Although everything in HPC seems to be changing, the foundation remains strong. It’s all about community and collaboration. This year at SC15, the Intel booth will expand on a highly successfully concept introduced at last year’s show — the Intel Community Hub. It’s a unique opportunity for SC15 attendees to interact on a personal basis with many of the leaders, influencers, technologists, developers and end users from throughout the global HPC community. The Hub will feature a variety of community discussion groups, moderated panels, fireside chats and informative presentations designed to educate and inspire conversation on important, timely topics.
According to Mike Bernhardt, an HPC Community Evangelist in Intel’s Technical Computing Group who will be making his 28th consecutive appearance at the SC conference, “Intel’s Community Hub will be a popular gathering place for members of the HPC community to share experiences, discuss lessons learned, foster collaboration, get updates on programs with global impact and engage in dialogue with industry luminaries and Intel experts. It’s a place where HPC professionals, at all levels of experience, can not only interact with the community’s top hardware, software and application experts in our industry, but also share their own experiences and seek guidance on their own parallel computing and application challenges.”
Below are just a few highlights reflecting several of the diverse activities that will take place at this year’s Hub.
Code Modernization and the Evolution of HPC Architecture
Two of the themes that will enliven many of the discussions include code modernization and the many, often conflicting perspectives regarding the evolution of HPC architecture as we move toward exascale.
“Code modernization, while not a label that everyone agrees with, is nonetheless a hot topic, a major HPC industry push to develop a new generation of highly parallelized applications and to retrofit existing apps to take full advantage of today’s manycore systems as well as the next generations of highly parallel systems coming to market in the near future,” says Bernhardt. “HPC users who are now involved in code modernization initiatives will recount their experience and provide tips and techniques based on the lessons they have learned along the way.”
- One of the many community group discussions will examine the role of the Intel Parallel Computing Centers, a major collaborative effort aligned with various organizations around the world to help modernize strategic pieces of HPC community code. Included will be a poster session featuring the work of a number of Intel® Parallel Computing Centers, and don’t miss the book signing by Intel’s James Reinders and James Jeffers, authors of High Performance Parallelism Pearls and High Performance Parallelism Pearls Volume Two.”
- Also on hand and interacting with attendees will be members of an elite group of “Black Belt” software experts from throughout the community. Their job is to train and support the HPC community regarding the adoption of parallel programming and modern code techniques. All the Black Belt members — only 60 worldwide — have been certified by Intel as experts in the development, modernization and optimization of code.
- A luminary panel titled, “Directions in HPC Architecture” will take center stage when IDC’s Earl Joseph puts the spotlight on three of the community’s best known voices: Al Gara, Intel Fellow and Chief Architect of Intel’s Technical Computing System Architecture and Pathfinding, and a former IBM fellow and Chief Architect for three generations of the Blue Gene platform; the legendary Thomas Sterling who heads up the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Computing (CREST) at Indiana University and is also known as the “Father of Beowulf;” and one of the most active and widely respected leaders of the HPC community, Bronis de Supinski, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Livermore Computing (LC) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
- Another take on the evolution of HPC architecture will be the subject of an Intel Fellows panel at which attendees will hear first-hand from three of Intel’s top technology leaders, Al Gara, and Intel Fellows Mark Seager and Bill Magro. This Fellows panel will include a discussion of Intel’s scalable system framework, a blueprint for developing the next generations of HPC systems that combine Intel Xeon and Intel Xeon Phi processors, Intel Omni-Path fabric, silicon photonics, innovative memory technologies and the Intel solutions for Lustre parallel file system software.
“Rather than approaching system design from the components up, the formula for driving expected performance gains moving forward is an architectural direction based on building HPC systems with a holistic, top-down approach,” comments Bernhardt. “The result is a well-balanced, system-level architectural framework that brings together the requisite building blocks, components, elements and software stack to deliver highly scalable, well balanced, flexible systems for compute- and data-intensive workloads.”
Storage and More
- Another panel discussion, led by Brad Settlemyer of LANL, will focus on the storage aspects of the FastForward program, a DOE initiative designed to accelerate the R&D of critical component technologies needed for extreme-scale computing.
- An interview session on the hot topic of machine learning will feature Perdeep Dubey, an Intel Fellow and director of Intel’s Parallel Computing Lab, who happens to be one of the best known voices on the topic of machine learning.
- Birds-of-a-feather discussions and more personalized “Fireside chat” sessions will also be on tap.
- And finally, addressing an important topic which happens to be a company-wide strategic initiative for Intel, several sessions in the Community Hub will deal with the subject of diversity in HPC. Not only will women in HPC be a topic of discussion, but participants will also explore the ramifications of a changing work force as the entire field of HPC evolves in ways that we can only guess at today.
Stop by the Hub
“I would like to invite every SC15 attendee to visit the Intel Community Hub,” Bernhardt concludes. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for SC attendees to take part in building a stronger, even more vital HPC Community.
“You’ll be in one-on-one contact with some of the most outstanding luminaries in HPC. You’ll be interacting with your peers and sharing lessons learned as we move into a new, exciting era of advanced computing on the road to exascale. The Intel Community Hub provides a unique window into the evolution of the HPC Community — it’s an event you won’t want to miss. See you in Austin.”
John Kirkley, President of Kirkley Communications, is a writer and editor who specializes in HPC.