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ISC’13 interview In perfect tune with I

n keeping with the forward thinking that has characterised the International Supercomputing Conference since it was founded 28 years ago, this year’s event,

ISC’13 makes two changes for the better – moving to a new conference centre in Leipzig, and the introduction of the ‘industry track’, focusing on users in product development and manufacturing. Supercomputers, long a resource reserved for

government research facilities, universities and major manufacturers, are working their way into other industrial and academic uses. Te recently introduced IBM PureSystems can provide a terascale machine, offering state-of-the-art integration at a cost of less than €100,000. Tus, the HPC capabilities that significantly reduce the

supercomputing ISC’s Nages Sieslack explains why this year’s event will get attendees on the right track

can drive innovation and help businesses stay competitive. Following ISC’s tradition of moving to

different locations at regular intervals, the organisers chose Leipzig as it offered a bigger and truly modern conference centre – with more rooms and built-in AV systems, as well as lots of natural daylight. In 2012, the CCL was voted ‘Best Congress and Convention Centre’ by readers of British trade magazine Business Destinations.

ISC conference track HPC applications will continue to play a dominant role. Two sessions – Application of Supercomputing, and HPC Applications: State of the Art – will give an overview on the use



time-to-market in the automotive and aircraſt industries are increasingly available to other sectors. ISC’13, to be held from 16 to 20 June, will

explore high-performance computing frontiers from the research viewpoint. Parallel to the main conference, on 18 and 19 June, sessions and workshops in the industry track will focus on the technical and scientific use of supercomputers in commerce. Tis track will cater to different needs – from procurement and operation of supercomputers in SMEs to IT administrators wanting to learn about building high-performance clusters and advanced users concerned with the operation and administration of supercomputers in industrial environments. All sessions are designed to promote dialogue between hardware and soſtware vendors, and service providers. At the last conference, one of the highlights

was a ‘chat session’ hosted by Horst Simon, an HPC expert from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA. Tis year, Simon’s chat will focus on ‘Te Missing Middle – How Can HPC Help Industry?’ Four speakers from Asia, Europe and the USA will discuss how HPC


and challenges of HPC in life sciences, fusion energy, superconductors, energy production and reactive flow in gas turbines. Te development of applications for the petaflop computers (1015

flop/s) poses extreme

programming challenges due to the complexity of the architecture, and sometimes it is only possible to develop algorithms with the help of soſtware engineers. One would want to apply the knowledge gained from this experience for application development on future exaflop computers (1018

flop/s). Terefore, some of the

presentations at ISC will address the transfer of programming know-how to the exascale era. Big data will play a major role at ISC as

these applications represent a fusion of high- performance analytics and challenging data sets (in regard to size and/or velocity). Tere is a need to process very large amounts of data, even in traditional supercomputing; for example, in astronomical research and complex fluid mechanics. In these applications, large amounts of structured data are processed based on numerical calculations. But sources can also be a combination of structured data (CAD systems or databases, experimental data or

other measurements) and partly unstructured data (video and sound). New algorithms and applications are needed to extract specific knowledge from these varied sources. To gain access to extreme amounts of data,

I/O performance of HPC systems plays a crucial role. Some sessions at ISC will devote their attention to programming models as well as the future of data aggregation and analysis. Topics such as memory design, caches, external storage and the hybrid memory cube will be analysed. Power consumption will also be a focus at

ISC’13, since growing energy demands require new approaches to system and data centre design. Experts will offer their perspectives in various sessions, including a ‘Bird of a Feather’ session to discuss HPC’s energy challenges. One of the highlights of the ISC ‘13 is the

release of the latest Top500 list. Five years ago, Roadrunner was the first computer in the world with the power of one petaflop and, in March 2013, it was sent off into retirement. Such rapid turnover is a hallmark of the Top500, now in its 20th year. Te question for the June 2013 list is whether the US can retain its leading position against challengers in Japan and China? ISC regulars know and appreciate the event.

With 2,500 participants from nearly every field – medicine, oil and gas, manufacturing, financial services, and academia and research – ISC’13 will once again offer a friendly and collegial conference and exhibition. Te ISC exhibition, from 17 to 19 June, will showcase around 160 vendors, government labs and universities offering HPC systems, services, and research opportunities for all types of users. Although there will be a preponderance of European and US organisations at the event, exhibitors from every continent will be represented.

Exhibition opening

Monday, 17 June: 12pm to 8.30pm Welcome party: 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Tuesday, 18 June: 10am to 6pm Wednesday, 19 June: 10am to 6pm For more information, please visit

@scwmagazine l

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