The 2012 UC-HIPACC AstroComputing Summer School on AstroInformatics, will be held at SDSC July 9-20. The programme is open to graduate students or post-doctoral fellows. Applications are due by March 16, 2012.
"Scientists in every area of research are facing a veritable deluge of digital data, and nowhere is this more evident than in the field of astronomy", stated Michael Norman, director of SDSC and a world-renowned astrophysicist. "Today's telescopes are generating huge amounts of new information about the universe - in some cases by the second. Astronomers will need to know how to leverage the capabilities of data-intensive supercomputers to analyze all this data efficiently while bringing these observations and simulations into a common framework."
"This summer school will empower astronomers to compare massive observational data with massive theoretical outputs", stated Joel R. Primack, director of UC-HiPACC, a consortium of nine UC campuses and three Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. "'Big Data' is a challenge for many fields of science and engineering, and people who have learned how to use data-intensive supercomputers will be increasingly valuable."
A key feature of the UC-HiPACC summer schools has been the access by all students to powerful supercomputers, on which the programme's lecturers have put relevant codes and sample inputs and outputs. The schedule also includes workshops each afternoon, in which students are taught how to use these resources.
Students attending this year's UC-HIPACC summer school will be issued user accounts on SDSC's new Gordon supercomputer, which will contain several relevant astronomical data sets and simulations. The result of a five-year, $20 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Gordon can process data-intensive problems about 10 times faster than other supercomputers because it is the first such system to employ massive amounts of flash-based memory - common in smaller devices such as cellphones or laptop computers - instead of slower spinning disks.
Currently the most powerful supercomputer in all of Southern California in terms of speed and capability, Gordon was recently ranked as among the top 50 fastest supercomputers in the entire world in terms of speed of doing pure math. However, it is the most powerful high performance computing (HPC) system in the world when it comes to accessing data. In recent validation tests, Gordon achieved an unprecedented 36 million input/output operations per second, or IOPS, a critical measure for doing data-intensive computing such as sifting through huge datasets to find a small sliver of meaningful information.
Registration information and full programme details, including speakers and topics, can be found at http://hipacc.ucsc.edu/ISSAC2012.html .