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ISC’12 interview On with the show! Deciding whether to attend an event or not is never a

simple decision. ISC’s Nages Sieslack offers insight into why a trip to Hamburg should be on the agenda

time of writing we have 175 exhibitors listed on the website – and there’s still a few weeks to go before the show kicks off! Another new trend we’re observing is the


he International Supercomputing Conference – commonly known as ISC – is the largest and most significant HPC conference and

networking event in Europe for scientists, researchers and vendors within the high- performance computing community. Te conference began as a small seminar in Mannheim, Germany, in 1986 with just 81 attendees. Over the next 26 years it grew considerably (programme and size-wise) and this year’s conference offers a programme that attracts in the region of 2,500 attendees. Due to the volume, the current technical

programme is divided into invited, contributed and industrial sessions. Tis year alone, roughly 300 HPC experts will be sharing their hands-on experiences with the attendees. In the past, most of the talks were single tracks while today, apart from the four keynotes, almost all of the sessions run on parallel tracks. Te Sunday pre-conference programme

is also shaping up nicely. In 2010, we reintroduced the tutorials to cater for attendees who are mainly interested in educational programmes, and last year we launched the HPC in Asia Workshop, which focuses on HPC research, systems and application in Asia. Almost all the key players in supercomputing,

soſtware, storage, networking and infrastructure technologies are exhibiting at ISC this year. We set a target of 160 exhibitors and as of the


growth in satellite events. Our partners and exhibitors like IDC, HPC Advisory Council, PRACE and GAUSS are quite keen on organising events parallel to ISC as it allows them to tap into our attendee base. In terms of visitors, ISC is popular among the academic, research and industrial participants – they can be researchers, scientists or engineers who work directly in the field of HPC or actively use HPC to carry out their research; for example, in the field of life sciences, computational chemistry, cosmology, aircraſt design, material science, climate research or in sectors like automobile and energy. Te exhibition, on the other hand, attracts people who are looking for strategic business partnerships and new research collaborations.



ISC is a great venue for networking because

of the familiar, friendly and easy-going environment. Tis might sound weird, but I’ve heard some top people in the industry claim that, if not for ISC and SC, they rarely get the chance to meet up with colleagues for casual chats! Large conferences allow people to foster new contacts and for businesses it’s definitely a must for expanding customer bases. Some companies keep coming back to exhibit with us because, according to them, ISC provides them with the most qualified leads. Almost 45 per cent of ISC attendees are decision-makers who possess the authority to decide on the spot if they should pursue a new collaboration.

Apart from that, all the top figures in

the industry and academia will be there to discuss pressing topics like exascale, big data, programming models, architectures, energy efficiency and application. Conferences tend to inspire people because there’s so much learning that takes place each day and generally attendees go back to work brimming with new ideas. Looking to the future, we picture a

moderate growth in attendee and exhibitor numbers in the next couple of years. Aſter being in Hamburg for four years, in 2013 we’ll be moving to Leipzig. A modern and spacious congress centre has become a necessity and in the Leipzig Congress Center, each meeting room has its own audio visual equipment. Currently we have attendees from close to 60 countries, with Germany, the US and UK ranking as the top three. We believe that ISC will become a lot more international in the next few years as more people from the Middle East, China and Eastern Europe travel to Europe to attend. We will also continue to strengthen networking opportunities for our attendees, even before they arrive at the conference, via social media and other mediums. Every year we set high goals concerning

the technical programme and, in this spirit, we will continue to seek out the best minds of HPC to address the most pertinent topics at ISC’13 and beyond. Last, not least, we have started working toward promoting HPC to the next generation and we hope to add more student events to the show in the next couple of years. Tis year’s student programme includes

the Student Cluster Challenge competition, Student volunteers and the session on Young and Bright HPC Minds, plus we have selected Wednesday, 20 June as our Students’ Day. Anyone with a valid student card can visit the exhibition, attend the student cluster challenge awarding ceremony and research poster session, as well as participate in the EU session on ‘Te European Way to Exascale’ for free.

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