Interview: Hot Interconnects Conference to Prime Discussion on Future Datacenters

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We’re seeing increasing emphasis in this space on high performance networks. It seems like large warehouse datacenters are popping up like mushrooms and current networking technologies can barely keep up with their size. More than ever, networks are the focal point of the datacenter.

With these trends in mind, SDN, NFV, Congestion Control, High-Radix Topologies, Cloud networking, and high-bandwidth networks are the central topics of this year’s Hot Interconnects (HOTI) coming up on August 21-23. This year, it’s being held at the industry hub of network action: the Cisco headquarters in San Jose, CA. To learn more, I caught up with Torsten Hoefler, General Co-Chair of HOTI together with Madeleine Glick and Fabrizio Petrini about the highlights of this year’s conference.

insideHPC: How would you describe the role of Hot Interconnects in our community?

Torsten Hoefler: Hot Interconnects has a long tradition of connecting the worlds of large-scale high-performance and datacenter networking. This connection becomes more important since datacenters and high-performance computers look increasingly similar. Many Big Data applications (e.g., common analytics implemented in MapReduce) have very similar requirements from a network perspective than scientific computing has. Key properties are high bisection bandwidth and high-bandwidth endpoint connections to drive big multicore nodes. In this sense, the network becomes a unifying element and HOTI is the venue where related technical insights happen.

insideHPC: I see, who are the folks that typically attend Hot Interconnects?

Torsten Hoefler: There is no “typical” attendee. The conference traditionally has a wide mix of industry, industry research, and academia. This allows all classes to mingle efficiently. Academics like myself learn about new practical technologies and industry trends while attendees from industry learn about new discoveries and scavenge ideas during the talks. The program reflects this nicely, we have paper presenters from well-known universities such as UCSD and University of Washington as well as industry talks from Facebook, Google, and Tilera.

insideHPC: Talking about the program, what are this year’s highlights?

Torsten Hoefler: We have true superstars in networking research: Ahmin Vahdat, a Principal Engineer at Google and Professor at UCSD, will report on Google’s software-defined data center network and Tom Anderson, a Professor at the University of Washington, will tell us about his vision for networking as a service. George Papen, a Professor at UCSD, will discuss how to mix optics and electronics in datacenter networking. Two industry talks by Isieme Networks and Cisco Systems will provide insights into newest developments.

insideHPC: What are the other important events?

Torsten Hoefler: Tom Anderson will receive the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award. The award ceremony will feature IEEE President-elect Roberto de Marca to present the award. At the following cocktail reception, you will be able to talk to both, Tom and Roberto.

insideHPC: How will the technical program be?

Torsten Hoefler: Our two program co-chairs, Cyriel Minkenberg and Sudipta Sengupta, did a great job in this year’s program selection. Since HOTI is a single-track event, the program is rather selective. We accepted a total of nine full papers forming three sessions in the program. We also have a new short papers session with five short talks for quick and efficient dissemination of ideas. Last, but not least, our evening panel on data center congestion control will contrast different views in vehement arguments. This year’s tutorials focusing around Big Data Networking, SDN, Optics, and Congestion Control provide attendees with the unique opportunity to build long-lasting and profitable knowledge in any of these areas. Again, we are looking forward to a very strong conference this year!

insideHPC: Great! How can I attend?

Torsten Hoefler: You should check out as soon as possible! The conference will take place from August 21-23 in San Jose, CA. You can save up to $200 if you register until August 10th! But even after that, late and on-site registration will be available for late deciders. The full program is now available. See you all in San Jose!