RCA DataAnaltyicsPSC Bridges and Brain Reconstruction Project Earn 2016 HPCwire Awards

Annual Awards Bestowed on Leaders in the Global High-Performance Computing Community

Nov. 14, 2016

The Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) has received two international awards in high performance computing. PSC was cited in the annual HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards for two projects: Its new Bridges supercomputer won “Best Data-Intensive System (End User Focused);” and its ongoing collaboration to reconstruct the microscopic architecture of the brain with Harvard University and the Allen Institute for Brain Science won “Best Use of High Performance Data Analytics.”

HPCwire, the leading trade publication in the supercomputing field, bestowed the awards at the 2016 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC16), in Salt Lake City, Utah:

  • Editors’ Choice– Best Data-Intensive System (End User focused): PSC’s new NSF-funded Bridges system, with components acquired from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and enhanced by PSC’s novel architecture, is a uniquely flexible tool for Big Data analytics that emphasizes an exceptionally rich software environment, interactivity and large memory. In addition to introducing important new technologies such as Intel’s Omni-Path Architecture (OPA) fabric, HPE Integrity Superdome X servers with 12 terabytes (TB) of RAM and early access to NVIDIA Tesla P100 GPUs, Bridges offers an unprecedented ease of use that is opening high performance computing to fields in the physical, social and computer sciences that never before used supercomputers.
  • Readers’ Choice – Best Use of High Performance Data Analytics: In a collaboration with Harvard and the Allen Institute for Brain Science, PSC used supercomputers on about 35 terabytes of data from electron micrographs of thin tissue slices to reconstruct the “wiring diagram” of part of the mouse brain’s visual center. The work identified nerve cells that respond to specific visual elements, and how these cells pass along their signals. The finding is a major step in reconstructing brain connections in a way that helps scientists understand how the millions of nerve cells in the brain communicate and work together.

“Bridges integrates a unique, heterogeneous spectrum of high performance-computing and data-handling technologies to drive gateways and tools with which users are already comfortable,” says Nick Nystrom, senior director of research at PSC and principal investigator in the Bridges project. “This enables them to work with larger and richer data.”

“PSC has already processed two electron microscopy datasets of over 100 terabytes, and petabyte datasets are on the horizon,” says Greg Hood, computational scientist at PSC and coauthor in the visual cortex collaboration, which was facilitated by Art Wetzel, principal computer scientist at PSC. “high performance computing will soon play an even more critical role in analyzing neural connectivity within larger volumes of brain tissue.”

The coveted annual HPCwire Readers’ and Editors’ Choice Awards are determined through a nomination and voting process with the global HPCwire community, as well as selections from the HPCwire editors. The awards are an annual feature of the publication and constitute prestigious recognition from the HPC community. These awards are revealed each year to kick off the annual supercomputing conference, which showcases high performance computing, networking, storage and data analysis.

“From thought leaders to end users, the HPCwire readership reaches and engages every corner of the high performance computing community,” says Tom Tabor, CEO of Tabor Communications, publisher of HPCwire. “Receiving their recognition signifies community support across the entire HPC space as well as the breadth of industries it serves. We are proud to recognize these efforts and make the voices of our readers heard, and our congratulations go out to all the winners.”

More information on these awards can be found at the HPCwire website (http://www.HPCwire.com) or on Twitter through the following hashtag: #HPCwireAwards.

For more information, contact:

Ken Chiacchia
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
(412) 268-5869

Vivian Benton
Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center
(412) 268-6355

Chelsea Lang
Corporate Marketing Manager
Tabor Communications
(919) 749-1895