Beyond a pure passion for technology and the thrill of turning ideas into reality, there is a hugely practical basis for investment in advanced computing. Supercomputers and other computational technologies bolster economic competitiveness, a notion that nearly all academic, industry and government leaders have embraced. As supercomputers become more powerful, manufacturers can run bigger and more complex models, saving time and money in the process.
In the early years of the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC), when the event was topping out at 150 attendees, the beginning of each session commenced with Dr. Hans Meuer ringing a Salvation Army bell that was meant to bring us all together. The memory is a sweet one, but it is with great sadness that I’ve learned after a battle with cancer, my friend and colleague has left his community behind.
We sadly announce that the TOP500 Co-Founder and ISC General Chair, Prof. Dr. Hans Werner Meuer passed away at the age of 77 at his home in Daisbach, Southern Germany, on January 20, 2014, after a brief battle with cancer.
Jack Dongarra of the University of Tennessee will receive the ACM-IEEE Computer Society Ken Kennedy Award for his leadership in designing and promoting standards for mathematical software used to solve numerical problems common to high performance computing (HPC). His work has led to the development of major software libraries of algorithms and methods that boost performance and portability in HPC environments, which rely on supercomputers and parallel processing techniques for solving complex computational problems. Dongarra, the Distinguished University Professor at the University of Tennessee, is the founder and director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory at the University, and holds positions at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Manchester. He will receive the Kennedy Award on November 19, 2013, in Denver at SC13, the International Conference on High Performance Computing.
The TOP500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers first debuted more than two decades ago, in June 1993, the brainchild of Berkeley Lab scientist Erich Strohmaier and Professor Hans Meuer. The much-celebrated list is compiled using the Linpack benchmark, which was developed by Jack Dongarra. Although the continued relevance of the Linpack benchmark as a sole measure of big iron performance has been called into question, the impact of this twice-yearly list as a widely recognized metric and a valuable historical record cannot be denied.
In this age of big data, would it surprise you to learn that supercomputers are on track to predicting wars, revolutions and other societal disruptions? Data scientist Kalev Leetaru is one of the foremost proponents in the emerging field of predictive supercomputing. His research helped usher in the era of "petascale humanities," where computers can identify useful or interesting patterns if provided with sufficiently large data repositories.