Sunday, June 21, 2015

VMware vForum in Chile

The VMware vForum is one of the best opportunities to interact with experts in virtualization, cloud computing and mobility. The event has been going on for 8 years already and took place in Santiago de Chile last June 9th. 

The keynote "One Cloud, Any Application, Any Device" was given by Bob Shultz, Chief Strategy Lead and VP of the End User Computing group of VMware. Several breakout sessions took place in the morning and the afternoon, with great talks from leaders in the distributed computing industry, such as, Cisco, HP, Intel, EMC among others. In addition, several demos were presented at the "Engineer Salon". Finally, the meeting was closed with a Cocktail and prizes in the exhibition area.

During the meeting, recent novelties were presented and the IT experts discussed cutting-edge technology and the opportunities that can be leveraged in the coming years thanks to this technology. If you could not a attend the meeting, we have good news for you: All the slides have been collected and put online open to the public. So if you missed the VMware vForum in Chile this occasion, we invite you to check out the talks online and learn about latest advances in cloud and mobility computing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

HPC is not only about computer science

HPC has been a hot topic for everybody since the arrival of multicore processors and accelerators. Much attention has been given to new technologies related to these architectures and supporting software. Not only in Latin American universities but in many places, the focus has been on teaching the technology only. However, there is a very important aspect that universities here should pay more attention and that is the applications and the techniques used to develop applications, in what is typically called Computational Science and Engineering.

High Performance Computing is a mean not an end in itself, therefore, our professionals usually will have to design and develop software to be used in HPC machines. These tasks will require not only knowledge about the system they use but also what they are actually developing. The industry, that is the place most of the students of HPC eventually will work, is interested in the application and how to use HPC systems to solve real problems.

Some people may claim that computer scientists do not need to know the gory details of any scientific or data application. I agree with them. Surely the HPC professionals typically work in teams that include application experts that know deeply the problem and the methods used to solve it. However, HPC professionals need to know the basic techniques, methods and the language used by those experts, so that they can be more productive.

The list of topics one should pay attention may be large and intimidating. But there are some basics subjects every student interested in HPC should be encouraged to study. My list is:

  - Linear Algebra and its applications;
  - Probability / Statistics (and also its applications);
  - Numerical methods;
  - Optimization;
  - Data Analytics;
  - Visualization.

This list is not meant to be complete but it covers a lot of background many HPC practitioners will need. But how one can learn about these topics? Computer science departments may not offer the subjects related to these topics. However, the diligent student can still find on the Internet all she/he needs to learn about Computational Science and Engineering. Here are some examples:

There are definitely more available, but this is a good sample of what can be used. Finally, I believe that our professional will have more impact if they manage to use HPC to solve real problems and that starts with a better understanding of the problems and solutions methods that are available.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Workshop on HPC collaboration between Europe and Latin America

International collaborations play a critical road in our path to achieve exascale computing. This is true for all regions, including North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America as well. All of this regions have instantiated multiple collaborations to develop software and investigate new research directions in order to push the boundaries of extreme scale computing. Most of those collaborations have achieved goals that could not be reached by a single research group alone. 

Europe is one of the regions that has developed the most important collaborations with research institutions in Latin America. For many years, Europe and Latin America have been developing joint projects in HPC and data intensive applications. Projects such as EELA, RISC, OPENBIO, among others, had a clear impact in the academic community and industry. In addition, the fruit of those collaborations had helped to develop the infrastructure and computing facilities in Latin America, sparkling a flame of interest among young undergrad and graduate students. It is important to continue those research exchanges in order to perpetuate the list of achievements that they have been producing in the last years.

With this objective in mind, researchers from Europe and Latin America will be hosting the Workshop on HPC collaboration between Europe and Latin America at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC). The workshop will take place the Thursday 16th July 2015 at the Marriott Hotel Frankfurt in Germany. The talks are divided in three main topics : Research and Academic Collaboration, Training Collaboration, and Industrial Collaboration.

The schedule of the workshop is as follows:

  • 9 00 - 9:10 Welcome (Carlos J. Barrios, SCALAC-UIS)
  • 9:10 - 9:30 EU/LatAm Collaboration Networks (Salma Jaliffe, SCALAC-CUDI)
  • 9:30 - 10:00 Sustainable ultrascale computing: a challenge for research (Jesus Carretero, NESUS Network)
  • 10:00 - 10:30 EU-LA collaboration on HPC and HTC through Frameworks Programs (Rafael Mayo, CIEMAT)
  • 10:30 - 11:00 RISC: towards a stable EU-LATAM scientific cooperation on HPC (Ulises Cortes, BSC-CNS)
  • 11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break
  • 11:30 - 11:45 EU/LatAm Academic and Research Collaboration Proposals (Alvaro de la Ossa, SCALAC-UCR)
  • 11:45 - 12:15 The joint SISSA/ICTP master in HPC: an opportunity to create a new class of HPC professionals between Europe and Latin America (Stefano Cozzini, SISSA-Democritos-ICTP)
  • 12:15 - 12:45 High Performance Computing for Geophysics Applications Overview and results of HPC GA (FP7 IRSES 2011-2014) (Jean-François Mehaut, UJF)
  • 12:45 - 13:15 HPC on societal challenges to enhance EU-LAC cooperation (Yolanda Ursa, EU-INMARK)
  • 13:15 - 14:00 Lunch
  • 14:00 - 14:15 EU/LatAM Research, Development and Innovation Partnership (Renato Miceli, FIEB-SENAMI)
  • 14:15 - 14:45 eXtended Discrete Element Method: overview, applications and perspectives (Xavier Besseron, University of Luxembourg) 
  • 14:45 - 15:15 High performance computing and data management driven by highly demanding applications (Philippe Navaux, SCALAC-UFRGS) 
  • 15:15 - 15:30 Bringing our Center for Excellence in Parallel Programming to Latin America (Rafael Escovar, Bull Atos Group)
  • 15:20 - 15:30 Experiences and capacities of Colombian Universities for HPC Innovation (Harold Castro, UNIANDES – SCAD_Colombia)
  • 16:00 - 16:30 Coffee Break
  • 16:30 - 17:00 On some projects being developed at ABACUS the Center for Applied Mathematics and High Performance Computing of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of IPN (Cinvestav) in Mexico: collaboration a key for success (Isidoro Gitler, SCALAC-ABACUS-CINVESTAV)
  • 17:00 - 17:45 Final Panel: Next Steps for the EU/LatAm Collaboration: 2015 – 2020 (Conducted by Philippe Navaux, SCALAC-UFRGS)
  • 17:45 - 18:00 Close and Conclusions

If you plan to attend ISC2015, don't miss this opportunity to participate in the workshop and be part of the collaboration between Europe and Latin America. Remember that you need to register at the conference to participate in the workshop.

Update: Schedule updated.