Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Brazilian Symposium on Computer Networks and Distributed Systems (SBRC)

Starting May 30th, the Brazilian Symposium on Computer Networks and Distributed Systems (SBRC) is going to be held in the city of Salvador - Bahia - Brazil. This is a quite traditional conference - it is the 34th edition - and even though it is not HPC focused, it has many tracks related to HPC, for example, cloud computing, distributed systems and fault tolerance. In addition to paper presentations, there will be short-courses, workshops, demo sessions, panels and tutorials. The keynotes of this edition are Jon Crowcroft, from University of Cambridge, and Matti Hiltunen, from AT&T Research Lab. So far, there will be two tutorials, both about cloud computing: the first about HPC Cloud, delivered by a team from IBM Research and the other about OpenStack, by people from UFCG and HP. For more information, visit:


For those interested in the proceedings from previous years, there is the following url available:


Sunday, January 24, 2016

11th Colombian Computing Congress

The 11th Colombian Congress on Computing (11th CCC) will take place in Popayan, Colombia, between September 27th and September 30th, 2016. This congress has been organized by the Colombian Computing Society (SCO2) since 2005. Researchers, both national and international, will participate to exchange new ideas, methodologies, and tools in all the areas related to computing. The conference will be supported by the Colombian Computing Society, the University of Popayan Foundation, the University of Cauca, and IEEE Colombia. The conference will feature research papers presenting innovative works, panels, tutorials and a doctoral showcase.

The deadline for submitting research papers is on February 19th. Full papers should not exceed 8 pages following IEEE standards. Short papers are also accepted and should not exceed 4 pages. Submissions can be done either in English or in Spanish. The notification should come on March 19th and the camera-ready deadline is on April 8th. There is also a call for contributions for the doctoral showcase and the tutorials. The submission deadlines are May 13th and June 10 respectively. All submissions must be done through EasyChair.

The research topics are:

  • Formal methods and computational logic.
  • Systems architecture.
  • Software engineering.
  • Human-computer interactions.
  • Image processing and visualization.
  • Smart systems and robotics.
  • Data mining and machine learning.
  • E-learning technologies.
  • High performance computing and cloud computing.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The 27th International Symposium on Computer Architecture and High Performance Computing

The latest instance of the International Symposium on Computer Architecture and High Performance Computing (SBAC-PAD) was held in Florianópolis, Brazil, 18-21 October, 2015. It was an excellent event to get exposure to a wide range of interesting research topics, to get up to speed with the latest technologies from major HPC vendors, to do networking, and to enjoy fantastic Brazilian food (let's not forget the pão de queijo).

SBAC-PAD received over 200 participants, which enjoyed the main event, its two tutorials, three keynote lectures, seven sponsor talks, and seven satellite events (including international workshops such as the 4th Workshop on Parallel Programming Models and the 6th Workshop on Applications for Multi-Core Architectures, and Brazilian events such as the 16th Symposium on High Performance Computational Systems). In total, 26 papers were presented in the main event, while other 82 presentations (including posters) happened in the satellite events.

The keynote speakers this time were Prof. Geoffrey Fox (Indiana University) who talked largely about the Big Data environment, from applications to systems; Prof. Satoshi Matsuoka (Tokyo Tech) that gave a perspective on the convergence of Big Data and HPC in terms of the system architecture features that are needed for both fields; Prof. Onur Mutlu (Carnegie-Mellon University) who presented new perspectives on memory system design for data intensive computing.

This SBAC-PAD edition had six parallel events. One of them was WSCAD (Symposium of High Performance Computational Systems, in Portuguese). This was the 16th edition of this symposium and, even though it is a Portuguese event, 7 out of 22 papers were written in English. Best paper authors are going to be invited to submit an extended version of their work to the Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience journal.

For the last few years SBAC-PAD had been held in other countries in addition to Brazil. This is an effort to make the conference more international and attract more people. Next SBAC-PAD is going to be in Los Angeles. This is definitively a good Latin American conference, that has potential to become an important reference not only locally, but globally.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Google selects 12 research teams in Latin America to award USD$1M in research grants

As published in our previous post, Google is giving over USD$1M in grants to Latin American researchers developing cutting-edge technology in big data and high performance computing. A total of 12 projects were selected (less than 5% of the number of submitted projects): 8 from Brazil, 2 from Mexico, 1 from Colombia and 1 from Chile. The winner will receive funds for a year, with the option to renew their grants for up to two years for master students and three years for PhD students. PhD students will receive USD$1200/month and their supervisors USD$750/month. Master students will receive USD$750/month and their supervisors USD$675/month.

Here is the list of winners and their projects:

Altigran Soares da Silva, Universidade Federal do Amazonas (Brazil)
Project: “An Active Learning Approach to Match Networked Schemas”
Using classifiers and active learning, this project develops and evaluates a method to enable the integration of the schemas by establishing which pairs of schema elements have the same semantics.

