For more than 20 years, the University of Utah has represented research computing and advanced cyberinfrastructure at the annual Supercomputing Conference, an international gathering for people working with high performance computing, virtualization, networking, storage, visualization, and analysis. This year’s conference took place November 12-17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
Every year at the conference, a high performance research network, known as SCinet, is hand-built on site for large scale science and data transfer demonstrations. This year, aggregate performance of SCinet was over 3.3 Terabits, and the experiments and demonstrations it enabled spanned the exhibition floor and international sites. Engineers from the U and Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) provided fiber, architecture, wide area network, computational resources (CloudLab), and marketing/communication expertise.
“Utah continued its tight involvement with SCinet, and worked with the 176 volunteers who put together the network infrastructure for the entire SC17 conference,” said Joe Breen, senior IT architect for the Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC).
Overall, the U's significant contributions to the conference, including provisioning of services, garnered Platinum-level status, thus reducing expenses and providing free marketing for the U's collaborative teams.
CHPC’s booth showcased computational and visualization science that made use of resources from CHPC, the U's Scientific Computing and Imaging (SCI) Institute, and other University of Utah resources. The booth demonstrated the science with electronic slide posters, images, and movies based on the research.
With over 12,000 attendees and 350 exhibitors, SC17 provided a unique opportunity to meet with peers from other academic research computing facilities and discuss common practices and issues, as well as a venue to meet with collaborators on various projects and communities with which CHPC participates.
“SC17 is a 'one stop shop' to explore emerging IT and cyberinfrastructure capabilities, exchange best practices, meet colleagues across industry, government, and academia, and share innovation and emerging needs in IT,” said Tom Cheatham, CHPC director.
CHPC staff attended a variety of tutorials, workshops, and birds-of-a-feather (BoFs) and technical program sessions during the conference, bringing home new ideas on ways to better provide services and support to users. In addition, CHPC staff met with vendors to learn about future plans for new hardware and technologies.
In addition to CHPC's involvement, several University of Utah faculty and students presented posters, papers, and research talks. The U also fielded a student cluster computing team for the second year in a row. The team was mentored by School of Computing professors Hari Sundar and Mary Hall, along with CHPC System Administrator Brian Haymore. The student team came in third in benchmarking, and sixth overall.
Next year, SC18 will be held November 11-16, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.