Welcome to the post-ISC’11 issue of The Exascale Report

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ISC’11 attendees: the great migration

In the weeks leading up to ISC, old colleagues re-establish communications, vendors reach out to partners and prospects to arrange meetings, and reporters and publishers scurry to line up their interviews and briefings. And there is one thing in common with most of this activity: the preferred place for all of these ISC attendees to meet on the first evening. The ‘watering hole’ as it is affectionately called, is the bar at the Radisson Blu hotel next to the convention center in Hamburg.As I was sitting at the watering hole on the opening evening of the conference, an image came to mind. The hundreds of folks gathering at this one spot, with looks of excitement and relief at having made the journey, draws a strong comparison to another annual event – the great migration of the Serengeti.

The Serengeti migration is an annual occurrence in which more than two million wildebeest migrate clockwise around the Serengeti in search of better grazing and calving conditions. So, we use the analogy loosely, of course, and it breaks down if you get too literal, but you have to admit – there is a wonderful sense of parallelism in the two migration stories.

In the case of the wildebeest, there is no real beginning or end to the migration. The wildebeest lives its life constantly searching for food and water – to survive. And it can be said of many of the ISC attendees that their careers are also an endless search. They travel on a continual journey to satisfy an insatiable appetite for technology and understanding, knowledge and insight, with the annual ISC event serving as an oasis that helps them better deal with the frustrations and challenges – giving new hope and the strength to continue on the journey.

For one week, all sorts of creatures hang out together. Some are friends. Some are distant colleagues. And some, who would typically never consider sharing their watering hole, tone down their competitive spirits and display an attitude of friendly survival. Let’s all have a drink – together. We’ve all made the journey. There is plenty for everyone.

Well, ISC is behind us – the herd has moved on and the migration continues. Next stop: Seattle, Washington. We’ve tried to capture some elements of ISC that give you a glimpse deep within the herd – a perspective that shows the nature of competing for survival in HPC. The cooperation around the watering hole is a truce that lasts only as long as both sides need it to survive. Beyond that – when dinner time rolls around – you never know who might be on the menu.

We hope you enjoy this special post-ISC issue of The Exascale Report.

For related stories, visit The Exascale Report Archives.


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