' Pierce on the TV series MASH, Alda has won seven Emmys, six Golden Globes, and three Directors Guild of America awards for directing. His two memoires are both New York Times bestsellers.

A recipient of the National Science Board’s Public Service Award, Alda is a visiting professor at and founding member of Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, where he helps develop innovative programs on how scientists communicate with the public. He is also on the Board of Directors of the World Science Festival.

For more details on the SC15 Keynote Address, click here.  To view the SC15 videos Alan Alda references in this discussion, click here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

SC15: Start the Countdown

SC15 welcome banners are up today in downtown Austin.
Preparing for SC15
SC15 will be a rich and exciting experience for both new and old attendees. To start planning your agenda, begin at the SC15 website. Here you will find descriptions of the activities and a detailed Technical Program Schedule that can be used to build your own personalized agenda.

When viewing the online Technical Program Schedule, once you select an event and want to add it to your personal schedule, just click on one of the calendar icons (Outlook, iCal or Google calendar) and that event will be stored there.

Get the SC15 Mobile App Now Available!
The SC15 App is now available. You can download it from the Apple and Android app stores by searching for SC15 or click here for all the details.. An HTML5 version is available here.

The SC15 app will include the standard components from years past, but with new features for improved attendee experience. Features in the new app include:
  •     Searchable event schedule for easy-to-find sessions and events
  •     Attendee personalization, scheduling and notes within the app
  •     SC15 updates to keep attendees informed and involved
  •     Exhibitor directory with map
  •     Ability for attendees to easily share their SC experience through Live Activity Feed and Social Media
  •     QR Code reader to quickly find SC15 information
  •     In-app access to session surveys for sessions you’ve bookmarked in your schedule
  •     Integration with ACM Digital Library so that finding session speaker papers and abstracts during the conference is a cinch
You will need to log in to the app and establish an account with your email address. This account will allow you to access your calendar, notes, and other in-app data to sync across multiple devices.

Safety Notes
We value the safety of all SC attendees and want you to focus on enjoying your stay and experience at the conference. To assist you, here are a few common conference reminders and safety pointers to help make sure you have a safe and productive trip.
  •     Please make sure to use the buddy system, multiple persons are better--don’t ever walk alone at night.
  •     Make sure you have a phone on you in case of emergencies and you have at least one other attendee’s contact information.
  •     Please DO NOT WEAR YOUR CONFERENCE BADGE outside of the convention center. This is often a targeting mechanism for scammers and criminals.
  •     Ask your hotel staff if certain areas are safe/not safe before going out.
  •     Don’t leave your belongings unattended.
  •     If you are driving, take a second to double check that your car doors are locked.
  •     Stay on well lit or major streets at night.
Upon arrival at the Austin Convention Center, please proceed to the registration in the Atrium to register and pick up your badge, which you need to wear at all times. We strongly encourage Workshop and Tutorials participants to register the day before the event to avoid long registration lines, or you can register online.

The registration desk will be open as follows:
  • Saturday - Nov 14: 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Sunday - Nov 15: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday - Nov 16: 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday - Nov 17: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday - Nov 18: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday - Nov 19: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday - Nov 20: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Please note: anyone attending the HPC Matters Plenary will need to have a badge, but there is no fee to get one in order to attend the Plenary.

How SC is Organized
There are four main components of the SC Conference: Technical Program, Exhibits, Students@SC, and SCinet:

Technical Program: the heart of the conference, the technical program provides multiple forums for sharing research, development, and applications in high performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis:
  •     HPC Matters Plenary
  •     Invited Talks
  •     Technical Papers
  •     Tutorials
  •     Panels
  •     Workshops
  •     Posters
  •     Emerging Technologies
  •     Scientific Visualization Showcase
  •     Birds of a Feather
  •     Awards
Technical Program registration and badge are needed for attending most of these sessions, while tutorials and workshops require separate registrations.

For the full Attendee Guide, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

SC15's SCinet “Network Research Exhibition” Demonstrates Innovations on High-Capacity Networks, Driving Science Discovery

Look for these signs to find the NRE 2015 demos.
The 2015 edition of SC15’s SCinet Network Research Exhibition, a forum to showcase new and cutting-edge networking technologies, will host the Second Annual Workshop on Innovating the Network for Data Intensive Science (INDIS) on Monday, November 18.

This year’s workshop will feature new emerging technologies, such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), Science DMZs, network function virtualization (NFV), software-defined exchanges (SDX), Openflow, and many more services used in computing and storage.

These technologies are changing how SCinet, universities, supercomputing centers, data centers, networks and clouds operate. During this workshop further discussions will ensue on more exotic technologies around the corner with wide-area Infiniband, Named Data Networking and Intent-based Networking.

“The influence of these technologies on the scientific process has been tremendous,” says Brian Tierney, Staff Scientist at Berkeley Lab and co-chair of NRE. “Using Science DMZs gives scientists access to a wealth of data unconstrained by geography and time to transfer the data. Supercomputing centers are now optimized around massive data pipes and storage. The worldwide high-speed optical networks and exchanges are specifically architected to support this new paradigm of data intensive science.”

SCinet is deeply interested and involved in working with these technologies, which work to support and meet various supercomputer and data application requirements. Therefore SCinet looks to demonstrate the newest developments at SC every year. The INDIS workshop will host a panel session on the influence of these developments on SCinet’s core technology, thus demonstrating the proof of concepts for inclusion in future production networks.

“Technologies like SDN, NFV and Science DMZs will make their way into SCinet as these are adopted by the HPC community. SCinet is ideally positioned to endeavor and dry-run the new emerging technologies while supporting cutting-edge high performance computing and data processing applications on the SC exhibition floor,” said Professor Dr. Cees de Laat, this year’s co-chair of NRE.

The goal of NRE 2015 is to highlight network innovations from the experiments running over SCinet, the SC conference’s dedicated high performance research and production network. SCinet serves as the platform for exhibitors to demonstrate the advanced computing resources of their home institutions and elsewhere by supporting a wide variety of bandwidth-driven applications, including supercomputing and cloud computing.

At the same time, the SCinet team is working to improve the platform and drive innovation in the arena of interconnecting networks. The INDIS workshop, organized by the SCinet team, brings together those developments from the different booths and the show floor network.

The program for INDIS can be found by clicking here.

Descriptions of the NRE demos are available here.

Editorial Note: Mary Hester was instrumental in this article.