Europe's exascale on display in May
The development of exascale computing in Europe will be on display at the upcoming PRACEdays conference to be held in Dublin, Ireland, in May.
The focus will be on the incredible levels of parallelism that need to be realised for software to scale efficiently on exascale systems and on the benefits of using HPC within industry. This industry focus is provided through a conference programme entitled: ‘Enabling Exascale in Europe for Industry’ and is being run by six European Exascale Projects – CRESTA, DEEP/DEEP-ER, EPiGRAM, EXA2CT, NUMEXAS and MontBlanc.
Technological challenges both in software and hardware need to be overcome before exascale machines can become a useful tool for scientists. European experts in HPC are converging in Dublin this year to discuss potential solutions but also to share knowledge and expertise from within their own specialist field.
The second European Exascale Software Initiative (EESI), held in combination with Pracedays15, is aimed at addressing the software challenges associated with scaling software as close to linearly across potentially millions of processors needed for exascale systems. EESI2 was funded through the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme which funded European research and technological development from 2007 until 2013.
The main goals of EESI2 are to construct and implement a European vision, roadmap and to propose recommendations to address the challenges of extreme data and extreme computing requirements of the Exascale HPC systems. More than 120 experts have been involved during the last two years on this project and some documents including recommendations have already been published.
The EESI2 project will present all its research and recommendations during the final two days of the conference. This major event is organised by SURFsara, HPC and e-Science support centre based in the Netherlands, and funded by the European Commission (EC).
The findings of the project will be presented to the public, including worldwide specialists, scientists, engineers, policy makers from different European member states and representatives of the (EC).
The first day of the event will focus on the technical challenges and recommendations in the areas of ‘Tools and Programming Models’, ‘Ultra Scalable Algorithms’ and ‘Data Centric Approaches’, with each of these topic areas underlined by specific user applications. Further discussion on the technical aspects of the recommendations will be facilitated through a panel at the end of the day.
The second day will focus on the international HPC ecosystem, including co-design and education aspects, and the way forward beyond EESI2. The day will end with a panel discussion on future organisation of the HPC ecosystem and international collaborations between scientists and industry, additionally stakeholders and the EC are expected to contribute to the panel.
In addition to this focus on software another separate track at the Prace conference will focus on the benefits of enabling exascale computing within European industry. The six European Exascale Projects will each take part in sessions over the course of the programme to demonstrate how their research efforts may benefit HPC usage in European industry.
The speakers will share insights on their research efforts, in particularly user requirements and challenges to be overcome for future exascale computing. The talks will make use of examples from various fields of industry such as oil and gas, pharma and aerospace.
Additionally, the event will include a keynote from an external speaker, Dr Eric Chaput, senior manager methods and tools, flight physics Airbus, who will share first-hand experience as a long-term HPC industrial user and share his vision for exascale computing.
This interest in industrial HPC users and the benefits of enabling HPC within industry is a recurring theme within the Prace organisation. At the end of last year’s Prace conference Scientific Computing World reported on the cooperation between Academia industry and government that is helping Europe achieve leadership in HPC.
It is not just the big fish that Prace has its eye on when it comes to enabling HPC within industry. The Prace SHAPE programme, which stands for SME HPC Adoption Programme in Europe, focuses on getting small and medium enterprises (SME) to embrace HPC by letting them use some of the largest HPC systems in Europe once their projects have been evaluated by the Prace organisation.
This helps to provide HPC services for companies that would not be able to invest heavily in the infrastructure needed to support HPC systems, let alone the systems themselves making HPC much more accessible to smaller companies.
Although Europe may be pushing the boundaries of exascale software development and encouraging industry to share its own expertise there is much to do before the HPC industry can truly begin to utilise exascale computing to its full potential.