A conversation with Dr. Hans Meuer and Dr. Horst Gietl. See HPCwire article

Here are excerpts from an article I wrote for HPCwire. 

About one year ago, in April 2012, the House of Lords invited the International Supercomputing Conference  ISC'13 General Chair, Prof. Dr. Hans MeuerPrometeus and University of Mannheim for a presentation with a rather provocative title: Supercomputers - Prestige Objects or Crucial Tools in Science and Industry.

Dr. Meuer co-authored the paper with Dr. Horst Gietl , Executive Consultant, Prometeus.

Why would the venerable House of Lords be interested in Super-computing? The 2nd Lorraine King Memorial Lecture was hosted by Professor the Lord Laird of Artuigarvan, a former computer programmer.

Dr. Hans Meuer, center, at the House of Lords. Lord Laird is on the right
Lord Laird  invited a worldwide expert, like Dr. Meuer, who is not British, but German. In the absence of a Nobel Prize for Computer Science, the Lorraine King Memorial Lecture may become – why not - one of the more prestigious events to honor great men and women advancing the computer industry.

The distinguished audience learned that the UK ranked 4th in the Top500 list of Supercomputer using countries and that France was the only European country with any capability to manufacture supercomputers. With true British sense of humor,  the Lords reaction is fittingly described by one blogger reporting the event:
Clearly more needs to be done by the likes of the UK or Germany to remain competitive in the Supercomputing stakes, which begged the question, (as posed later by an attendee), of whether these machines were nothing more than objects of geopolitical prestige, superiority and / or bragging rights, (e.g. My Supercomputer is faster than yours, so Nyah-nyah, nyah-nyah nyah-nyah!)
Lord Laird summarized this by saying that the computer industry has "a certain lack of visibility:

 "If we don’t know who you are, or what it is you want, then that is entirely your own fault!

The Conversation. Some Excerpts

Miha: IDC predicts in 2013 "HPC Architectures Will Begin a Long-Term Shift Away from Compute Centrism." Do you agree?

Hans: The Long-Term Shift of HPC architectures away from Compute Centrism seem to be a must. Today, one has the CPUs/Cores in the center and the Memory at the periphery. This means one always has to transfer data to the center to do the calculation. But the data transfer is limited (memory bottleneck).  The existing HPC systems can only transfer less than one byte per floating point operation.

Miha: Have you heard of Bosco?  We made this tool to make scientists more comfortable using clusters. Everyone prefers a Mac to working with a cluster. Do you see a need for it in HPC?

Hans: What we at ISC have heard from Bosco is really great and we will see how it will spread over the HPC-community. It really seems to make life easier for researchers to submit their jobs to remote clusters. We will think of having a session about this topic at the ISC’14. We are absolutely sure that there is a need for such a tool in the HPC-environment.

Miha: High Throughput Computing (HTC) - recently made headlines as it contributed to Higgs particle big-data research at CERN.  Many think HTC and HPC are converging.  How do you see it happening?

Hans: The problem is the word ’Converging’. In the future there will be a lot of HPC-applications (as it is already today) where numerically intensive calculations are executed on a vast amount of data; i.e. combustion calculation in an engine.

HTC calculations will operate on extremely large datasets but are executing (in general) only few numerical calculations on them, i.e. take the search engines and the Big Data research at CERN for the Higgs particle.

Now the coupling - not the converging - between HTC and HPC is coming. In the future HTC and HPC will have a strong coupling for Big Science. You should attend ISC’13, where we have established a session exactly for these topics.

Miha: Have you seen this University of California San Diego (UCSD) press release ? They used Bosco to link the HPC Gordon Super Computer to OSG (Open Science Grid),  an HTC resource.  The results improved in a spectacular manner.

Hans And I would love to cover this topic at ISC Big Data'13 conference in Heidelberg, September 25 and 26, 2013. Sverre Jarp from CERN is the conference chair. We just have started the preparation of this event.
The quintessential Leipzig
The International Super Computing Conference 2013 will take place in Leipzig.

The Congress Center Leipzig, is designated as the Best Congress and Convention Center in Europe .  Watch the amazing slideshow to see why.

HPCwire link:

A Conversation with Dr. Hans Meuer and Dr. Horst Gietl 

Apr 22, 2013 | Gearing up for ISC'13, contributor Miha Ahronovitz examines where HPC has been and where it's headed. In this in-depth interview, Drs. Hans Meuer and Horst Gietl recount the origins of the TOP500 list and wax prophetic on the future of supercomputing, including the peril and promise of parallel programming as well as the long-term shift away from compute centrism.

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