SC19 All-Star Lineup!

Sixteen attended SC19 with help from STEM-Trek and friends. Nine offered blogs to share their experience, and we’ve captured the collection here.

We would like to thank SC19 General Chair Michela Taufer, Google, HPCNow! and STEM-Trek friends and advisers for their help.

Michael Jeszenka (Georgia Tech)

Vitalina Baptiste (MoRENET, Mozambique)

Umesh Upadhyaya (HPCNepal)

Eugene de Beste (U-Western Cape, South Africa)

Henry Simfukwe (ZAMREN, Zambia)

Marcus Bond (SE Missouri State)

Anton Limbo (U-Namibia)

Rosanne Els (U-KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)

Strahinja Trecakov (New Mexico State U)

Many worked together to make SC19 possible – more than:780 volunteers, 370 exhibitors, 1,150 presenters, and a record 13,950 attendees.

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SC19: Sharing Economy extends budgets so more can participate!

By Strahinja Trecakov, Systems Developer, Information and Communication Technologies at New Mexico State University (NMSU)

Well, I finally made it to SC!

For almost three years, I have wanted to attend the worlds biggest high-performance computing (HPC) conference, but it hasn’t been possible, until 2019.

In July, a colleague recommended the STEM-Trek organization and its programs that help HPC and data specialists attend high-tech conferences. I applied, and few days later, I was selected.

My travel grant included a full tech program registration (workshops and tutorials), and accommodation. My out-of-pocket was minimal, and flights from NM to DEN are usually reasonable. I lodged in STEM-Trek’s “Ubuntu House@SC” — a beautiful, new 3BR/3BA AirBnB condo where three stayed one week for what it would have cost for a single room in a downtown hotel. …

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SC19: Nepal’s HPC Champion pushes forward with help from his friends

By Umesh Upadhyaya, HPCNepal

One of my presentations at the HPCKP’19 conference in Barcelona focused on the “Importance of High-Performance Computing (HPC) in the Himalayas.”

My participation in Barcelona was supported by HPCNow! and I learned a lot from their Singularity and EasyBuild workshops.

I did not know I would be able to attend SC19 until Elizabeth Leake (STEM-Trek) contacted me to let me know that they could help. A surprise, last-minute donation made it possible. Since I was already in New Jersey, U.S., it was easier, and cheaper, for me to travel to Denver than it would have been from Kathmandu.

This was my second time to attend SC, but this time I was representing my own startup, HPCNepal, which my friend and I co-founded to build the human capital and infrastructure required for our country to succeed.

It was possible for me to explore …

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SC19: From SCC to SC

By Eugene de Beste, Systems and Cloud Developer/Administrator with the South African National Bioinformatics Institute, a part of the University of the Western Cape

My journey with systems and HPC administration starts with the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) of South Africa and their Student Cluster Challenge (SCC). I was involved in the third-ever challenge of this kind in South Africa and went on to represent South Africa with my team at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) SCC in 2014, placing first. This proved to be a monumental part of solidifying my desire to continue in this field. As such, I joined my research unit as an HPC and Cloud systems developer from 2017. It is quite fitting then that the CHPC, along with STEM-Trek, would help me find my way to Supercomputing 2019 in Denver.

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SC19: Zambia was in the house!

By Henry Simfukwe, HPC Systems Administrator at ZAMREN

The seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, the late Kofi Annan, once said “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” SC19 for me brings to life these words, as it sharpens one’s knowledge about high-performance computing (HPC), provides information, educates on the best practices and new technologies, and fosters new relationships with like-minded professionals from around the world.

My first experience with HPC came when I Joined the Zambian Research and Education Network (ZAMREN) in 2017 as a Systems Administrator. My duties involve managing and providing support to Linux and Windows Servers, managing the HPC systems and ensuring that all ZAMREN services have a 99.9% up time. Additionally, I am involved in managing Eduroam for the Zambian Federation, and facilitate workshops on Network Monitoring and Campus Network Design.

