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International conference

Nathaly Mermet - 12/11/2012

SuperComputing 2012: a must in computing

The global community of scientific computing has assembled in Salt Lake City, and will remain there until 16 November. Inria, a committed member of this event, established in 1988, has participated for nearly 20 years by sending its specialising in high performance computing (HPC).

Brice Goglin  - © Inria

"This year we are engaged in a nationwide operation   ( C2S@Exa)  for the 2012 SuperComputing conference and are involving Inria teams from different sites (Bordeaux, Grenoble, Nancy and Sophia Antipolis)", said Brice Goglin , Research Scientist with the Inria Runtime project team at the Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest Research Centre. "SuperComputing only directly covers a few of the 20 subjects researched at Inria, but some of our other teams researching other subjects participate in the conference because digital simulation and high performance computing now affect many aspects of society,"  he says.  

Networking is a priority

Working to develop software that makes supercomputers more user-friendly, Brice admits to attending this unmissable international conference more as a means of meeting the key figures of scientific computing than exhibiting his research. "We need to closely follow developments in technology,"  he says, admitting to having special agreements with manufacturers such as Intel, so as to be able to provide computational software as soon as the manufacturer releases any new product. "We are confident that we can develop tools upstream, but are obviously not allowed to get started as long as the release of the product has not been made official"  he confirms, noting that the SuperComputing conference is an opportunity for numerous manufacturers to present their products. Expected announcements include: a new Intel processor dedicated to scientific computing, or new generations of NVIDIA processors based on completely different technologies. "The battle is raging between manufacturers of conventional all-purpose processors that can do everything, just not very quickly (Intel), and manufacturers who design processors based on video game graphics cards which can only do certain things, but quickly (NVIDIA)" summarises Brice, noting that it is unclear today what the future holds in the realm of processor technology. 


"Paradoxically, as computers become more powerful and more complex, the challenge is to make users feel that they are easier to use," says Brice Goglin. Manufacturers of new products focus primarily on effective computing power but little on making the product user-friendly. Many projects have been proposed to simplify users' lives through the software they use. "Computing resources available through cloud computing are also among the trends in the shift towards sustainable development and energy savings," he observes. For visitors to its  booth, Inria has prepared presentations involving:  energy issues, programming languages, simulations of futuristic machines for modifying software, and much more!

Lastly, Inria will give its partners a chance to present, live from its booth. Follow events throughout the entire week on the conference website.

Keywords: Supercomputing Inria Bordeaux - Sud-Ouest High Performance Computing