Green HPC Podcast Episode 6: Green technologies of the future

Green HPC Podcast Episode 6: Green technologies of the future

Throughout this series we’ve talked about the motivations, goals, and approaches that leading edge supercomputing centers are taking today to improve the energy efficiency of the work they do. But if we are to really transform our approach to energy use in the context of supercomputing, we will need a dramatically expanded toolbox of techniques and technologies. In this episode we talk with the companies and centers at the forefront of research that will create the green technologies of the future.

Learn more about the series.

We are proud to have this episode sponsored by Cray Inc.

Listen to Episode 6: Green technologies of the future [audio:]

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There is a lot of activity — and a lot of hype! — today around the ways in which vendors and large supercomputing centers are trying to reduce their power usage while still getting useful work done. But there is only so much you can do adapting today’s technology, and to truly transform our approach to energy use in HPC we will need new technologies for operations and instrumentation, control system software, operating systems, job schedulers, computational algorithms, chip design, networking, and in many other areas.

In this episode we talk with companies and supercomputing centers at the forefront of thinking today about the new technologies we’ll need tomorrow. In our conversations we touch on the full spectrum of green technologies, from “bits to buildings” as Horst Simon says. On the buildings side of the spectrum we talk with our guests about local power generation and integrated approaches to work scheduling that incorporate knowledge and power rates and datacenter hot spots, integrated monitoring, and allocating user time in kW-hours instead of CPU hours. On the bits side we talk about evolutions of today’s processor architecture, the likelihood of a return to custom processors for HPC, and technologies for the rest of the computer that will provide us both the opportunity — and the challenge — to completely rethink the way we structure algorithms.

This is the final episode of the Green HPC podcast series, and in it we look at what the future may hold.

Listen to Episode 6: Green technologies of the future [audio:]

Download Episode 6

Guest Bios and Links

Pat Tiernan, Climate Savers Computing Initiative

Pat TiernanStarted by Google and Intel in 2007, the Climate Savers Computing Initiative is a nonprofit group of eco-conscious consumers, businesses and conservation organizations. The Initiative was started in the spirit of WWF’s Climate Savers program which has mobilized over a dozen companies since 1999 to cut carbon dioxide emissions, demonstrating that reducing emissions is good business.

Pat Tiernan is CSCI’s Executive Director. Before joining Climate Savers Computing, Pat Tiernan served on the Initiative’s board of directors as a representative of HP. At HP, Pat Tiernan was the vice president of Social and Environmental Responsibility, running the company’s sustainability programs. He joined HP in 1995 and has held a number of senior management positions in sales, marketing, product development/R&D and operations. Prior to joining HP, he helped launch a successful networking and software company and managed a global device business with an industrial technologies company where he developed and launched new products for automotive emissions compliance, patient monitoring and other commercial and consumer products. Pat Tiernan holds a Masters in Science from California State Polytechnic University.


Horst Simon, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

Horst SimonHorst Simon is Associate Laboratory Director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for Computing Sciences and the Division Director for the Computational Research Division and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests are in the development of sparse matrix algorithms, algorithms for large-scale eigenvalue problems, and domain decomposition algorithms. His recursive spectral bisection algorithm is a breakthrough in parallel algorithms. He was also honored with the 1988 Gordon Bell Prize. He has served as a senior manager for Silicon Graphics, the Computer Sciences Corporation, Boeing Computer Services, and has been a member of the faculty at the State University of New York. He is currently a member of the advisory boards of more than five research organizations located throughout the world and is a member of many journal editorial boards and one of four editors of the twice-yearly “TOP500” list of the world’s most powerful computing systems.


Steve Cumings, HP

Steve CumingsSteve Cumings leads an HP team focused on data center infrastructure solutions. His responsibilities include defining and managing portfolios for data center energy and infrastructure, and introducing new solutions to the market – the most recent of these is the HP POD, HP’s flexible and highly capable datacenter container. Steve’s focus is on solutions that expand HP’s datacenter portfolio, supporting customers’ needs for increased data center energy performance.

In twelve years with HP Steve has led multiple product and business activities across HP’s Industry Standard Server division, and has been involved in key initiatives ranging from large-scale x86 platforms to the HP/Compaq merger team. He also speaks and leads sessions at industry events, including in the recent past Gartner Datacenter, HP’s TechForum, CIAB (Brazil) and Emerson DCUG.

Ed Turkel, HP

Ed TurkelEd Turkel manages the business development team for the Scalable Computing and Infrastructure organization (SCI) at HP. SCI provides leadership for the next generation of scale-out computing, storage and data center infrastructure for high-performance computing, Web 2.0 and cloud computing.

His team is responsible for driving HP’s business across the HPC, Web 2.0 and data center infrastructure markets. Turkel has more than 30 years of experience in scalable computing, including more than 25 years with HP in various technical, marketing and business roles.


Pete Beckman, Argonne National Lab

Pete BeckmanPete Beckman is a recognized global expert in high-end computing systems. During the past 20 years, he has designed and built software and architectures for large-scale parallel and distributed computing systems. Pete joined Argonne National Laboratory in 2002, as Director of Engineering, and later as Chief Architect for the TeraGrid, where he designed and deployed the world’s most powerful Grid computing system for linking production HPC computing centers for the National Science Foundation. In 2008 he became the Director for the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, which is home to one of the world’s fastest and most energy efficient supercomputers for open science. He also leads Argonne’s exascale computing strategic initiative and explores system software and programming models for exascale computing.

Steve Scott, Cray

Steve ScottSteve Scott is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Cray Inc., where has been since receiving his PhD in computer architecture from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1992. Steve was the Chief Architect of multiple systems at Cray, architected the routers for the Cray XT line and follow-on systems, and is leading the Cray Cascade project funded by the DARPA High Productivity Computing Systems program. Steve holds over twenty US patents, and has served on numerous program committes. He was the 2005 recipient of the ACM Maurice Wilkes Award and the IEEE Seymour Cray Computer Engineering Award.

Daniel A. Reed, Microsoft Research

Dan ReedDan Reed is Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the eXtreme Computing Group (XCG), which conducts for R&D on parallel and extreme scale computing. XCG was formed with the goal of developing radical new approaches to ultrascale and high-performance computing hardware and software. The group’s research activities include work in computer security, cryptography, operating system design, parallel programming models, cloud software, data center architectures, specialty hardware accelerators and quantum computing. Dr. Reed has served as a member of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and as a member of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC). On PCAST, he co-chaired the Networking and Information Technology subcommittee and co-authored a report on the National Coordination Office’s Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) program called “Leadership Under Challenge: Information Technology R&D in Competitive World.”