PSC team members are gearing up for an exciting PEARC21 Conference next week! The annual Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing Conference series, aka ACM PEARC, brings together a wide variety of professionals, researchers, and students from the research computing community for a four-day event. This year, it’ll be a virtual meeting of the minds, and we can’t wait to share what we have in store.

The conference features workshops, presentations, panels, and learning opportunities, and our team at PSC has the chance to present some outstanding work this year. Read on for more details on what our staff will be sharing, and why we hope to catch you on our screens soon! If you haven’t gotten a chance to register yet for PEARC21, make sure to register today!



Scientific research enabled by Cerebras CS-1 Systems: Tuesday, July 20, 12:30pm EDT 

PSC has an exciting machine in early operations, Neocortex, which utilizes the Cerebras CS-1 system and its unique Wafer Scale Engine (WSE). With only a few CS-1 systems deployed worldwide, this panel will be the first of its kind to bring together researchers who have used these systems to share their experiences. Our director of AI and Big Data Paola Buitrago will lead the panel alongside our colleague Natalia Vassileva from Cerebras, and Sergiu Sanielevici, director of user support at PSC and Co-PI of Neocortex, will moderate the panel. The panel will feature researchers from Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Brown University, and CMU.

This will be a fascinating panel for anyone interested in AI and new technologies, perhaps with an interest in working on our Neocortex machine in the future, or if you want to hear more about the user experience with the CS-1 so far. It promises to be a fascinating conversation!

OpenHPC Community BoF – Tuesday, July 20, 2:15pm EDT

PSC’s senior information security officer, Derek Simmel, is helping to lead a BoF on OpenHPC (, a community-driven, Linux Foundation project that maintains a software stack of tools and libraries to build and operate HPC clusters. Derek and his colleagues on the OpenHPC Technical Steering Committee will provide updates during this session, solicit feedback about the latest release, and invite attendees to participate in an open discussion about OpenHPC topics. This is a great opportunity for members of the PEARC community to learn more about OpenHPC, to share their experience, and to contribute to its ongoing development.

Towards Inclusive Terminology in Advanced Research Computing – Wednesday, July 21, 2:00pm EDT

This is a really unique session and opportunity for dialogue that we can’t recommend enough: the Extreme Science Engineering and Discovery Environment (XSEDE) project has formed a Terminology Task Force (TTF), which seeks to assess the language used across the research computing community to foster an inclusive environment. Several members of PSC staff are involved with the TTF and were instrumental in organizing this BoF session which they hope will result in productive dialogue and learning for participants.

The aim of this BoF session is to discuss community initiatives, such as the XSEDE TTF, meant to detect and document potentially offensive language that we are often unaware of but is embedded in advanced computing terminology, and to replace such terms without loss of technical functionality. Strategic project manager Stephen Deems shared how powerful serving on this Task Force has been thus far, and he’s excited to see where their work will take them. Stephen, along with Sergiu Sanielevici and senior computational science specialist Deb Nigra will all be part of this session and represent PSC on the TTF. We’ll have more on this session and the TTF’s work after the conference, so stay tuned to Inside PSC in the coming weeks to learn more. The discussion will be an interesting and informative one, and is not to be missed! 


The NSF Computing Ecosystem: Category 1 and 2 Resources for Accelerating Research for the Community – Thursday, July 22, 11am EDT

Another exciting panel at PEARC21 will feature three of PSC’s leaders, including our center director Shawn Brown, plus director of user services Sergiu Sanielevici and director of AI/Big Data Paola Buitrago. This panel is all about National Science Foundation-funded systems, of which we now have two: Bridges-2, which began full operations earlier this year, and Neocortex, which is still in early operations. During this panel, the presenters will introduce the research computing systems, outline their components and capabilities, present use cases, and offer details on any unique aspects that their system may have. This is a great way to learn more about the various supercomputers that are available to the community, including two of the unique and powerful systems we are proud to have at PSC. We hope you’ll join us! 




Science DMZ Experiences: Sharing Considerations and Approaches on Deploying and Maintaining a Science DMZ – Thursday, July 22, 12:45pm EDT

This BoF session includes three PSC staff members from the networking team, Kathy Benninger, Rich Angeletti, and Michael Lambert, along with fellow infrastructure engineers, who will discuss building and maintaining a Science DMZ. Science DMZs are networking, server, and security infrastructures designed specifically to support high performance applications such as bulk data transfer, remote experiment control, and data visualization

With this session, organizers hope to bring together persons who have or will be deploying a Science DMZ architecture at their institution to facilitate a discussion about the finer points of the deployment such as equipment selection, securing the architecture, and overcoming data transfer performance challenges. The aim is to foster an interactive discussion for attendees to share what approaches they have tried, what has worked well, and even things to avoid. Our PSC team members are looking forward to this engaging session, and hope that if you have an interest in this topic, you’ll join them for the conversation!


Featured papers by PSC authors

If you get a chance to attend PEARC21, there are so many great sessions to attend where you can dive into a thoughtful discussion or develop a skill, but if you want to engage in a more academic setting, you can also read submitted papers and hear presentations from the authors. During 10-minute sessions, the authors will present their papers and answer questions, so you can learn more about their research. Paola Buitrago and Julian Uran, research engineer on the AI/Big Data team, will be presenting their paper entitled “System Integration of Neocortex, a Unique, Scalable AI Platform” to give further insight into our Neocortex machine which is in early production – if you don’t get a chance to attend the panel focused on the CS-1 system that powers Neocortex, but have an interest in AI machinery and innovative technologies, stop by check out this paper! It’ll be presented on Wednesday, July 21 at 12:40pm EDT.

Bridges-2 is our machine that made headlines this year, and you’ll have an opportunity to hear more about it if you check out the presentation on the paper, “Bridges-2: A Platform for Rapidly-Evolving and Data Intensive Research,” written and presented by the Bridges-2 leadership team, Shawn Brown, Paola Buitrago, Ed Hanna, Sergiu Sanielevici, and Robin Scibek. This paper will give an overview of the system, its hardware, and the findings of the early user program, so be sure to check it out, on Thursday, July 22, at 12:00pm EDT.


That wraps up our PSC PEARC21 Preview! There are so many opportunities to see our staff out in cyberspace at the conference, and we want to thank our team members for representing PSC during this important research event. We hope that we’ll be seeing some familiar faces during what is sure to be a fun and engaging week!