As one of the strongest supporters of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC)—held annually in Frankfurt, Germany, and running June 24–28 this year—the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS) left a large footprint at one of the world’s largest high-performance computing (HPC) conferences.
Staff from the three GCS centres—the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS), the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC), and the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ)—were active on the exhibition floor and workshop and tutorial spaces during the conference, and GCS once again provided support for two of the conference’s biggest competitions.
On Monday, June 25, GCS announced the winners of the annual Gauss Award, given to the best technical paper during ISC. This year’s winning research team, coming from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), won for its study of energy performance models to better understand the energy properties of processors commonly used in HPC resources.
“Winning this award helps make our research more visible to the [HPC] community,” said Johannes Hofmann, FAU researcher and team member who presented the team’s work. “We hope this award encourages researchers to make use of the model and the best-practices recommended in the paper, and I also hope it attracts other researchers to help expand the model.”
On Tuesday, June 26, Prof. Michael Resch, current GCS Chairman of the Board and HLRS Director, organized a special session, “German HPC in Context.” Resch aimed to present the current state of German supercomputing resources, the relationship between Germany’s flagship supercomputing centres and academic centres as well as the German HPC connection to Europe.
A year after MinDir. Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Lukas of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education announced the German “Smart Scale strategy,” laying out a vision for the next decade of German supercomputing, Resch explained how further investments into training and user support, as well as procuring next-generation supercomputers, would be key to GCS’ ability to deliver pre-exascale and exascale computing solutions. Specifically, Resch called for JSC to be in the running for Europe’s first exascale supercomputer.
GCS centres were also involved in a number of tutorials and workshops. LRZ staff partnered with NVIDIA for the “Deep Learning Demystified” tutorial on Sunday, June 24. The full-day workshop was led by LRZ Senior Data Scientist Dr. Yu Wang, with other LRZ staff on the training staff, and was one of the best attended tutorials during the conference. LRZ also co-sponsored the Women In HPC event and partnered with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois to organize the International Industrial Supercomputing workshop. The workshop was attended by representatives of all three GCS centres.
Centre staffs were also involved in supporting the next generation of HPC enthusiasts while at ISC18. 200 students coming from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields took part in ISC18 activities on Wednesday, June 27, designed to show students a variety of job opportunities across the HPC spectrum. LRZ co-sponsored the event, and gave students a presentation at the GCS booth during their tour of the exhibition floor. Dr. Johannes Albert-von der Gönna, Senior Scientist at LRZ, explained the collaborative, international nature of LRZ, and described the various job opportunities available at the national HPC facility.
In addition, GCS significantly increased its support of the Student Cluster Competition (SCC), the largest HPC contest for students. GCS has supported German university teams for 5 straight years at the SC conference in the United States as well as at ISC. This year, however, GCS supported three German university teams (out of 12 total teams) competing at ISC18. Students from Heidelberg University, Universität Hamburg, and FAU had to build a cluster computer that ran as quickly and efficiently as possible while maintaining a certain power threshold. The FAU team came out on top for the Linpack award (the second straight year at ISC) by running the benchmark at 51.56 teraflops, narrowly missing the world record of 51.77 teraflops set at SC17 last fall.
Bridging the knowledge gap between computer scientists and researchers using HPC resources will only get more essential as the HPC community moves toward the exascale computing—computers capable of at least one billion billion calculations per second. “We try and play a role in ensuring that students at German universities who have interest in HPC can get exposed to real-world scenarios as early as possible,” said GCS Managing Director Dr. Claus-Axel Müller. “Hopefully this achievement will inspire even more young and interested talent to pursue careers in the realm of HPC.”
-Eric Gedenk, email@example.com