6 Apr 2018 Columbus - The demand for high performance computing in Ohio is relentless, and it does not discriminate by field. At the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) Statewide Users Group (SUG) spring conference on April 5, 2018, OSC clients in fields spanning everything from astrophysics to linguistics gathered to share research highlights and hear updates about the centre's direction and role in supporting science across Ohio.
SUG is a volunteer group composed of the scientists and engineers who provide OSC's executive director with programme and policy advice and direction to ensure a productive environment for research.
Attendees gathered at the Ohio Technology Consortium building for the all-day conference, which included a keynote address from Andrew Siegel, director of application development at Argonne National Laboratory. Breakout sessions provided attendees with deep dives on hardware, software, Big Data, OSC's OnDemand, and app development, as well as a tour of the State of Ohio Computing Center.
The afternoon offered SUG's popular poster and flash talk competitions. Participants presented 11 flash talks and 25 posters, competing for a first-place prize of 5,000 resource units of time on OSC systems and a second-place prize of 2,500 resource units. All flash talk and poster competitors received 1,000 resource units.
OSC staff and directors provided updates on the centre's direction as well as a forum for OSC's client base to give constructive feedback.
"SUG is a great vehicle for us to not only communicate to our clients about what is going on from a policy perspective or hardware roadmaps and new services, but for us to hear back from the clients about what they are doing", stated Brian Guilfoos, HPC client services manager at OSC. "Our normal interaction with someone is very technical - 'This is the thing I'm trying to do, what I'm having a problem with, etc.'. Here we get to take a broader view and look at the science, and it's good for our staff to be reminded what is being done with our services and what we are enabling."
The conference also provided a glimpse into the state of high performance computing at the national level and what it could mean for Ohios researchers. In his keynote address, Andrew Siegel provided overview and insight into the U.S. Department of Energy's Exascale Computing Project. Argonne is one of six core national laboratories playing a key role in supporting the nation's Exascale computing initiative. Exascale computing systems are capable of a thousand-fold capacity increase over current petascale systems.
"We were blessed to have a great keynote speech about the Exascale programmes and some of the challenge", Brian Guilfoos stated. "That, I thought, was very interesting and very valuable for our own clients to hear the directions and the ways those Exascale projects may benefit our clients in terms of improving the performance of scientific libraries that we use here. So, if the Exascale project can make improvements to those, we can bring those to our users, they can see better scaling on the systems we work on."
The flash talks provided researchers with a chance to highlight research around the state that OSC's systems enable. The Ohio State University's Lifeng Jin won the flash talk competition for his presentation titled "Unsupervised Depth-bounded Grammar Induction Model for PCFG with Inside-Sampling". Taking the runner-up position, also from Ohio State, was Jorge Torres with "The Role of HPC in the Radio-detection of Astrophysical Neutrinos".
The poster competition displayed a wide range of disciplines, including first-place winner Adriaan Riet, from Case Western Reserve University, for his presentation titled "Enhanced Diffusion in an MgO Grain Boundary through Molecular Dynamics Simulations". There was a tie for the runner-up poster winner. The Ohio State University's Masood Delfarahs poster was titled Recurrent Neural Networks for Cochannel Speech Separation in Reverberant Environments", and Rosario Distefano, also from Ohio State, shared the distinction with her poster titled "miREpiC: miRNA Editing Profiling in Cancer".
The next SUG conference will take place in October.