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2017 GPU Hackathons


January 1 @ 8:00 am
December 31 @ 5:00 pm

Location Deadline Event
Juelich SC 1/13/2017 6-10 March
Brookhaven 3/15/2017 5-9 June
NASA 5/31/2017 21-25 August
CSCS 6/09/2017 4-8 September
OLCF 8/31/2017 16-20 October


We are excited to announce 2017 GPU Hackathons!

General-purpose Graphics Processing Units (GPGPUs) potentially offer exceptionally high memory bandwidth and performance for a wide range of applications. The challenge in utilizing such accelerators has been the difficulty in programming them.  Any and all GPU programming paradigms are welcome.

Hackathon goal
The goal of each hackathon is for current or prospective user groups of large hybrid CPU-GPU systems to send teams of at least 3 developers along with either (1) a (potentially) scalable application that could benefit from GPU accelerators, or (2) an application running on accelerators that need optimization. There will be intensive mentoring during this 5-day hands-on workshop, with the goal that the teams leave with applications running on GPUs, or at least with a clear roadmap of how to get there.  Our mentors come from national laboratories, universities and vendors, and besides having extensive experience in programming GPUs, many of them develop the GPU-capable compilers and help define standards such as OpenACC and OpenMP.

But we don’t even know how to program a GPU…
Programming experience with OpenACC is not a requirement. You will learn quickly in the intense 5-day schedule, working on your code 95% of the time with the mentors.  In the weeks preceding the hackathon, you will have a chance to attend training to prepare you for the event. Prior GPU experience is not required!

Target audience and format
We are looking for teams of 3-6 developers with a scalable** application to port to or optimize on a GPU accelerator. Collectively the team should know the application intimately. If application is a suite of apps, no more than two per team is allowed and a minimum of 2 people per app must attend.

(** by scalable we really mean node-to-node communication implemented, but don’t be discouraged to apply if your application is less than scalable. We are also looking for breadth of application areas.)

Ok, so how can I attend?
Entry period will stay open for only 2 weeks, per event! See events below for deadlines. Selected teams will be notified approximately a week after deadline closes.

What applications are you targeting?
No application domain specifically. We hope to have open-source community codes in need of porting individual modules. This is a great opportunity for grad students and post-docs.

Will there be prizes?
Besides your code running über fast on a machine like Juron, Piz Daint, Titan and Summit? At the end of the event, you will divulge your amazing transformation into GPU Expert, in front of your admiring fans. We also are working to setup opportunities for your team to present your work at upcoming supercomputing related conferences such as SC, GTC, CUG, ISC. Oh and one more thing…there may be goodies too. Stay tuned! 😉

What will we use to program the GPUs?
For beginners, we recommend starting with OpenACC, but we are open to other GPU programming paradigms for those that have apps that already have some partial GPU port. We also host a number of events on programming hybrid architectures. Please visit the OLCF training events page for more info.

Participation Costs
Participation in the training event is free of charge. The meeting room and lunches, as well as access to the supercomputers throughout the event are offered by participating sites. Mentors and learning materials introduced by the instructors are sponsored by participating sites the following partner organizations: Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), NASA Langley, Brookhaven National Lab, Jülich Supercomputing Centre, Technisch Universität Dresden (TU-Dresden), Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS), University of Delaware, Stony Brook University,  Cray, NVIDIA, PGI, and IBM.

Who can I contact for more information or questions?
Please contact Fernanda Foertter foertterfs@ornl.gov for questions.

Where are these Hackathons being held?
This year we are partnering with multiple centers to bring hackathons to more locations.  Three have already been scheduled with more in the works. Please see tabs below for details.

Team Application



NASA Participation Agreement

Terms for participation in the hackathon at NASA Langley may be found in the link below:


“You” means the Participant.

“Organizer” means Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) and its contractors conducting the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON.

“Venue” means NASA and its contractors providing the location and/or facilities for the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON events.


Anyone is welcome to apply to participate as a member of a team as described at https://www.olcf.ornl.gov/training-event/2017-gpu-hackathons/.  Teams will be selected for participation at Organizer’s discretion and subject to number of registrants and available slots.  Participation is fully voluntary and Participants are not entitled to compensation, nor will they be considered employees of Organizer or the Venue as a result of their participation.  Questions regarding whether participation is within a Participant’s scope of employment should be directed to the Participant’s employer.  Federal employees should refer all such questions regarding their participation to their supervisor.  Federal contractor employees should refer all questions regarding their participation to the corresponding contracting officer.

Mentor Registration

As Participants, your team will provide a code sample (“Original Code”), which will be modified by members of your team during the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON with assistance and guidance of one or more persons (“Experts”) assigned to work with your team.  The resulting code (“Modified Code”) will be compiled and executed to evaluate improvement in performance and/or scalability.



Teams will retain all intellectual property rights in the Original Code submitted for use by the team in the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON and in the Modified Code developed therefrom during the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON.  Intellectual property rights for respective contributions of individual Participants of your team will be independently agreed upon by your team Participants.


Participation will require sharing of Original Code and/or Modified Code with one or more Experts assigned to the team.  Accordingly, teams are encouraged to refrain from submitting Original Code and/or Modified Code that includes proprietary or confidential information.  To the extent that the Original Code and/or Modified Code includes information considered to be proprietary or confidential, each team is responsible for taking appropriate precautions (e.g., arranging a mutually agreeable non-disclosure agreement with the assigned Expert(s)) in advance of the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON.

During the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON, Participants may be encouraged to discuss their progress and challenges encountered in daily open discussion sessions.  Information disclosed in the open discussion sessions may not be held in confidence.


The Original Code and Modified Code may be compiled and executed on a hardware-accelerated computer your team’s choosing, which may include a hardware-accelerated computer provided by Organizer, a hardware-accelerated computer provided by Venue, and/or a hardware-accelerated computer provided on behalf of your team.  Original Code, Modified Code, and compiled executables thereof that are submitted to Organizer or Venue for compilation and/or execution will not be maintained or published following the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON.  To the extent that you may be required by law or contract to restrict access to the Original Code, Modified Code, and/or a compiled executable(s) thereof, you are responsible for ensuring that operators of the selected hardware-accelerated computer can access the Original Code, Modified Code, and/or a compiled executable(s) thereof without violating such restrictions.


Neither Original Code nor Modified Code is to (1) be defamatory, abusive, derogatory, offensive, or otherwise inappropriate, (2) violate any laws, rules, or regulations, (3) infringe, or constitute a misappropriation of any intellectual property rights or confidential information of any third party, or (4) include malware of any kind.


Photographs of Participants may be taken during the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON and be later published in various media by Organizer or Venue, without payment or other consideration to Participants, to share information pertaining to the 2017 ORNL HACKATHON.