All posts by shainer

The HPC Advisory 2012 European Conference

On June 17th we held the HPC Advisory 2012 European Conference in Hamburg Germany, the day before ISC’12. Around 100 attendees participated in the workshop. We would to thank AMD, DataDirect Networks, Mellanox, Xyratex, Intel, Transtec, 451 Research, HPC Wire, InsideHPC and Scientific Computing World for sponsoring and covering the conference. We would like also to thank the presenter for their interesting presentations. One can find all of the presentation on the conference web page –




Colleges & Supercomputers: State, Schools and Private Sector Teaming Up To Push Innovation

The role of technology in education is greater today than ever before. As a result, many cutting-edge colleges and universities are teaming up with state agencies and private businesses to deliver state-of-the-art computing systems to students. These collaborations enable researchers and technicians to advance innovation at the college level.

One such partnership took place in May 2011, when IBM donated a supercomputer to New York’s Union College to celebrate the school’s newly opened Peter Irving Wold Center. A $22 million project, Times Union reported that the center is devoted to “innovative research and exploration”. Now, thanks to IBM, researchers at the center will have access to the $1 million ‘intelligent cluster’ of 88 servers and more than 1,000 processors, which collectively allows 10 billion calculations 1,000 times per second.

IBM reportedly plans to work with Union researchers to develop a neuroscience-imaging project and conduct an environmental analysis of the Mohawk River. John E. Kelly III, a Union alumnus and IBM’s current senior vice president and director of research, noted that the system is a fitting counterpart to the supercomputer found at nearby Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He said, “This concentration of computer technology and computational horsepower between RPI and Union is incomparable anywhere in the world.”

Partnerships like that of Union College and IBM have become almost commonplace in recent years. In 2007, Butler University received more than $10 million in donations from two private entities, the Richard L. Fairbanks Foundation and businessman (and Butler alum) Frank Levinson. The donations were used to improve Butler’s science program and upgrade the school’s supercomputer, Big Dawg, to perform 8 times faster. In October 2011, Berkshire Community College in Massachusetts launched an advanced computing program after it was awarded more than $330,000 in grant money from local research company, Nuclea Biotechnologies and the Mass. Life Sciences Center, a state-funded institute.

Other partnerships are forged exclusively between higher learning institutions. One example is the proposed Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, a supercomputer network that would link Northeastern University, Harvard, Boston University, MIT and University of Massachusetts. Slated for inception in 2013, officials at these schools believe the system will have applications in virtually every college-level discipline.

In addition to private sector investors, government agencies have also made donations to colleges and/or college students for purposes of technological advancement. In Spring 2012, University of Wisconsin Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor, Dan Negrut, received a $120,000 instrumentation grant from the US Army Research Office. The grant will allow Professor Negrut to augment the school’s supercomputer, which is primarily utilized by the Wisconsin Applied Computing Center. In addition, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, sponsored by the US Department of Defense, has been conferred to roughly 3,200 students since the program was launched in 1990. The fellowship is awarded to US students in 15 different scientific disciplines, and fully finances 3 years of tuition for each recipient. The program is intended to increase “the number and quality of the nation’s scientists and engineers,” according to an article by UDaily, the school newspaper of University of Delaware.

Though collegiate supercomputing is still in its early stages, the trend stands to rise significantly in the coming years. For many campuses, the only hindrance to adopting such advanced technology is the high price tag of these computing systems. Thankfully, state agencies and private donors are seeing positive results with systems they have already invested in, and are likely to collaborate with many more colleges and universities in the coming years.

Abby Ledford

GraphLab – Workshop on Big Learning

The GraphLab workshop on large scale machine learning is a meeting place for both academia and industry to discuss upcoming challenges of large scale machine learning and solution methods. GraphLab is Carnegie Mellon’s large scale machine learning framework. The workshop will include demos and tutorials showcasing the next generation of the GraphLab framework, as well as lectures and demos from the top technology companies about their applied large scale machine learning solutions.

When – July 9th, 2012

Where – San Francisco

More info –


Danny Bickson

Distinguished mathematician, professor, diversity advocate Richard Tapia to deliver keynote at XSEDE12

Richard Tapia, Rice University Professor of Engineering and Computational and Applied Mathematics, recent recipient of the National Medal of Science, and longtime diversity advocate, has agreed to deliver a keynote speech during the XSEDE12 conference in Chicago, July 16-20.

XSEDE is the eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, a new NSF-funded national cyberinfrastructure service that began in July of 2011, succeeding the TeraGrid. The XSEDE12 conference is the inaugural conference for science, education, outreach, software, and technology related to XSEDE and to the NSF Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering (CIF21).