When I received …

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SC19: Dr. Bond’s 4th

By: Professor Marcus Bond, Southeast Missouri State University

I never expected to have a 1st SC.  As a chemistry faculty member and crystallographer, I have been active in computing my entire career.  But my involvement in high-performance computing (HPC) is more recent.  Several years ago it seemed like a good idea to install a small cluster in our department in order to promote computational science.  At the time, I was completely unaware of the larger supercomputing community.  It was only at the urging of Jim Paugh of Advanced Clustering Technologies (our vendor) that I attended the 2015 Oklahoma Supercomputing Symposium.  It was a very new and confusing experience for me, so many new terms and acronyms—SC, XSEDE—that seemed of casual acquaintance to the other attendees. 

Bond & Students

With my background and …

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SC19: Second time is a charm for this Namibian

By: Anton S. Limbo, HPC System Administrator, University of Namibia

Attending SC19 was an amazing opportunity for me. I also attended SC17, ironically in the same place, Colorado’s Mile-High City. This time around I came all geared-up with a game plan for the tutorials, workshops and birds-of-a-feather (BoF) sessions that will be most relevant to our relatively new high-performance computing (HPC) site and to further my HPC knowledge.

About me

I work for the University of Namibia (UNAM) where I lecture on the topic of Systems Administration. Recently, the university received refurbished HPC racks from South Africa’s Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) and I am the system administrator of those racks. Being new to the HPC field and given the lack of expertise in the field in Namibia, it was challenging to get the hardware into production. However, with continued support from STEM-Trek, SC and CHPC, SADC HPC ecosystems …

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SC19: Els says to plan your work and work your plan!

By: Rosanne Els, Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa

Having had the opportunity to attend SC17, I was delighted when I received the news that I had also been selected to receive an SC19 registration waiver, with tutorials and workshops included (thank you SC19 General Chair Michela Taufer).

I quickly set about booking flights and sorting out all the logistical things to make the trip a reality. At the time, I was in the final stages of supervising several Honours and Postgraduate projects, marking tests, finalizing class marks and setting examinations. Though feeling overstretched, I knew, having had the experience in 2017, that all the additional time in getting the logistics worked out would be worthwhile in the end. There seemed to be a hurdle at almost every step of the way, but I remained focused on the goal…getting to SC19. 

I …

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SC ‘first timer’ reflections; looking forward to many more!

By Michael Jeszenka (Georgia Tech)

​I’m back home after attending SC19 in Denver this last week. What an experience it was! I’m writing this with everything still fresh in my mind so hopefully, I won’t forget anything too important.

What is SC19?

SC is the biggest annual conference in Super Computing / High Performance Computing, and the 19 merely means this year’s edition. The terms Super Computing and High Performance Computing are inter-changeable and often simply referred to as HPC.

What is a super computer?

Super computers are exactly what they sound like! They are computers that are super, or bigger than computers you are probably using unless you currently work in HPC. I’ll borrow Wikipedia’s definition:

supercomputer is a computer with a high level of performance as compared to a general-purpose computer. The performance of a supercomputer is commonly measured in floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) instead of 

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SC19: Empowered to lead the way in Mozambique!

by Vitalina Baptista, HPC Systems Administrator at MoRENet (Mozambique Research and Education Network)

It all started with an email I received from Bryan Jonhston at the Centre for High Performance Computing in South Africa (CHPC). He shared the STEM-Trek call for participation (which provides support to attend SC19 for those who are selected, and the competition is steep!). I was not going to apply; there were many factors to my disadvantage, including the financial one.

Two weeks before the deadline, Bryan again insisted that I submit my application.

So I applied. But I confess I didn’t have much hope of being selected.

But when I least expected it, I received a positive response from STEM-Trek’s Elizabeth Leake. At that time, there was no guarantee of support, but she asked me to wait while she searched for more funding. My hopes arose, once again.

STEM-Trek distributed registration waivers that were donated …

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