Anna Helena Reali Costa, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
Project: “Improving Deep Reinforcement Learning through Knowledge Transfer”
This project focuses on improving the performance of Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) agents with the use of abstractions, generalizations and knowledge transfer (Transfer Learning - TL) in the area of Machine Learning. The ultimate goal is to present a new DRL algorithm that can learn a variety of tasks using knowledge acquired with TL.  

Carlos Gershenson, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
Project: “Urban Coordination of Autonomous Vehicles”
The goal is to design and test coordination algorithms for autonomous vehicles at intersections to maximize flow and safety. An open source simulator will be deployed and made available to the public.  

Catalina Elizabeth Stern Forgach, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico)
Project: “Interconnected Dual Biosensor for Type II Diabetes Mellitus”
This project will develop a biosensor that will measure glucose and insulin levels simultaneously in real time, in order to diagnose and monitor type 2 diabetes mellitus, even in stages where there are no obvious symptoms. The data will be stored online via an app universally accessible and useful for construction of a database and further analysis. 

Diego de Freitas Aranha, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil)
Project: “Machine learning over ciphertexts using homomorphic encryption”
This project develop and implements homomorphic versions of two algorithms widely used in machine learning that can be evaluated over encrypted data using somewhat homomorphic encryption schemes: Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and KNearest Neighbors (K-NN). 

Diego Raphael Amancio, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
Project: “Word sense disambiguation via topological and dynamical analysis of complex networks”
The problem of interest is word sense disambiguation (WSD), i.e., how to solve ambiguities in texts. For that, the authors use the framework of complex networks to combine structural and semantic contextual information.

Éric Tanter, Universidad de Chile (Chile)
Project: Gradual Security Typing for the Web
The project will contribute to security type system design, with formal models and proofs, as well as implement extensions to Dart and develop secure versions of existing Web applications written in Dart. 

Gustavo Enrique de Almeida Prado Alves Batista, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
Project: “Controlling Dengue Fever Mosquitoes using Intelligent Sensors and Traps”
Proposes the construction of an inexpensive device that will empower the population with the knowledge of Aedes aegypti (urban mosquito) densities to motivate local mosquito control activities.

Jussara Marques de Almeida, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)
Project: “Beyond Relevance: Addressing Novelty, Diversity and Personalization in Tag Recommendation”
With tagging being one of the best ways of associating metadata with media objects on the Web, the main goal is to develop new tag recommendation strategies that tackle all four aspects of the problem: relevance, diversity, novelty and personalization. 

Marcos André Gonçalves, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil)
Project: “Boosting Out-of-Bag Estimators for Learning to Rank”
This project aims at solving the L2R (Learning To Rank) problem by developing an original and novel RF-based algorithm which smoothly combines properties of the bagging with boosting procedures. 

Pablo Arbelaez, Universidad de Los Andes (Colombia)
Project: “Learning Dynamic Action Units for Three-dimensional Facial Expression Recognition”
This project will develop convolutional neural network architectures for fine-grained localization, RGB-D scene understanding and video analysis to improve human-computer interaction. 

Sandra Maria Aluísio, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
Project: “ANAA-Dementia: Automated neuropsychological assessments for Brazilian citizens during their lifetime”
The objective of this project is to create an automated personal neuropsychological test to detect cognitive issues, accessible via web or from mobile devices. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Self-sustained Supercomputing Centers in Latin America

Some supercomputing centers in the region start with initial seed funds coming from the government, academic institutions, or donation. However, they receive a clear mandate to operate: be self sufficient. That is the case of Mexico's National Supercomputing Center (CNS) at the Instituto Potosiano de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (Ipicyt).

The CNS houses a powerful supercomputer, named Thubat-Kaal (the first and fastest in Tenek language). It is an IBM machine that runs LINPACK at 107TFlops. It comprises 5640 cores from Intel Xeon processors. There are 140 nodes with 2 8-core processors each, and 25 nodes equipped with an additional pair of Intel Xeon Phi 5110 co-processors. It has a total storage capacity of 1.5 petabytes and uses an Infiniband interconnect. Thubat-Kaal appeared in the Top500 list in June, 2013. This machine is used by the CNS to provide a range of services for companies in energy, finance, life sciences, digital media, engineering, and design. In particular, CNS assists companies in modeling products, data analytics, and general simulation.

Along with the supercomputing services, the CNS provides several other services to fulfill its mission of self-sustainability. More specifically, CNS also develops applications, provides IT consulting, offers a data center, and assists in the installation of networks and telecommunications.

Although the CNS does not have a research branch itself, it provides allocation grants on its supercomputer for academic use. Therefore, scientists and engineers from Mexico can access the full power of Thubat-Kaal and exploit this useful resource to accelerate their discoveries.