Video: Bill Harrod Accepts HPC Vanguard Award at SC14

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In this video, Bill Harrod from the Department of Energy accepts the HPC Vanguard Award from Rich Brueckner and Thomas Sterling at SC14.

Launched by The Exascale Report in 2013, the HPC Vanguard Award recognizes critical leaders in the HPC community’s strategic push to achieve exascale levels of supercomputing performance.

The 2014 HPC Vanguard Award was created by Portland Artist Gunnar Adamovics.

The HPC Vanguard Award was created by Portland Artist Gunnar Adamovics.

As you may recall, Thomas Sterling was the recipient of the 2013 HPC Vanguard Award.

Exascale computing, which refers to the ability to perform a quintillion calculations per second, has become a global race in which the United States, China, Japan, India and other nations are seeking to achieve the ambitious milestone by the end of the decade. Exascale computing is widely viewed as a critical strategic capability supporting many initiatives and applications such as national security, energy exploration, economic innovation and medical discovery and treatment.

Full Transcript:

Rich Brueckner: Hi, I am Rich with insideHPC. We’re here at SC14 in New Orleans, and I’m here with Thomas Sterling and Bill Harrod to present a very special award to you, Bill. It’s the HPC Vanguard Award, and last year, Thomas, you were the winner of the first one. But by overwhelming odds or numbers, anyway, your peers selected you to be the next one that is leading us, leading the charge for U.S. supercomputing at DOE. I just want to congratulate you.

Bill Harrod: Thank you. I’m very honored to receive this award, I assure you. As one of the leaders of the DOE exascale effort, it fills me full of a lot of pride because it’s a very important program for our nation. There’s no one person leading the effort. This involves a lot of people, of course, but I am helping setting the strategy and the future plans for it.

Rich Brueckner: Bill, I see you as a guy who is behind the scenes of DOE. I have never met you even though I’ve been in this industry for 25 years. But here the first guy that witnessed, Thomas Sterling, one of the inventors of Beowulf, he’s an academic. So this year, it’s government. Thomas, what was it like for you to be that first one?

Thomas Sterling: I was completely shocked, a complete surprise. I was honored to be considered among the finalists. I thought that was a tremendous accolade to even be considered among the list of, frankly, highly qualified people. So, this is a very important award because it’s focused on a particular class of accomplishment that is not simply looking backwards, but looking forwards. There is no other award like this, and there is no question that Bill Harrod, today deserves and is justified. Let me just say, this work, the leadership that Bill has shown predates his contributions from Department of Energy. He’s been working towards his goal for years at DARPA, and built from the ground up a community within the U.S. of academics and industry, and government participants to explore some of the areas. This is a long and hard-earned accomplishment on our part. Frankly, the nation is better for his leadership throughout this. I am delighted to be succeeded. I am just wondering who will be our next recipient – probably God [laughter]. Bill, I personally want to congratulate you, and I was delighted to learn that you were the second recipient of this award.

Bill Harrod: Thank you, Thomas.

Rich Brueckner: Let’s do the handshake thing for the cameras. Thanks. That’s it from insideHPC at SC14. We’ll see you next time.

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