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Interview: Gilad Shainer on Growing Your Business with HPC

Interview: Gilad Shainer
On growing your business and the HPC Advisory Council’s New Center for Excellence

The HPC Advisory Council is a relatively new organization in the world of supercomputing, but it already has over 170 member institutions. I caught up with Council Chairman Gilad Shainer to talk about why the Council has grown so quickly and what it offers to the HPC community at large.

insideHPC: What prompted you to form the HPC Advisory Council?

Gilad Shainer: At Mellanox we had years of experience of helping users and vendors in different areas of the high performance computing market. We would talk to smaller companies about how they could get started with parallel computing on HPC clusters and on the same day we show more experienced users how to extend their HPC capabilities in the future.

Early in 2008, it became clear to us that there was a big knowledge gap in the HPC community that could benefit from an organization that could provide how-to guidelines, best practices, and testing resources. So we formed the HPC Advisory Council to bridge the gap between knowledge and technology.

insideHPC: Why do you think the organization has grown so quickly?

Gilad Shainer: We have about 170 members now, and I think our growth has demonstrated that there is a real need here and that the Council is delivering valuable resources to the community. There are numerous HPC organizations that meet and discuss issues, but we focus our efforts on sharing knowledge that people can apply in a practical way.

insideHPC: Besides publishing Best Practices, what other kinds of initiatives do you have going?

Gilad Shainer: One of the important things we’ve done is establish Regional Centers of Excellence where to broaden the scope and mission of the Council’s programs throughout the world. These COEs provide local support for the Council’s programs, local workshops and conferences. We just announced a new Center of Excellence in Switzerland and we have more in the works.

We’ve also set up a University Awards Program for advanced research in HPC. Twice a year, the HPC Advisory Council will select worthy proposals allowing winners to benefit from a range of the council’s resources and events, including the opportunity to present their final research results to a wider audience. Winners will receive machine time at our High Performance Center and we’ll publish their research on our site. The first award will be announced at SC10.

insideHPC: I understand you have some events coming up during SC10.

Gilad Shainer: A great many actually. First, we do a number of 1 to 3-day technical and training workshops throughout the world. This year we have performed workshops in Switzerland, Germany, Ukraine, and the USA. In fact, we just completed our second workshop in China where we had over 300 attendees, and we are currently ramping up for our UK workshop in December. We are seeing great demand for the Council’s technical workshops and we are getting a great number of requests to hold similar workshops in India and Australia in 2011. So, 2011 will certainly be busy with 7 or more international workshops being planned for the year.

In addition, one of the important things we’ve done is establish Regional Centers of Excellence where to broaden the scope and mission of the Council’s programs throughout the world. These COEs provide local support for the Council’s programs, local workshops and conferences. We just announced a new Center of Excellence in Switzerland and we have more in the works.

We’ve also set up a University Awards Program for advanced research in HPC. Twice a year, the HPC Advisory Council will select worthy proposals allowing winners to benefit from a range of the council’s resources and events, including the opportunity to present their final research results to a wider audience. Winners will receive machine time at our High Performance Center and we’ll publish their research on our site. The first award will be announced at SC10. So as you can see, we are very active in a wide variety of training and educational outreach.

We will also have a booth at SC10, so visit us at the HPC Advisory Council exhibit #4123. Stop by and say hello and we’ll get you registered for the Wednesday night reception.

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