Latin America Jumps into the Parallel Universe Computing Challenge

Mike Bernhardt is the Community Evangelist for Intel’s Technical Computing Group

At our inaugural Parallel Universe Computing Challenge (PUCC) at SC13, we had no representatives from Latin America. That’s changed for the 2014 PUCC with the proposed participation of a team representing supercomputing interests in Brazil, Columbia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela.

Several of the team members are from the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) in Bucaramanga, Colombia. UIS, a research university, is the home of the Super Computing and Scientific Computing lab that also provides HPC training for Latin American and Caribbean countries—which is why they were able to garner additional team members from universities in other countries.

The lab’s research is focused on such science and applied science areas as bioinformatics and computational chemistry, materials and corrosion, condensed matter physics, astronomy and astrophysics; and on computer science areas including visualization and cloud computing, modeling and simulation, scheduling and optimization, concurrency and parallelism, and energy-aware advanced computing.

We talked with team captain Gilberto Díaz, Infrastructure chief of the supercomputer center at UIS, about the team he was assembling.

Q: Why did the team from Latin America decide to participate in the PUCC?
A: We would like to promote and develop more widespread awareness and use of HPC in our region. In addition to the excitement of participating in the 2014 event, our participation will help us to prepare students of master and PhD programs to better understand the importance of code modernization as well as preparing them to compete in future competitions.

Q: How will your team prepare for the Intel PUCC?
A: All of us work in HPC and participate in scientific projects where we have the opportunity to develop our skills.

Q: What are the most prevalent high performance computing applications in which your team members are involved?
A: We are developers, therefore, we are most familiar with programming languages than specific applications (MPI, CUDA, OpenMP).

Q: SC14 is using the theme “HPC Matters” for the conference. Can you explain why “HPC Matters” to you?
A: HPC is a fundamental tool to face some challenging problems and solving them will represent a significant advance for humanity, for example, new drug development for disease treatment, high tech components for cars, planes, etc., weather simulations to understand how we are affecting the climate of the world, etc.

Q: What is the significance of your team name (“SC3”)?
A: Super Computing and Scientific Computing in Spanish is Super Computación y Calculo Cientifico, which is the name of the lab at the Universidad Industrial de Santander.

Q: Who are your team members?
A: We have six people in addition to myself so far:

  • Robinson Rivas, Professor at Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) and director of the supercomputer center of UCV in Caracas
  • Carlos Barrios, Professor at Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) and director of the supercomputer center of UIS
  • Pedro Velho, Professor at Universidad Federal de Rio Grande del Sur in Porto Alegre, Brazil
  • Alvaro de la Ossa, Professor at Universidad de Costa Rica in San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Jesus Verduzco, Professor at Instituto Politécnico de Colima in Colima, Mexico
  • Monica Hernandez, System Engineer and student in Master program at UIS

Learn more about the PUCC at SC14.

(Left to Right) Pedro Velho, Carlos Barrios, Robinson Rivas, Gilberto Díaz

Jesus Verduzco