Wednesday, 23 November 2011

NGS at SC'11 - round up

The UK presence was fairly significant this year at SC'11 with attendance by David Wallom, NGS Technical Director and a significant number of the leaders of research computing centres from around UK universities. This included NGS member sites @ Bristol, Leeds, Oxford, Southampton and EPCC.

In this blog post, David gives us a round up of NGS activities at this major computing event.

Having got off of the very long flight from Heathrow
to Seattle we settled onto the metro to get us  downtown. After passable sleep the following morning we headed over to the SC’11 venue – the Washington Convention Centre to collect our badges and then visit the workshop on HPC in Smart Grid, where there was UK interest from the EC FP7 HiPerDNO project being presented by Dr Stef Salvini, OeRC. Following a very productive day where we learnt the state of the art in US Smart grids, how they intend to utilize knowledge developed through the national e-infrastructure for research. We then met up with the EGI team who had an exhibition stand at the conference.

The Monday workshop, Many-Task computing on Grids and Clouds 2011,  started off with an interesting keynote from David Abramson (Monash) a long term friend of the NGS through support for their Nimrod tool which is popular with several of our biosciences users. After this there was a panel session which went slightly off topic to talk about exascale more than Many task but it still attracted several questions around the need for exascale, when we are still struggling to get a significant user base onto smaller HPC systems. Overall a good workshop though having the panel first did mean that a number of people didn’t hang around for the rest of the papers. This workshop was operating in a very competitive market with other sessions on cloud and data management which also attracted significant crowds.

The first full day of the conference allowed for the first good look around the exhibition floor alongside several interesting birds of a feather sessions There was also the  first of a number of conversations with different groups and vendors, including Microsoft, Mathworks and Adaptive Computing.  To give an idea of scale this picture is down one of the main aisles in one of the 5 rooms that were all about this size!!

Pretty impressive stands by a number of people
but the coolest was the multi projection globe on the NOAA stand.

We of course also announced
our activity with Globus Online which created a lot of interest and ended with us having a number of interesting conversations with NSF regarding future collaboration between our national e-infrastructures.

During the meeting the EGI booth was continually visited by a reasonably large number of people, we had the Real Time Monitor showing as normal (having seen a lot of 3D screens this needs to be done in 3d now for next year!). They did though give away a pretty large number of t-shirts as did a lot of stands, so I ended up as the moving poster board around down town  Seattle from 6:30-7am every morning on my morning run!

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