Tapia serves XSEDE as director of the XSEDE Scholars Program, assists underrepresented minority students who are earning degrees in computing-related fields at research institutions and provides them with opportunities for learning more about high-performance computing and XSEDE, networking with the research community, and participation in XSEDE-facilitated research experiences.

At Rice University, Tapia is a mathematician and professor in computational and mathematical sciences, the Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering, and Director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education. In December 2011, he was named a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) “for significant contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and extraordinary efforts to foster diversity, inclusiveness and excellence in the mathematical sciences.” In October 2011, he was presented the National Medal of Science — the highest national honor that can be bestowed on a U.S. scientist — by President Obama in a White House ceremony. Tapia received the award “for his pioneering and fundamental contributions in optimization theory and numerical analysis and for his dedication and sustained efforts in fostering diversity and excellence in mathematics and science education.” 

Also, please note that all paper submissions for XSEDE12 are due April 25; see Call For Participation at: .




Contact: Susan McKenna, media communications coordinator, XSEDE,


Susan McKenna

HPC Advisory Council Swiss 2012 Conference

Last week we held the 2012 Swiss conference, together with the Swiss Supercomputing Center. Around 150 attendees participated in the 3-days conference, which covered many topics – from storage to interconnect, systems, GPUs, MPI, SHMEM, PGAS and couple of new topics – Cloud and Big Data. The presentations from the conference are posted on the conference web page, and you can fine many videos on insideHPC.

I would like to thank the sponsors – Acer, AMD, CSCS, HP, IBM, Mellanox, NVIDIA, Panasa, Texas Memory Systems, DataDirect Networks, Gnodal, ParTec, Sysfera and Xyratex.




Happy Holidays and Happy new Year!

2011 was a great year for the HPC Advisory Council. We have created and published many best practices, established new special interest groups and conducted multiple HPC conferences around the world – Switzerland, Germany, China, Ukraine and in the USA. I would like to thank all who helped with the council activities throughout the year.


We are looking forward to even busier 2012 – we will be doing at least six HPC conferences – starting in Israel in February, Switzerland in March, Germany in June, Spain in September, China in October and USA in December. We might add couple more during 2012.

We continue to collect more training material to post on our web site – please send us anything that makes sense to info at hpcadvisorycouncil dot com. As well as any suggestions or ideas. Below a picture from our latest Stanford HPC conference.

Wishing you all happy holidays and happy new year!

Gilad and the HPC Advisory Council board



Enabling Discovery with Dell HPC Solutions Workshop in Lexington, KY October 25th, 2011

Join us on October 25th 2011 for an HPC Workshop “Enabling Discovery with Dell HPC Solutions” in Lexington, KY.  The event will include presenters who will share their HPC experiences applicable to all HPC disciplines and will conclude with an HPC Panel of Experts with opinions from Industry leaders.  Register here:

Christine Fronczak, Dell

Mendel says: It is time for low latency

Those of you who have been reading my blog or listening to my various conference talks since I arrived at VMware last year know I have been arguing there is an important convergence underway between HPC and Enterprise IT requirements. In large part this is being driven by fundamental changes within Enterprise computing, specifically the move towards massive, horizontally-scaled infrastructure to deliver scalable services externally in the cloud or internally for strategic business advantage.

As you’d expect with my background, I’ve been looking at this from an HPC perspective, noting that the HPC community has been heavily invested for decades in scale-out cluster provisioning, management, monitoring, etc. And they have built expertise around hardware architectures to support scale-out computing, most particularly in the design of high-performance interconnect fabrics. These fabrics support the link-level bandwidths and latencies as well as the fabric bisection bandwidths needed to enable both highly-parallel computations as well as ubiquitous, high-performance access to shared resources like storage in a high-scale environment.

Imagine my delight when I came across a position paper espousing the same view titled It’s Time for Low Latency by Stephen Rumble, Ryan Stutsman, Mendel Rosenblum, and John Ousterhout that was presented at HotOS ’11 ( And what a coincidence that the paper’s third author is none other than VMware’s well known co-founder, Mendel Rosenblum.

The paper approaches the importance of low latency from an Enterprise perspective, citing numerous reasons why a high-performance interconnect will benefit the modern datacenter and its applications. The paper is styled as a call to action for OS and system designers to heed the need to pay significant attention to making low latency communication available to current and emerging Enterprise applications, including Big Data applications.

The paper is a quick read and well worth the time.

Josh Simons, VMware