UMass Dartmouth’s Center for Scientific Computing & Visualization Research (CSCVR) organized and hosted the third annual HPC Day on May 25.
This annual event showcases on-going scientific research in Massachusetts that is enabled through high-performance computing (HPC). The conference was well-attended, with 159 participants from institutions across the state, including Boston University, Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, Tufts, WPI, UMass Amherst, UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, and UMass Medical—as well as representatives from industry.
HPC research, from biology to cosmology
The event featured a total of 13 talks presenting the application of HPC in research areas ranging from biological systems to cosmology. A special poster session with awards for student projects was also included. More than 20 posters were presented at the conference, showcasing top-notch student research.
Five awards were granted, made possible through generous donations by Nvidia, Dell, and MathWorks. Microway Inc. sponsored the conference lunch, and Dell sponsored the event's coffee breaks.
Curricular changes in computer science
There were two keynote speakers this year. The first was Dr. Sushil Prasad from the National Science Foundation, who talked about his vision for an impactful curricular change to computer science programs in the country. His talk was titled "Developing IEEE TCPP Parallel and Distributed Computing Curriculum and NSF Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Learning and Workforce Development Programs."
Gravitational wave research
The second keynote speaker was Dr. Luke Kelley from Harvard, who gave an exciting and visually engaging talk titled "Predictions of future Gravitational Wave Observations using Simulations of the Universe." This is a very special time for the gravitational physics research community following the recent first-ever discovery of gravitational waves by the LIGO detector.
The event also featured an interactive education panel that included stakeholders from industry and academia to discuss issues associated with HPC education and training.
Debut of solar-powered computing system
The CSCVR also used this event to debut a small prototype GPGPU computing system, that is powered purely using solar panels. The unique feature of this system is its extremely high power efficiency—an order-of-magnitude larger than traditional systems, made possible by leveraging highly-efficient consumer electronics (in particular, Nvidia Shield TV “set-top” units). The CSCVR has a history of developing innovative supercomputers from using gaming consoles to more recently, using video-gaming graphics cards and mobile-devices.
About the CSCVR
The CSCVR provides undergraduate and graduate students with high-quality, discovery-based educational experiences that transcend the traditional boundaries of academic fields, and foster collaborative research in the computational sciences.
The CSCVR's computational resources are being utilized to solve complex problems in the sciences ranging from the modeling of ocean waves to uncovering the mysteries of black hole physics.