The National Institute for Computational Sciences

NICS staff contributes expertise to Extreme Scaling Workshop

On July 15 and 16, 2012 computational scientists from NICS will travel to Chicago to contribute to the annual Extreme Scaling Workshop.

July 15-16, personnel from the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS) will travel to Chicago to contribute to the annual Extreme Scaling Workshop, hosted by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ Blue Waters and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) projects.

NICS computational scientists Lonnie Crosby and Vincent Betro will join a diverse group of experts to help address the challenges faced by those who conduct research on large-scale computing systems. Today’s most powerful machines are capable of more than one quadrillion calculations per second, or a petaflop. The next generation of world-class computers will reach exascale capabilities, a thousand-fold increase. To achieve pioneering results, scientists need these systems to provide sustained performance on a broad range of science and engineering applications, including compute-, data-, and memory-intensive applications.

“It is important to prepare the scientific user community for current and future HPC platforms by presenting the challenges to and recommendations for their effective utilization,” Crosby said of the importance of the workshop.

Despite advances in computer architecture, issues have arisen as high-performance machines have gained power. The continued growth in the number of processing cores on a single central processing unit (CPU) and the evolution of accelerator-based hybrid systems requires that scientific codes undergo fundamental changes in order to take full advantage of powerful petascale and extreme-scale systems. Also, memory bandwidth, file system limitations, and data movement challenges warrant new approaches to application methods.

The Extreme Scaling Workshop will tackle these issues by examining algorithmic and applications challenges and solutions in large-scale computing systems with limited memory and I/O bandwidth. The event will consist of a series of 90-minute sessions that will each include two presentations and a discussion of issues raised during the presentations.

Crosby and Betro will give presentations on Sunday and Monday respectively. Crosby’s presentation—Petascale I/O: Challenges, Solutions and Recommendations, co-authored by Crosby and Rick Mohr of NICS—will focus on the issues that have arisen as file systems have failed to advance at the same rate as computing systems. This talk will also discuss file system management challenges with respect to capacity and administration.

Betro will discuss hybrid message passing and threading for heterogeneous use on CPUs and the Intel Corporation’s Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture. In addition to Betro, this presentation was co-authored by NICS computational scientists R. Glenn Brook and Ryan Hulguin. During SC11, Intel and NICS announced a multi-year strategic partnership to develop future high-performance computing solutions based on Intel’s MIC architecture. NICS staff has already ported millions of lines of code from a number of disciplines to the MIC architecture and plans to deploy a cluster for use by project teams this year.

The Extreme Scaling Workshop is open to scientists, engineers and high-performance technologists from universities, laboratories, industry, HPC centers, and other organizations conducting related work. A list of talks and presenters is posted on the workshop website. For more information on this workshop, please contact Scott Lathrop at