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Prace holds inaugural science-themed conference

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Prace held its first Scientific Conference on 26 November in Lyon, in conjunction with ICT 2008, the largest research event for information and communication technologies in Europe. 

The Scientific Conference programme focused on applications, architectures and training needs for the petascale computing regime, covering these topics from multiple perspectives – from the policy maker to the application scientist. The conference consisted of a networking session at ICT 2008 and an evening session at the nearby Hotel de la Cite Concorde.

The networking session consisted of four 20-minute presentations followed by a general Q&A session. The agenda was designed to cover aspects of the project from multiple viewpoints: the first presentation provided a high-level abstraction focused on project management, governance and the development of an HPC infrastructure in Europe; the second was targeted at a more practical level, describing the use of the Prace prototype architectures to ensure that scientists, in terms of scalable software applications, and HPC centres, in terms of facilities management, integration and support will be ready to exploit the Prace infrastructure in 2009; the third presented the computational scientist's perspective; and the fourth addressed the practical aspects of access provision.

The evening session focused on topics closer to the application scientist: information on how to access the Prace computing infrastructure; Prace's vision for a training and education programme aimed at petascale computing; and a presentation on a scalable scientific in Europe that is approaching petaflop/s performance. 

More than 40 participants from 16 countries attended the sessions aimed at facilitating discussion and collaboration between researchers, technical experts, and policy makers, in furthering Prace's goal of establishing an HPC infrastructure in Europe. By organising the workshop during ICT 2008, Prace was able to connect closely with other European ICT projects, such as Deisa and EGEE, enhance collaboration and identify areas of overlapping effort. The second scientific conference is being organised in conjugation with the Deisa Symposium, and will be held in Amsterdam in May 2009.