Fermilab goes to 2011 supercomputing conference

SuperComputing 2011 attendees visit the Fermilab exhibit to discuss current research. Photo: Miriam Boon

During the week of Nov. 12, Fermilab staff traveled to Seattle, WA to attend SuperComputing 2011 (SC11).

“The annual SC conference is the year’s biggest computing event, and it represents an important opportunity for Fermilab to demonstrate our accomplishments and strengths in the field,” said Vicky White, associate laboratory director for computing and chief information officer.

This year, SC11 was attended by over 11,000 participants, including approximately 300 exhibitors. The Fermilab contingent met with colleagues, attended sessions and staffed Fermilab’s booth, which showcased Fermilab research.

“Our booth concept was a success,” White said. “We displayed 28 posters that helped us to actively engage other attendees.”

The posters highlighted Fermilab’s accomplishments in both science and computing. Four dynamic displays showed a variety of content, including CMS data movement, DZero data analysis using the Open Science Grid, and data transfers across DOE’s new ESNET advanced network. A piece of a superconducting radio frequency cavity prototype for the proposed International Linear Collider was also on display.

Over the course of the week, members of the Fermilab group spoke with a variety of conference attendees. For example, James Simone, head of the High Performance Parallel Computing Facilities Department, used the opportunity to discuss with several booth visitors the computing and science of lattice quantum chromodynamics (LQCD), including their use of advanced graphics cards for cheaper, faster processing, with several booth visitors.

“All of them were interested in speaking about the state-of-the-art LQCD computing,” Simone said.

This was the first SC conference Adam Walters, head of Facilities Operations in the Core Computing Division, had attended.

“I was able to establish contact with people from other labs that serve on the DOE Sustainability Committee,” Walters said. “It was interesting to meet them in person.”

Francisco Yumiceva, a post-doc on the CMS collaboration, presented CMS data and use of networks at the Internet2 booth, and Wenji Wu, of the Network Research group, led a seminar on performance problems in advanced networks.

“I’m very pleased with Fermilab’s presence. John Urish and Kimberly Myles did an excellent job pulling together the many elements of our attendance,” said Ruth Pordes, coordinator of the Fermilab exhibit. Urish and Myles, both of the computing sector, organized the booth from conception to execution. “We made a lot of valuable connections and put our best foot forward.”

Miriam Boon