African HPC Ecosystems CHPC’18 Birds-of-a-Feather Session (Cape Town)

Fifteen delegates from six countries attended the African HPC Ecosystems birds-of-a-feather session during the Centre for High-Performance Computing’s (CHPC) National Conference in Cape Town, December 2-5.

The HPC Ecosystems project is led by Bryan Johnston (CHPC Advanced Computer Engineering (ACE) Lab Senior Technologist and Lecturer), who also led the BoF. The project was formed when large, X86-class HPC systems were decommissioned by the University of Texas-US (UT) in 2012 and 16, University of Cambridge in 2014 and CHPC in 2015; the hardware was then donated to Johnston’s team at CHPC who split them into smaller, two and three-cabinet, stand-alone clusters. The refurbished systems, and a supply of spare parts, were distributed to 18 data centers in a dozen countries where they continue to live a second life in a workforce development and light research capacity.

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HPCKM’19 June 13-15, Barcelona; DEADLINE EXTENDED! Apply by April 24!

Barcelona is lovely in June! Apply through STEM-Trek Nonprofit for free registration & lodging by April 24!

The eighth HPC Knowledge Meeting is June 13-14 at the Barcelona Advanced Industry Park in Barcelona, Spain. At this meeting, HPCNow! CEO David Tur and CTO Jordi Blasco foster the exchange of expertise and strategies among professionals who support research computing resources and services around the world.

The technical program’s content is fairly advanced, and the meeting’s intimate scale provides ample time for delegates to establish rapport with fellow attendees and expert presenters from academia and industry. Last year, delegates from a dozen countries enjoyed a tour of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center, home of the MareNostrum HPC system.

This year’s speaker line-up includes Brad Chamberlain (Cray); Todd Gamblin (Lawrence Livermore National Lab); Carlos Eduardo Arango Gutierrez (Syslabs, Inc.); Kenneth Hoste (Ghent University); Karl W. Schultz (OpenHPC); Claudia …

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Happy New Year from Nepali STEM-Trekker Raksha Roy

3 January 2019

Dear Elizabeth.

I would like to call 2018 as the most remarkable year of my life, professionally, and a colossal acknowledgement goes to you, STEM-Trek, Colleen Sheedy (International Supercomputing Conference, ISC), Julian Kunkel (University of Reading), and others who helped make my June 2018 trip to Frankfurt and the ISC possible. You introduced me to a whole new world; in fact, the experience expanded me so much that I was unable to fit back into my former life upon returning to Nepal!

After ISC, my newfound thirst for learning became intense, which led me to pursue and win a scholarship to attend a technical conference in Shanghai, China in November. Then, on 29 December, I presented a paper at a National Students’ Conference on IT in Kathmandu, Nepal, where I had the opportunity to talk about high-performance computing (HPC). …

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ISC Travel Grants: Young Researchers and Students Apply by Feb. 15!

Once again, the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) will sponsor two travel grants; the deadline to apply is February 15. Please share this link with young researchers and students who would benefit from attending ISC19 in Frankfurt, Germany June 16-21.   Photo by Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek): 2018 ISC travel grant award winners Badisa Mosesane (U-Botswana, on left) and Raksha Roy (Nepal/ICIMOD, on right) with Thomas Sterling (Indiana University). 

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STEM-Trek Year In Review

By Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek)

Many thanks to those who donated to STEM-Trek in 2018; we appreciate your support very much.

Annual Report of Activities

It wasn’t an easy year for STEM-Trek. U.S. tax law changes affected the philanthropy behavior of many corporations who feared that it wouldn’t be as financially-favorable to donate to charity as it has been in the past. Even though the changes wouldn’t have mattered to some, we saw widespread stalling; some came through toward the end of the year, but very few. Instead of donating cash, they are now more likely to donate in-kind services, and/or host internship programs. Most want to see a tangible return-on-investment. Since the tone at the top impacts US corporate culture, fewer are concerned with diversity and inclusion. It was also a slow year for federal grants; they were taking up to 10 months to disburse once approved. Since STEM-Trek doesn’t …

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Good Samaritans on the DART line in Dallas @SC18

By Bigani Sehurutshi (University of Botswana)

By the time my travel to Dallas for SC18 was approved, STEM-Trek’s UbuntuHouse was already full.

When I was looking for accommodations, I was advised to consider places next to the DART light rail service. Because I booked late, and because tens of thousands were in town for the conference, the only place I could find was some distance from the convention center.

On the first day of the conference, the hotel shuttle dropped me at Burbank rail station. I had no Internet access to check for the DART stop that was closest to the convention center. When I tried to buy a ticket, the machine wasn’t working.

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SC18: Everything big happens in Dallas

By Bigani Sehurutshi (University of Botswana)

When I got news that my SC18 support was approved, I was delighted, but at the same time in the dark about the whole thing as it was my first time to attend a conference of such magnitude.

After registration, I faced the dilemma about which sessions to attend. As I was the only delegate from University of Botswana (UB) to attend this year, I tried by all means to gather as much information as I could for UB researchers, systems administrators and everyone else. As a sysadmin, I was attracted to container computing sessions and attended a number of them, as well as tutorials on Krbenetes and an HPC containers BoF.

For the benefit of our UB  cluster, I went to sessions on MPI & OpenMPI; many tools …

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ISC’19: Student Cluster Competition Teams Announced

By Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek)

Great news! Top500 announced the student cluster competition teams that will compete during the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Frankfurt, Germany June 16-20, 2019.

While the US didn’t send a team last year, it’s good to know that the U-Mass Green Team will be there!

If you read my two-part series in Top500 about the competition last summer, you may recall me noting that the US was a no-show. In 2012 when the contest was first launched, Germany, and two US teams prevailed. But from 2013 forward, South Africa, two Chinese universities, and Singapore have rallied, with South Africa winning the top honor for three out of the past seven years.

Since many US states and European countries have hosted student cluster competitions longer than others, their absence or failure to place in the top three inspired me to interview team leaders to find out …

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SC18: Through the Lens of a Newcomer

By Paul Devlin (University of Dallas; STEM-Trek Blogger)

I started my day with the “Machine Learning in HPC Environments” workshop. The workshop moderator briefly talked about Alan Turing’s proposal of intelligent computers and how the term “machine learning” was coined in reference to teaching a computer to play games. ML developers still work hard to game computers good at games, but the moderator named some important changes that have occurred in the field. He pointed to better algorithms, big data, and more computing power as the primary culprits for the dramatic improvement in machine learning software in recent years. After all these huge advances, how will machine learning be able to progress even further? By the end of the workshop, I was convinced that the answer is training parallelization.

The first keynote talk was by Dr. Azalia Mirhoseini from Google Brain. She discussed a novel architecture for deep neural networks …

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CHPC South Africa Wins Workforce Diversity Leadership Award; HPCwire Readers’ Choice

By Nox Moyake (South African Centre for HPC; UbuntuHouse@SC18 Blogger @STEM-Trek)

The Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) South Africa has won the Workforce Diversity Leadership Award following votes by readers of HPCWire, a leading high performance computing online publication.

The centre won the award for leading the re-purposing and re-deployment of high performance computing systems in Africa, a project done in collaboration with Texas Advanced Computing Centre, Cambridge University, Dell as well as the Departments of Science and Technology and of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa.

The project’s aim is for these retired systems to be re-used for training purposes and well as for academic research in research councils and in universities.


Cover photo: HPC Ecosystem Team with Tom Tabor, CEO: HPCWire

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