Research and industry to show off at the ISC'13 Exhibition floor

17 Jun 2013 Leipzig - Not only the sessions but also the exhibition booths at the ISC'13 event in Leipzig, have a lot to offer to the ISC participant. We took a trip across the showfloor and came up with some remarkable highlights, both on the research and the commercial spectrum of the HPC scene.

The National Center for High Performance Computing (NCHC) in Taiwan provides an advanced research infrastructure consisting of supercomputers and a research network. At the NCHC booth, they demonstrated the latest achievements in middleware development, and data-intensive applications including Fish4Knowledge, the 3D fruit fly circuit database, and Cloud computing management software. In Fish4Knowledge, the NCHC works together with several European countries in the domain of barrier reef research. Underwater cameras follow the behaviour of the fish. The NCHC is responsible for the infrastructure while the European partners do the analysis. The NCHC is also involved in typhoon research using Big Data.

The European HPC Technology Platform, ETP4HPC, has developed a Strategic Research Agenda which was approved in May 2013. The Agenda consists of a research roadmap to achieve leadership in the European HPC technology value chain by 2020. This involves a focus on exascale capabilities with energy efficient supercomputing and HPC use models. To this end, ETP4HPC is collaborating with different industry and research partners.

At the PRACE booth, Catherine Rivière presented PRACE as THE European HPC infrastructure involving four European countries that provide HPC power for research and industry. These countries are France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The supercomputing capacity now amounts to 15 PFlops and has increased the European competitiveness. Renault is the first company that has been granted access to PRACE. Industrial efforts will be continued in the future.

The Gauss Centre for Supercomputing was founded in 2007 and provides more than 10 Petaflops of computing power for research and science. Gauss has the no. 1 supercomputing machine in Europe, the JuQUEEN at the Juelich Supercomputing Centre. Gauss is active in the efficiency of data centres, simulation results and workload simulation. At the booth they showed the COVISE simulation tool. Visitors were handed 3D glasses to virtually walk through a water power plant in the Black Forest in Germany. The existing plant is being extended by another power station. The water is pumped up in a reservoir up a hill. The impact on the environment and on the population can be simulated with COVISE.

EPCC, since 1990 based in Edinborough, has a staff of 70 people, mainly for training and education in HPC. EPCC is involved in several projects in the UK and Europe. The centre is also collaborating with PRACE. Some exascale projects are running, also one with Russia. There is funding for universities and EPCC actively works together with the Scottish companies. The centre has a broad focus with many economic benefits. EPCC develops courses for PRACE because there is a lack of skilled HPC people across Europe. By training the trainers, EPCC tries to increase the level of HPC-expertise in Europe.

Oxalya is a French company that started in 2005. The company has a product line of its own. At first, Oxalya was an HPC integrator with the aim to keep things simple for the user. The team is specialized in HPC and visualization. The company has developed HPCSpot, a software suite, consisting of a web portal accessible to the user for numerical simulation. All the user needs is an internet connection and a browser. Oxalya has signed deals with software vendors to expand the range of simulation possibilities.

The RSC Group is a Russia-based company specialized in liquid cooled HPC solutions. The CPUs are used with the motherboard which makes the solution cheaper and very energy efficient. RSC Group is providing 40% of the Russian systems.

Rogue Wave is a provider of tools, libraries and components for HPC and has a sound reputation with TotalView, its source code debugger for TOP500 machines and single workstations. Rogue Wave covers the whole spectrum from low end to high end with its trouble shooters, debuggers, threadspotter performance tool.

The Student Cluster Challenge was organized for the second time at ISC'13 and formed an attractive event on the exhibition floor. This year, more students were involved with eight competing teams. The Student Cluster Challenge is designed to introduce the next generation of students to the high performance computing world and community. During the Challenge the students can do anything they want and fully experiment in building the cluster in order to gain practice in programming. The Student Cluster Challenge is a wonderful initiative to help young HPC potential acquire experience but sponsoring is urgently needed to take the Challenge to the next level.

With Tianhe-2 as the number 1 supercomputer on the TOP500 list, the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) in Changsha attracted a lot of attention at the exhibition. The university is very active in HPC research and in science and engineering education. The supercomputing development is very much based in the southern part of China. Kai Lu, deputy dean of the College of Computer Science at NUDT, explained that Tianhe-2, with its 1500 CPU-processors and switch RSW blade, will be installed in the Guangzhou Supercomputing Center. The machine will be applied in big science, big engineering, industrial upgrade, and information construction.
Leslie Versweyveld