By Anita Orendt, Ph.D., Center for High Performance Computing
The Center for High Performance Computing (CHPC) again hosted an exhibition booth at the Supercomputing Conference, held November 10-16 in Dallas, Texas. The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis, sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society, was first held in 1988.
This year's 30th anniversary conference set several records, including 13,071 attendees, 65,000 square feet of booth space, and 364 exhibitors. Along with the exhibition floor, SC18 featured tutorials, workshops, birds-of-a-feather (BoFs) meetings, a student cluster competition, and a multi-track technical program on high performance computing (HPC) research. CHPC's booth showcased computational research — via electronic slide posters, images, and videos — that was completed with the assistance of CHPC resources.
"This year we had many more people visit our booth than we remember from previous years, each wanting detailed technical dives into our service offerings, technological approach, and even our policies around supporting research computing and researchers," said CHPC Director Tom Cheatham. "These concentrated visits alone, with peers and with vendors, help justify our continued involvement with SC."
In addition to the slide show, Joe Breen, senior IT architect in CHPC, and cohorts from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Indiana University, and the University of Chicago demonstrated the capabilities for distributed storage and edge services to support data intensive collaborations under development as part of the SLATE project. In 2017, the National Science Foundation awarded the universities of Utah, Chicago and Michigan a $4 million, four-year grant to produce SLATE. The online platform stitches together large amounts of data from multiple institutions that reduce the friction commonly found in multifaceted collaborations. CHPC is the grant partner representing the U, with Breen as co-PI.
The SC18 conference provides a unique opportunity for CHPC staff to meet with peers from fellow academic research computing facilities and discuss common practices and issues. It is an ideal venue to meet with collaborators on various projects and communities with which CHPC participates, and allows for the exploration of emerging IT and cyberinfrastructure capabilities. Because essentially all vendors supporting HPC in any capacity attend, the conference also provides an excellent opportunity for the staff to learn the roadmap for current and future products.
In addition to CHPC's involvement, University of Utah faculty and students presented posters, papers, and research talks. Dan Reed, the U's senior vice president for Academic Affairs, also attended as a guest panelist.
CHPC looks forward to hosting a booth at SC19, to be held November 16-22, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.