HPCAI-AC Robots, machine learning and exascale take centre stage in Fremantle

Walking down the busy Marine Terrace in Perth’s port city of Fremantle, you wouldn’t expect to hear about a conference on some of the most advanced science and research being undertaken in the Nation.

On August 28 and 29, The Esplanade Hotel, situated on Fremantle’s bustling coastal front, played host to the 2nd Annual HPCAI-AC Conference. The conference focuses each year on exploring the major and emerging domains and insights of the industry. This year’s focus was on Artificial Intelligence, Data Sciences, High Performance Computing (HPC), Deep and Machine Learning, Visualisation and more.

The two days gave attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors the opportunity to network, gain new insights and ideas in their specialised domains.

Hari Subramoni of Ohio State University

Day one started with the keynote from Hari Subramoni, Research Scientist at Ohio State University. Hari’s presentation, Designing HPC, Deep Learning and Cloud Middleware for Exascale Systems, focused on the challenges in designing these systems with millions of processors and accelerators. This insightful presentation was welcomed with interest in Hari and his work and sparked extensive conversation during the networking breaks on the new era of exascale computing in the world.

Hari’s presentation was followed by a day of industry best practices, catalysts and insights by Western Digital, the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the University of Melbourne, Mellanox Technologies, Cray, DownUnder GeoSolutions and CSRIO.

The end note for day one was presented by Stephen Wong of the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC) Singapore, focusing on international collaborations. The Centre has a vision to play a catalytic role in supporting national research and development initiatives via industrial and international research collaborations. This initiative will extend Singapore’s global reach and research capability across a range of highly competitive landscapes including artificial intelligence, data science, advanced manufacturing, precision medicine and more.

In the name of collaboration and networking, attendees of the Conference hopped on a coach from the Esplanade Hotel and made their way to the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre; they were welcomed with drinks and nibbles and shelter away from the storm outside. They spent the next few hours talking to their peers and going on a tour of the facility before heading back to their hotels and rest for a full second conference day.

Attendees on tour in front of Magnus
Attendees on tour in front of Magnus

The whole morning of the second conference day was dedicated to community catalysts and an international dialogue on systems, monitoring and benchmarks. This combined session featured lightning talks from HPC centre representatives from across the world. These interactive discussions focussed on current tools, procedures and strategies in the evaluation, monitoring and assessment of performance in current HPC systems.

The rest of the afternoon featured presentations from HPC vendors and researchers using HPC and its application to their domains. This included how Curtin University’s Institute for Computation are using AI to solve real-world problems and Professor Linqing Wen from UWA on how HPC is used for the groundbreaking gravitational waves discovery.

The end note for the conference was presented by Russell Potapinski, Head of Cognitive Science at Woodside Energy. Russell showcased the innovation, education, research and support at Woodside, including investing in community education and outreach and collaborating with organisations such as the Fiona Wood Foundation to support burns research and NASA and its mission to send robots to Mars. The teams at Woodside are using HPC, AI and machine learning to pave the way to the future.

This incredible science and research are enabled by organisations such as the Pawsey Supercomputing Centre and infrastructure vendors such as Cray, DDN, Mellanox, ATOS, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel and Western Digital; who will be back in 2019 for the 3rd annual Conference.

If you missed it, the HPCAI-AC share the conference presentations on their YouTube channel. Their call for presentations is always open, so get in fast and email the HPC AI Advisory Council with your abstract.

See you next year!