HPC's best and brightest gear up for twenty-fourth annual Newport Conference

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Bay from Goat IslandThe National High Performance Computing and Communications Conference, the annual gathering that HPC insiders refer to as “the Newport Conference,” celebrates 24 years this March when it once again returns to the quaint location on Goat Island (Newport, Rhode Island) March 16-18, 2010.

So, what is the magic formula that keeps a conference going for 24 years?

In the words of conference founder John Miguel, “It’s knowing what you are — delivering a consistently good program, and not trying to be something you’re not! We don’t try to be flashy — and we purposely limit the size of our audience to facilitate better networking and interaction among the attendees. I really think this has been a key to our longevity.”

I’ve heard a number of folks in the community comment that year over year, this is their favorite conference and, with just a glance at this year’s program, one can easily recognize that this is a conference taken seriously by an inner circle of HPC community thought leaders.

This is a single track conference — and the attendees stay together for all the sessions — and all the breaks. The networking opportunities are excellent — and over the years — many folks have also told me that this is a conference where “business gets done.”

The typical attendance for this conference is 100 to 120 participants. Not even a blip on the radar screen compared to the annual SC conference. But the intimate setting and the 1:1 personal interaction that takes place in Newport makes it a “must attend” event for a number of organizations.

I asked Dr. Stephen Wheat, Intel’s Sr. Director for HPC Strategy about the conference. Wheat has been a featured speaker at this conference for quite a few years. He offered the following observation: “Since my first attendance at the Newport Conference in 2003, the Intel Architecture-based entries in the Top500 (www.top500.org) have gone from 11% to more than 80%, an accomplishment that can be largely traced back to the invaluable insights and strategic relationships gained from key industry engagements.  The Newport conference stands out in my mind as one of the most effective HPC community venues to foster regular and meaningful discussions.  It is always a pleasure to attend this conference, and each year I look forward to seeing what the unique chemistry on Goat Island will create.”

Dr. Eng Lim Goh, CTO of SGI, and a very popular speaker at the Newport Conference, had the following to say: “This conference has consistently been well attended by decision makers, influencers and thought leaders who shape our industry.”

At the annual Newport conference, the discussion of where we are going (the HPC Community) — and who or what is really driving community momentum — has become somewhat of a core program component. I’m thrilled to be hosting what I believe will be a very interesting and timely discussion this year. A panel of thought leaders will join me to discuss, “The HPC Crystal Ball: Disruptive Technologies and Inflection Points.” I will be joined by (in alpha order) Dr. Rupak Biswas, NASA Ames, Dr. Robert Graybill; USC ISI and Nimbis Services; Dr. Wolfgang Gentzsch, DEISA, EU; Dr. Charles D. Norton, JPL; and Dr. Thomas Sterling, LSU.

Back in October, insideHPC ran an interview with Thomas Thurston, president of Growth Science International, on the topic of disruptive modeling.

The article was wildly popular and gave many of us a fresh perspective on how we look at growth opportunities and success potential. The discussion with Thomas Thurston gave me the idea to take a look at existing or potential disruptive technologies in HPC and leading a discussion of what creates market momentum. This should be fun!

So, on Tuesday (March 16th), my panel will peek into the HPC Crystal Ball from the perspective of the end-user Thought Leaders named above. And then the following day, Wednesday, March 17th, we’ll hear a different perspective — as Bob Feldman, president of HPC Marketing, hosts a panel of leading HPC system, software and solutions providers to get their views of the challenges and direction they see for the HPC community moving forward. This is always a lively and entertaining discussion, and I’m glad to see that Bob Feldman will return again this year to lead this group who, by the way, is not known to be shy about their opinions.

Thinking of attending the Newport Conference for the first time? Maybe this list will help you make up your mind. As of this post, the impressive line up of attendees includes representation from the following organizations (in alpha order):

  • Air Force Rome Laboratory
  • Appro
  • Army Research Laboratory
  • British Petroleum
  • HECTOR & Numerical Algorithms Group (UK)
  • Intel
  • InterSect 360 Research
  • JPL
  • Juelich Supercomputing Center (Germany)
  • Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Louisiana State University
  • Microsoft
  • NASA Ames
  • National Science Foundation
  • Naval Research Laboratory
  • Oak Ridge National Laboratory
  • Raid Incorporated
  • Sandia National Laboratories
  • SGI
  • Sun Microsystems
  • UCLA
  • University of Chicago
  • US Army Engineer Research and Development Center
  • USC ISI, Nimbis Services

Remember, this is a limited attendance conference. So make your registration and travel plans early.

All the important information can be found at hpcc-usa.org.

Hope to see you in Newport, Rhode Island for the 24th annual National High Performance Computing and Communications Conference.