Researchers, Industry and Government team up to accelerate international scientific outcomes

International GPU Hackathon officially launched in Perth

GPU Hackathon LaunchThe U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), NVIDIA Corporation and Australia’s Pawsey Supercomputing Centre inaugurated the first Australian Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) Hackathon in Perth. During the launch, Pawsey representatives, participants and mentors were joined by U.S. Consul General, Perth, Rachel Cooke and other representatives from the U.S. Consulate.

The GPU Hackathon is a free event taking place at Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle, from Monday 16 April to Friday 20 April. Six teams from Australia, the United States, and Europe, are gathering in Perth for this 5-day event to adapt their applications for GPU architectures.

The Hackathon is a 5-day hands on mentored workshop with supervisors from all over the world – working together in a global collaboration highlighting the importance of understanding GPU technology. The Hackathon developers will be participating from institutions such as Curtin University, Data61, CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, ETH Zurich, University of Melbourne, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), Swinburne University and Joint Institute for Very Long Baseline Interferometry and European Research Infrastructure Consortium, The Netherlands (JIVE).

General-purpose Graphics Processing Units (GPGPUs) can offer exceptionally high memory bandwidth and performance for a wide range of applications. In the supercomputing world, this equates to better accelerators – to increase efficiencies and decrease data processing time. ‘Hacking’ GPUs and accepting the challenge of utilising and programming these accelerators means researchers and programmers can optimise their code to solve bigger problems.

Focusing on collaboration and teamwork, mentors can work with participants to solve difficult challenges and teach techniques that teams learn and take back to their respective institutions.

“We are pleased at the opportunity to host Australia’s first GPU Hackathon in Perth. This type of event benefits the Australian research community and also the international HPC community”, said Ugo Varetto, Pawsey Acting Executive Director, and GPU enthusiast.

“Collaboration between industry, government and researchers and also between nations who are leading HPC [High Performance Computing] is extraordinary; and even more unique is the opportunity to contribute, build and create a community for the benefit of Australian and global science”.

U.S. Consul General Rachel Cooke added, “U.S. research laboratories and American companies understand the unique opportunities that the Pawsey Centre provides through its work with the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) telescope and other big data projects.  Through events like this hackathon, our two countries can work together to solve problems requiring large data processing in fields such as astronomy, medicine, and quantum experiments.”

US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are organising more GPU Hackathons this year. The upcoming events will take place at the University of Colorado Boulder in Colorado, Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre in Lugano and finishing at Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in Tennessee. Pawsey will be hosting the GPU Hackathon in the future.

This event was made possible by the collaboration of ORNL, NVIDIA, CSIRO, ARM, PGI and OpenACC.