Attending SC10, the premier supercomputing event, could spell future benefits for IU, Indiana
When Supercomputing 2010 (SC10) wrapped up in New Orleans on Nov. 19, the contingent from Indiana University's information technology community arrived at a conclusion: The premier international conference for high performance supercomputing is much more than a networking event for networkers -- it's a place from which, they hope, new opportunities for IU and the state of Indiana will come to fruition.
"The SC conference has many functions -- but our main goals are sharing within the advanced computing community nationally and internationally, and demonstrating the excellence of IU faculty researchers and staff who deliver advanced IT," said Craig Stewart, executive director of IU's Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) and associate dean of research technologies. "This is particularly important as IU competes for ever more scarce federal grant dollars."
The conference featured more than 300 exhibitors from around the world, making the exhibition at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center's 386,000-square-foot hall the largest in SC conference history.
"Demonstrating our capabilities here definitely bolsters our competitiveness for federal funding, which has the potential to create many high quality jobs in central and south-central Indiana," Stewart added. "There is a definite economic development aspect to our presence at this conference, and the state of Indiana benefits as a result."
SC10 served as home to one of the fastest computer networks in the world, SCinet, which provided a demonstration platform for some of the most advanced computers and applications in the world. IU staff and researchers helped monitor the performance of this state-of-the-art network, delivering more than 260 gigabits per second and a production-wide 100 gigabit ethernet connection during the event.
"Because successful supercomputing requires access to reliable, high-bandwidth research networks, the SC10 conference was an important venue for the IU Global Network Operations Center," said IU Associate Vice President of Networks Dave Jent. "We not only lent our engineering expertise in helping run the SCinet network, but we were also able to meet with important collaborators, funding agencies, and industry partners in order to keep them informed about IU's networking strengths."
Four IU scientists were on hand from GlobalNOC to demonstrate the center's Worldview visualization system and NOAA's Science on a Sphere visualization system, and to host a table at the student job fair.
In fact, IU's presence was highly visible throughout the conference, from technical support to conference workshops, technical lectures, hands-on presentations, showroom floor demonstrations, outreach programs designed for K-12 teachers, and even entertainment:
- Beth Plale, director of the PTI Data to Insight Center, led a workshop on managing the data deluge produced by today's modern supercomputers.
- Representatives of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems demonstrated emerging techniques powered by supercomputers for modeling and predicting the spread of infectious disease.
- Marlon Pierce, assistant director of the Science Gateways Group at PTI, led a workshop on Open Gateway Computing Environments and its contributions to building science gateways, grid portals, and related tools for Web access to grid and cloud computing resources. (The project is an NSF-funded collaboration composed of IU, San Diego State University, San Diego Supercomputer Center, and the Texas Advanced Computing Center.)
- Geoffrey Fox, director of the Digital Science Center at Pervasive Technology Institute, presented the latest on cloud computing and FutureGrid, one of only two experimental systems in the NSF Track 2 program that fund the most powerful, next-generation scientific supercomputers in the nation. (Funded by a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation, FutureGrid is a high performance test bed that allows scientists to work collaboratively in developing and testing novel approaches to parallel, grid, and cloud computing.)
- Even IUPUI Professor of Music Scott Deal and his electro-acoustic ensemble Big Robot were on hand to start off SC10 with a bang, performing original telematic works synthesizing live music, dance, and visual art with Internet-based interactive content.