SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Maria C. Horton, Jason Bloomberg, Andy Thurai, Liz McMillan

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SC13 Launches with Weeklong Look at Research and Technologies Changing the World

SC13, the 26th conference in the SC series, welcomes high performance computing researchers, practitioners, and industry leaders this week from around the world. SC is the leading international conference on high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage and analysis, and provides the premier forum for the exchange of information in the global high performance computing community.

The conference will be held at the Colorado Convention Center, Denver, from Sunday, Nov. 17 to Friday, Nov. 22.

"SC13 marks the 25th anniversary of the conference series,” said Bill Gropp, the Thomas M. Siebel Chair in Computer Science at the University of Illinois, and the general chair of SC13. “This year we are celebrating the impact that HPC has on each of us every day, and taking a moment to look back at the impact of 25 years of research even as our technical program looks forward to the next quarter century of innovation.”

This year SC includes over 350 of the HPC community’s leading government, academic, and industry organizations showcasing their technologies in more than three acres of exhibit space. The conference features 26 conference rooms dedicated to SC13’s events and programs – from the Exhibitor Forum and tutorials to our many workshops and our new HPC Interconnections program – and two ballrooms of events.

Technical Program

The Technical Program, always the foundation of the conference, provides attendees with insight into the latest research and innovations shaping the future of the HPC industry. The supercomputing community's most established researchers and brightest rising stars contribute the results of their latest efforts to the highly competitive and rigorously reviewed Technical Program of tutorials, papers, panels, workshops and posters.

“Competition for inclusion to the Technical Papers program this year was intense, with 90 of more than 450 submissions accepted, an acceptance rate of less than 20 percent,” observed Satoshi Matsuoka, professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and chair of the SC13 Technical Program. “The work here represents the best of the best of HPC.”

Awards

SC is well known for the substantial awards presented by the major computing professional societies: from the IEEE Computer Society Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award to the ACM Gordon Bell prize, many of these awards are career capstone achievements. This year SC is adding its own award to the mix in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the conference and in recognition of the tremendous impact that research presented at SC has had on the profession.

“Starting with SC13, the annual Test of Time Award will be presented to a single paper, selected from the conference proceedings between 10 and 25 years ago, that has had true historical impact on the HPC industry,” remarked Dan Reed, awards chair for SC13, Vice-President for Research and Economic Development and Computational Science and Bioinformatics Chair at the University of Iowa.

Impact and New Technologies

SC13 is also continuing its tradition of highlighting how high performance computing advances our quality of life with a new addition to the exhibits this year, the HPC Impact Showcase. The Showcase examines some of the ways HPC shapes our world through testimonials from large and small companies not traditionally associated with SC but who are using HPC to enhance their competitiveness and transform their business practice. There are 16 confirmed participants, from John Deere and Proctor and Gamble to Michael Waltrip Racing and Bank of America, all showcasing innovative and sometimes surprising users of HPC in the products and services we use every day. Another addition to this year’s conference is Emerging Technologies. This peer-reviewed addition to the technical program brings the newest technologies to the exhibit floor, where attendees can interact with the most promising technologies in HPC.

Engaging a Broad Community

Although technologies often take center stage at SC, they are only as effective as the professionals who use them. "SC is as much about people as it is about technology," said Elizabeth Jessup, chair of the new HPC Interconnections program and professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Supercomputers are complex scientific instruments, and the professionals that design, build, and program them are often highly trained. “We need the talents of a broad range of people as we work to enable HPC users to attempt to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. This year HPC Interconnections includes initiatives in Broader Engagement, HPC Educators, Mentors & Protégés, a program for international attendees, and programs for students, including the Doctoral Showcase, the Student Job Fair, the Student Cluster Competition, and Student Volunteers. Our goal is simple: to help our newest HPC professionals make meaningful connections for this conference and into the future.”

World-class Speakers

Fifteen speakers from across HPC and the world of science – including a Nobel Laureate and a US National Medal of Science Winner – will share their unique perspectives with the international supercomputing community as part of the invited talks program at SC13. And Australian anthropologist and researcher Genevieve Bell will bring a new perspective to the international supercomputing community as she delivers the keynote talk.

“Supercomputing as a discipline is uniquely valuable in our society,” said Gropp. “As a global leader in the effort to understand how technologies support and transform society, Genevieve’s talk will help our community better understand how we can relate to society more effectively, extending the reach of HPC even further than it goes today.”

World’s Fastest Network

Beginning Saturday, Nov. 16, SC13 will also host the fastest network in the world. Called SCinet, the network is built each year to support the conference. Over 100 engineers representing industry, academia and government institutions have volunteered their time to build the network using more than $20 million in donated equipment and 90 miles of newly installed fiber optic cable lines in the convention center. The network will serve as the primary backbone supporting all 10,000 plus SC13 attendees as they unveil their latest innovations.

“This year SCinet is bringing together multiple 100 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) circuits in collaboration with leading national and international research networks to provide a total bandwidth of nearly 1 terabit-per-second,” said Trey Breckenridge, Director of High Performance Computing at Mississippi State University and chair of the SCinet. “Networks play a crucial role as science continues to demand more data intensive and distributed computing. SCinet allows the networking community to work closely with scientists and researchers at SC to demonstrate how advanced network technologies can accelerate science.”

Members of the media are invited to visit the conference. Those with valid press credentials can attend for free, but must fill out the online press form at sc13.supercomputing.org.

About SC13

SC13, sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society, offers a complete technical program, programs for students and educators in HPC, and an exhibition that together showcase the many ways high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in scientific discovery, research, education and commerce. This premier international conference includes a globally attended technical program, workshops, tutorials, a world class exhibit area, demonstrations and opportunities for hands-on learning.

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