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High performance computing workshop at Laurier concludes
High-performance computing experts present new ideas and share experiences
The SHARCNET fall workshop concluded at Laurier on Friday, Oct. 15 with a thought-provoking presentation, lunch, and plans for next year.
SHARCNET – the Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network – is a consortium of colleges and universities in southwestern Ontario whose high-performance computers are linked in a “cluster of clusters” by advanced fibre optics. Access to this high-performance computing network fosters research in genomics, bioinformatics and biocomputation, physics, the chemistry of zadvanced materials, business and finance, fluid dynamics in engineering, aerospace, astrophysics and geophysics, and high-performance computing, visualization, networks and grid computing.
Most of Friday morning was devoted to a presentation by Dr. Brian d’Auriol, a graduate of the University of New Brunswick who is now affiliated with the University of Texas at El Paso.
D’Auriol, who is chair of the annual International Conference on Communications in Computing, focused on the idea of visualizing high-performance computer programs, “drawing pictures as opposed to looking at a program.”
A picture, you might say, is worth a million lines of code. The pictures d’Auriol contemplates are not pictures like paintings, but on-screen visualizations composed of icons, or regions of colours, or points, that would give you information about a program faster than other ways.
“You could use it to visualize what a computer is doing,” he said.
In addition to d’Auriol, the workshop featured presentations from Dr. Craig C. Douglas of Yale University and the University of Kentucky, Dr. Rob Thacker of Queen’s University; and Dr. Eugene Zima of Laurier. Doctors Carol Gauthier and Alain Veilleux of the University of Sherbrooke, exchanged their experiences with their own very large computer cluster, called Mammoth.
“The workshops covered 90 percent of the issues in high-performance computing,” said d’Auriol. “I really liked what I saw. I’ve been to many conferences and workshops, and the content was very well presented here. I learned quite a bit.”
Dr. Doug Roberts of the University of Western Ontario, who was one of the workshop organizers, said “presenting new ideas and sharing experiences” was the whole idea behind the three-day SHARCNET workshop. “We had leading experts from across North America in high-performance computing, including vendor representatives and academic representatives.”
SHARCNET is hosting an international conference on High-Performance Computing, "the new HPC Culture", that will be held at the University of Guelph from