Things have been busy at PSC this summer with lots of projects, workshops and supercomputing fun. Last week a bunch of us made the 1 hour and 20 minute flight from the ‘Burgh to the Windy City to participate in XSEDE12, XSEDE’s annual conference. We hunkered down at the historic InterContinental Hotel on the famous Magnificent Mile, to avoid the record high temperatures and soak in as much HPC goodness as we could.
Richard Tapia kicked things off as Keynote speaker; Tapia has an impressive resume as the Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering and director of the Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, Rice University; director of the Empowering Leadership Alliance; and director of the XSEDE Scholars Program. Dr. Tapia addressed attendees on “The Crisis in Higher Education: the Need for New Leadership” which focused on the challenge that universities face to increase the participation of minorities in science, engineering and mathematics.
PSC staff participated in the conference in variety of ways. In addition to many of us attending the conference as participants, Phil Blood was on the planning committee as the Technical Program Chair. PSC staffers also led a couple of tutorials and talks: John Urbanic presented a tutorial with Lars Koesterke from TACC entitled “Accelerator Programming with OpenACC and CUDA” and J. Ray Scott updated the XSEDE community on PSC’s new data storage solution, the Data Supercell.
Some of our students also participated in XSEDE’s student engagement program. This program provides students with experience working on HPC-related projects across the various XSEDE partner sites. PSC has three students working with us this summer as part of this program and each of them presented a short talk on their work during the conference.
The week ended with lunch and a surprising talk by Steven Reiner, Associate Professor of Broadcast Journalism at Stony Brook University. Many of us didn’t expect a broadcast journalism professor to have a lot to say at a conference like XSEDE, including Reiner himself! But Mr. Reiner inspired us all and encouraged XSEDE scientists to become better communicators of our work by lowering the amount of jargon and in-depth details and focusing on connecting with our audiences by telling a stories that audiences can relate to.
All and all, it was a great conference, with the opportunity to interact with our XSEDE partners, users, and each other. We’re already looking forward to doing it again next year in San Diego!