October Workshop to Celebrate 20 Years of Beowulf

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Thomas Sterling

Thomas Sterling

The CREST Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies is hosting the 20 Years of Beowulf workshop in Annapolis on Oct. 13-14.

The workshop marks the anniversary of the introduction of commodity, or “Beowulf,” clusters, an architectural approach to creating parallel computers using commodity components and open source system software.

The initial target of the Beowulf cluster project was to develop inexpensive, smaller parallel computing platforms—to bring supercomputing to the masses. The approach was extremely successful and Beowulf/commodity clusters are being used worldwide across a diverse spectrum of uses from teams of high school students to some the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

In addition, the workshop will honor Thomas Sterling on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Professor Sterling is currently a professor of computer science in School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University and the associate director and chief scientist of CREST.

Sterling, who played a key role in developing and implementing commodity cluster computing while working at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), received the moniker “Father of Beowulf” for his role. He has made many other notable contributions to high performance computing in architecture, runtime systems, and exascale systems.

We have been fortunate as a community to have someone like Thomas who has been so energetically pushing the envelope in high-performance computing for so long. His work in exascale computing is more than just his latest work—it is built upon the pioneering foundation he established over the last three decades with projects like HTMT and of course, Beowulf. And I look forward to what is coming next,” said Professor of Computer Science and Director of CREST Andrew Lumsdaine, who is a 20 Years of Beowulf program committee member.

The list of distinguished speakers for the workshop includes: Paul Messina (Argonne National Laboratory), John Salmon (D. E. Shaw Research), Mark Seager (Intel), Don Becker (NVIDIA), Bill Gropp (University of Illinois), Dan Reed (University of Iowa), Jim Fischer (NASA Goddard), and Steve Wallach (Convey).

A special feature at the workshop on Monday afternoon will be a panel presentation, organized and moderated by Mike Bernhardt, former publisher of The Exascale Report and a Community Evangelist with Intel. This panel discussion will feature a number of long-time colleagues of Thomas Sterling as they explore “Why Beowulf Matters” and compete in a fast-paced trivia round titled, “So You Think You Know Thomas Sterling!”

The workshop is being held in cooperation with ACM SIGHPC.

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