July 30, 2018

The PEARC18 conference, held in Pittsburgh, Pa., closed on July 26 after five days of tutorials, plenary and contributed talks, workshops, panels, poster sessions and a visualization showcase.

The annual Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC) conference—with the theme Seamless Creativity this year—stressed key objectives for those who manage, develop and use advanced research computing throughout the U.S. and the world.

“We are happy that our efforts resulted in a very strong technical program,” said Sergiu Sanielevici of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, General Chair of PEARC18. “Participants shared comments such as, ‘The tutorials this year were terrific-my staff and I will share with everyone when we get back to campus.’ and, ‘The papers were very high quality, I had a hard time choosing sessions, all were of high interest and important to my work.’”

A total of 657 people, including 74 students, registered for the conference held at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown to discuss the state of the art in advanced research computing and data analytics. Invited plenary speakers included:

  • A panel including Vipin Chaudhary of NSF, Shaowen Wang of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sandra Gesing of the University of Notre Dame and Kenneth E. Jansen of the University of Colorado-Boulder, who discussed lessons learned creating software institutes
  • A talk by Gregory K. Farber of the National Institute of Mental Health on the NIH’s plans for neuroscience and advanced computing
  • Pradeep K. Dubey of Intel Lab’s presentation on the state of AI and the direction the field may take
  • A talk by Ruby Mendenhall of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about her group’s work to extract lessons on the life experiences of Black women through data mining historical documents, as well as their current research on the effects of violence on the Black community
  • A town hall to discuss the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure
  • A presentation by Anita Nikolich of the Illinois Institute of Technology about forming cybersecurity collaborations between the academic and hacker communities, followed by a discussion with the audience, moderated by Von Welch of Indiana University, principal investigator of the NSF Trusted CI project

On Thursday July 26, attendee voting awarded best-of-conference status in several categories:

  • Best Poster: “Scaling JupyterHub Using Kubernetes on Jetstream Cloud: Platform as a Service for Research and Educational Initiatives in the Atmospheric Sciences,” Semir Sarajlic, Julien Chastang, Suresh Marru, Jeremy Fischer and Mike Lowe, Indiana University
  • Best Technical Paper: “Brown Dog: Making the Digital World a Better Place, a Few Files at a Time,” Sandeep Puthanveetil Satheesan, Jay Alameda, Shannon Bradley, Michael Dietze, Benjamin Galewsky, Gregory Jansen, Rob Kooper, Praveen Kumar, Jong Lee, Richard Marciano, Luigi Marini, Barbara Minsker, Christopher Navarro, Arthur Schmidt, Marcus Slavenas, William Sullivan, Bing Zhang, Yan Zhao, Inna Zharnitsky and Kenton McHenry, National Center for Supercomputing Applications
  • Best Student Poster: “The Influence of CyberInfrastructure on Scientific Computing at NMSU,” Mohammed Tanash, Matt Henderson, PoChou Su, Tracey Fernandez. Z. M. Saifullah. Robert Kelly, Jelena Karapetrovic, Hussein Al-Azzawi and Diana V. Dugas, New Mexico State University
  • Best Student Technical Paper: “Using Immersive Visualization Environments to Engage Students in Hands-On Learning,” Hannah Ricketts, Alexa Salsbury, David Bevan and Anne Brown, Virginia Tech

The Phil Andrews Award for Most Transformative Contribution to PEARC18 was split between two presentations:

  • The technical paper “High Performance Photogrammetry for Academic Research,” Guangchen Ruan, Eric Wernert, Tassie Gniady, Esen Tuna and William Sherman, Indiana University
  • The poster “Classification of Periodicity in Subtraction Game Sequences,” Nicole Brewer and Mark Daniel Ward, Purdue University