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Technology Predictions for ISC 2018

In this special guest post, Dr. Rosemary Francis looks forward to the ISC 2018 conference, which starts next week in Frankfurt, Germany.

Rosemary Francis, CEO of Ellexus

ISC has rolled around the calendar again, but will it be as successful as previous years? There’s no doubt that we will see some lavish booths, along with some pared down ones, but it will be interesting to see how footfall tallies this year. Last year, some people thought footfall was down, but speaking to our industry contacts we expect people to have agendas full of meetings.

As our team prepares for the event, here’s the Ellexus take on what we expect to hear as we stroll around the tradeshow floor.

AI, AI everywhere

It’s been the case for some time, but there’s no doubt AI will continue to be a topic of conversation at ISC. As more sectors get involved in AI, from healthcare to finance, more and more will turn to HPC in order to handle their data, highlighted by the increasing number of AI and HPC joint research projects.

Intel has already released a sneak peek of its AI strategy, which outline how it plans to help developers, data scientists and HPC engineers to access the compute power they need. The keynote from Dr. Raj Hazra, Corporate Vice President at Intel, will discuss just that. It will be interesting to hear how Intel plans to target the AI audience, touting its abilities to improve system performance.

Machine learning

Leading on from AI, machine learning is already providing new opportunities for organizations involved in HPC to get involved in a new, fast-growing market. We expect many booths to carry headlines detailing their involvement, boosted by the new Machine Learning Day that is being held. Could this be the year that we discover some machine learning technology that will finally disrupt the HPC space?
At Ellexus we’re particularly interested in how HPC architectures can scale within this sector. Does the software exist to allow users to gain the performance they need from their hardware? If not, we will witness some particularly painful cluster performances issues. Hopefully the Machine Learning Day will detail some useful case studies, although it’s still early days for machine learning on HPC systems.

Gathering clouds

In the last 12 months we’ve been having interesting conversations with organizations who are not only talking about cloud migration, but are actively starting to move towards it at scale. This is likely to be reflected at ISC – there’s been years of talk about the opportunities cloud HPC systems can bring, so the time has come to do something about it.

This is likely to produce more public HPC centres in the future, as well as more opportunities for smaller organizations to access HPC on the cloud without going to the likes of AWS and Microsoft Azure. More and more SMEs need to access fast compute, which has previously been prohibitively expensive. A number of programs to help them will be outlined during the Industrial Day.

The patter of petaflop feet

We recently saw the launch of Summit, the first 200 petaflop system – who will unveil the next giant machine? The race for exascale will certainly to continue to be a topic at ISC and we will be asking the vendors how their plans are progressing.

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