Jeff Hollingsworth on the 25th Anniversary of the SC Conference

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With the 25th anniversary of the SC conference coming around the corner, we caught up with SC12 General Chair Jeff Hollingsworth from the University of Maryland to get his impressions on the history of Supercomputing.

insideHPC: What is your fondest memory of the SC conferences?

HollingsworthWebHeadJeff Hollingsworth: My fondest SC memory is my first SC paper presentation in 1992. I was a graduate student and excited to give a talk to a big audience. They had told us we would have two overhead projectors so my talk was prepared with slides that need to be moved from one projector to another at specific points. I get to the room for the talk and find the two projectors were in opposite corners about 75 feet apart. I am panicked about how I can give my talk while running back and forth. Eventually I get a “volunteer” to move the slides between projectors for me at the correct times. Years later I realize the experience was a great lesson about HPC, the hardest part is getting the data to move to the right spot when needed!

insideHPC: How do you think the conference has changed over the years?”

Jeff Hollingsworth: The competition for time slots both for presentations and individual meetings has gotten incredible. The selectivity of even informal activities such as BOFs and posters can be tougher than many conferences technical papers. On an individual level, I find I now schedule my time in 10 minute slots and almost all those slots are full a couple of weeks before SC starts.

insideHPC: How important is the SC conference to the global HPC community?”

Jeff Hollingsworth: I am always amazed how many people come to SC from around the world. Frequently the best new ideas (as seen in awards from Gordon Bell to Best Paper) are from around the world too. HPC is truly and international field and SC is the best place to see it all.

insideHPC: Which conference or year was your favorite – and why?”

Jeff Hollingsworth: It was SC12 since I was general chair. It was like hosting the biggest most expensive party I have ever thrown. By the end I was twice as exhausted as a normal year, but didn’t want it to end.

You can find more reflections on the SC 25th anniversary in the Print ‘n Fly Guide to SC13 in Denver. Be sure to download your copy for more HPC stories and pointers to the best restaurants and bars in Denver.