This is the first part of my “Things you never wanted to learn about SC, but I tell you anyhow!” (TynwtlaSC,bItya!) posts 😉
When you organize a conference for over 10,000 people, even simple things like stuffing the conference bags become a large task! SC, the world-largest international conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis, has almost 5,000 people from all over the world attending the Technical Program. Each of them gets a conference bag which includes the printed conference programs, various sheets with announcements and useful information, sponsor advertisement material and sometimes small gifts. So, your task suddenly becomes: stuff 18 different item into each of the 5,500 conference bags as fast as possible!
How do you do this? Of course, HPC specialists use a parallel processing based on a multi-pipelined approach!
SC15 Conference Bag Stuffing – Picture by Oliver Mohr
First, you build up the pipelines: the material gets placed on a long row of tables, twice, on each side of the table. The volunteers walk done one side of the table picking up and collecting the different items along the way. At the end of the table, they hand it to another volunteer which inserts it into a conference bag, closes it, and in turn hands it to another set of volunteers which collect the bags and stack them for later behind the registration desk. Meanwhile, the first set of volunteers walk back the other side of the table, collecting the material for the next bag, and so on, before the start the cycle again. So each volunteer stuffs two bags per cycle.
Depending on the number of volunteers (and available space) you can use now multiple of these pipelines in parallel. For SC15 in Austin, three pipelines were used (as can be seen in the picture).
Result: 5,500 conference bags stuffed in less than 4 hours by about 40 people!
I love to work on the Forschunsgzentrum Jülich campus which was build in the middle of a forrest, especially in Fall. Today is a beautiful day and it is hard to stay inside and work 😉
View of Jülich Lake Casino across the lake – Picture by Bernd Mohr
View from Terrace of the Lake Casino – Picture by Bernd Mohr
Parking Lot behind JSC – Picture by Bernd Mohr
Parking Lot behind JSC – Picture by Bernd Mohr
View from my Office Window – Picture by Bernd Mohr
Wow! My own “official” blog! I never thought I would do this one time, but here we go.
For those who do not know me so well (yet), I am a scientist at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) working on Supercomputing, High-Performance Computing and especially performance tools for parallel computing. Besides being researcher, I am also deputy head of the JSC division “Application support”.
Me in front of our Jugene supercomputer (2009-2011) – Picture by Ralf-Uwe Limbach
I plan (for now) to blog about my research activities and projects, my visits to workshops, conferences and colleagues all over the world, and about my quest to organize SC17.
I am working on performance tools for High-Performance Computing (HPC) for almost 30 years now, at a time the term “HPC” had not even been invented yet. I have been involved in the development of many open-source performance tools among them TAU, Vampir, KOJAK and currently Score-P and Scalasca. Supercomputers, the biggest and largest computer systems used to solve the world’s toughest problems, are a fascinating research area. The HPC computer hardware architectures, system software and programming models develop so quickly that my work never becomes boring and many exciting research challenges are still ahead of me. If you are interested to learn more about this, and you have some time, you could listen to my podcast about HPC – be aware it is 2.5 hours long and unfortunately, it is in German 🙁
End of 2014, I also got elected the be the General Chair of SC17, the world-largest international conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis attended by over 10,000 people every year. As I am the first non-American after 28 years to organize this conference, it created quite some buzz, for example I made it into the 2015 list “People to Watch” from the online magazine HPCwire. As you can imagine, it is quite an effort to organize a 10,000 attendee multimillion U.S. dollar conference with the help of about 600 volunteers. I will write in the next three years about this effort in a series of blog articles tentatively called “Things you never wanted to learn about SC, but I tell you anyhow!” 😉 If you are interested in this topic, check out the SC15 blog article “10 Questions with SC17 General Chair Bernd Mohr”.
P.S. In case you wonder why the blog is called “Do you know Bernd Mohr?”: The story is that one of our lab directors (name known to the author ;-)) told me once that many times he visits new places or meets new persons, and tells them that he is from Jülich, they often ask him “So you know Bernd Mohr?”.