Discover Your Parallel Universe

That’s Intel’s theme at SC’13 this week at the 25th anniversary of the Supercomputing Conference. We’re using it to emphasize the importance of modernizing codes and algorithms to take advantage of modern processors (think lots of cores and threads and wide vector units found in Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors). Or simply put, “going parallel” as we like to call it. We have a fantastic publication called Parallel Universe Magazine for more on the software and hardware side of going parallel.

But we’re also using it as inspiration for the researchers, scientists, and engineers that are changing the world every day. We’re asking them to envision the universe we’ll live in if the supercomputing community goes parallel. A few examples:

  1. In a parallel universe there is a cure
  2. In a parallel universe natural disasters are predicted
  3. In a parallel universe ideas become reality

Pretty lofty huh? But also inevitable. We will find a 100% cure to all forms of cancer according to the National Cancer Institute. We will be able to predict the weather 28-days in advance according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. And everyone will eventually use computing to turn their ideas into products.

The only problem is it’ll be the year 2190 before we have a cure to pancreatic cancer, we’ll need 1000x more compute (Exascale) than we have today to predict the weather 28-days in advance, and the cost and learning curve of technical computing will need to continue to drop before everyone has access.

That’s our work here at Intel. We solve these problems. We drive more performance at lower cost which gives people more compute. The more compute, the better cancer researchers will understand the disease. We’ll shift that 2190 timeline left. We’ll also solve the challenges to reaching Exascale levels of compute which will make weather forecast more accurate. And we’ll continue to drive open standards. This will create a broad ecosystem of hardware and software partners which drives access on a broad scale.

But for continue our work, we need the community and we need them to go parallel. The choices they make will decide which of the possible universes we occupy and when. Will we choose to go parallel and realize these lofty dreams? Intel will. And we’re going to use this week to demonstrate it:

  1. We’re going to demonstrate the potential of going parallel by having the #400 supercomputer on the TOP500 list live on the show floor running high-fidelity visualizations of cellular membranes from the Texas Advanced Computing Center. This is helping them advance cancer research.
  2. We’re going to have a fun competition called the Intel Parallel Universe Computing Challenge where software engineers from the US, Germany, China, and Korea will modernize code live on stage. And play for a worthy cause – a $25,000 donation to the Red Cross Philippines disaster relief fund.
  3. Most important, we’re going to list listen. We going to listen to the engineers, researchers, and scientists’ aspirations and we’re going to listen to the challenge they face in getting there. And then we’re going to ask them how we can get to the ideal parallel universe we envision together.

For more on what we’re doing at SC’13, see our landing site.