People - Written by on July 26, 2016

OLCF Experts Lead and Learn at Cray User Group Meeting

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ORNL and the OLCF once again took leadership roles at the annual CUG, which took place this spring in London, England. The technical conference brought users and administrators of Cray supercomputers, such as the OLCF’s Titan, to exchange expertise and experiences through a variety of events.

ORNL and the OLCF once again took leadership roles at the annual CUG, which took place this spring in London, England. The technical conference brought users and administrators of Cray supercomputers, such as the OLCF’s Titan, to exchange expertise and experiences through a variety of events.

Staff present talks, facilitate discussions, and serve in leadership roles at the 5-day conference

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at ORNL, once again took leadership roles at the annual Cray User Group (CUG) meeting, which took place this year from May 8 to 12 in London, England.

This technical conference brought users and administrators of Cray supercomputers, such as the OLCF’s Cray XK7 Titan, to exchange expertise and experiences through talks, special interest group (SIG) meetings, and birds-of-a-feather (BoF) discussions. Hosted by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the conference centered on the theme of “scalability.” Exploiting parallelism on all architectural levels and improving the scalability of all codes is both vital and challenging for numerical weather prediction and other domains.

“These CUG meetings give us a unique chance to articulate, in a very public way, what we’re doing on Cray systems and how to improve all of the systems, tools, and software environments that they provide,” said Ashley Barker, group leader for the OLCF’s User Assistance and Outreach Group. “It also provides the opportunity to network with other sites, interface directly with Cray staff, and advocate for improvements that will ultimately benefit the users of the OLCF systems.”

The following OLCF staff members presented papers on various topics:

  • Chris Fuson, user assistance task lead—“Improving User Notification on Frequently Changing HPC [high-performance computing] Environments”
  • Jason Hill, HPC systems Linux/storage administrator—“Jobs I/O Monitoring for Lustre at Scale” (First author—Matteo Chesi, Swiss National Supercomputing Centre)
  • Wayne Joubert, computational scientist—“Early Experiences Writing Performance Portable OpenMP 4 Codes” (First author—Verónica G. Vergara Larrea, OLCF user support specialist)
  • Jim Rogers, National Center for Computational Sciences director of operations—“A Knowledge Reasoning and Hypothesis Generation Framework using Urika-XA and Urika-GD” (First author—Sreenivas R. Sukumar, group leader for the OLCF’s Advanced Data and Workflow Group)
  • Feiyi Wang, HPC systems engineer—“FCP: A Fast and Scalable Data Copy Tool for High Performance Parallel File Systems”
  • Christopher Zimmer, HPC systems engineer—“Finally, a Way to Measure Frontend I/O Performance”

“These six papers showcased many different aspects of the OLCF and represented work from each OLCF group, including User Assistance and Outreach, the Advanced Data and Workflow Group, the Technology Integration Group, the Scientific Computing Group, and the High-Performance Computing Operations Group,” Barker said.

Patrick Worley, an OLCF user who works in ORNL’s Computer Science and Mathematics Division, presented a talk titled “Balancing Particle and Mesh Computation in a Particle-In-Cell Code.” Worley contributed to the related paper along with OLCF user Choong-Seock Chang and OLCF computational scientist Eduardo D’Azevedo.

Barker, Hill, Vergara Larrea, and OLCF user support specialist Suzanne Parete-Koon participated in the program committee as paper reviewers before the event. Hill also served as the SIG chair and led the Systems Support SIG meeting, and Barker was vice-chair for the Programming Environment, Applications, and Documentation SIG meeting. They both facilitated discussions and solicited the needs of Cray users to share with the company.

Hill and OLCF systems administrators Don Maxwell and Matt Ezell attended the XTreme SIG meeting before the start of the CUG meeting. The all-day event provided a mechanism for customers to work directly with their engineering counterparts at Cray to shape the direction of the product line to better meet customer’s needs.

Fuson and Barker led a BoF session (for conference participants with specific shared interests) titled “Best Practices for Managing HPC User Documentation and Communication.” They also served as session chairs along with Hill and Rogers.

The CUG executive board, composed of Cray administrators and users from various centers, organizes these annual CUG meetings. Rogers serves as the treasurer for the CUG board of directors. As the election committee chair, OLCF user support specialist Fernanda Foertter reaches out to members to encourage them to run for office. Elections take place annually at the CUG meetings.

“The OLCF was an integral part of putting on this successful meeting both before and during the meeting,” Barker said. – Miki Nolin

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.