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LSUindustrypanelI’ve been invited to represent Dell and speak at LSU’s upcoming HPC Industry Panel.  It’s exciting to go back to my alma mater!  Students from across LSU’s summer research programs will be in attendance.

It’s just too bad this didn’t happen a month later so I could catch an LSU football game in Death Valley!  At least I will get a chance to see SuperMike-II which I had a considerable role in designing.

UPDATE:  LSU published a nice recap of the session.  Below are a few of my quotes:

“I decided to co-op in college, and it was the best decision I ever made,” said Blake Gonzales, high performance computing scientist at Dell Inc. “What you can actually do will make the world of difference, not your GPA or where you went to school,” he added.

“I had a low GPA at one point as an undergraduate student, but received 13 job offers. So if you don’t have a job yet, walk out of this room after our meeting and find one!” he said.

“Learning is very important for me, too, and while designing supercomputers at Dell, I spend a lot of time reading and writing papers,” said Gonzales.

“Teach them how to work in groups more effectively,” Gonzales suggested. “The hardest part is not the actual assignment, but dealing with people. And that’s what real life is all about.”

When talking about job opportunities at Dell, Gonzales pointed out that there are many open positions in the area of high performance computing (HPC).  “HPC is infiltrating every part of society, every manufacturing process, every biological process, and it is becoming a very exciting field to work in,” he said.

Gonzales mentioned a project recently implemented by Dell that involved the top cancer that strikes children. After the little patients are diagnosed, it takes several weeks to start treatment, because doctors first must complete DNA sequencing that requires a lot of computation. Dell’s specialists in HPC were able to cut down the time from several weeks to four hours. This can literally save lives, as children will be getting their treatment sooner now.

 

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I thought I would point you to some exciting work students are participating in over at Texas Advanced Computing Center.  TACC is mentoring several University of Texas at Austin students in the SC10 Student Cluster Competition to be held this November in New Orleans.  This is great work that the students are doing, and it is great to see involvement from TACC and support from the HPC community.  Here are some brief details of the SC10 challenge to build a system within the power constraints equivalent to only three coffee-makers!

The Student Cluster Competition (SCC) showcases the computational impact of clusters and open source software in the hands of motivated and sleep-deprived students under both a time and power constraint. Uh, no pressure…

During SC10, teams consisting of six students… will compete in real-time on the exhibit floor to run a workload of real-world applications on clusters of their own design while never exceeding the dictated power limit.

Prior to the competition, teams work with their advisor and vendor partners to design and build a cutting-edge commercially available small cluster constrained by the 26 amps available during the conference. Teams must also learn the four open source competition applications and are encouraged to enlist the help of domain specialists.”

It is exciting to see students motivated to work on some of the challenges we face in the industry.  I first met the two student leaders of this six-person group at SC09 in Portland last year. Read the rest of this entry »

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