Gaussian Elimination Squad wins Intel Parallel Universe Computing Challenge at SC13

The German team with the glorious name Gaussian Elimination Squad made the first rank in the Intel Parallel Universe Computing Challenge! Each round of the challenge consisted of two parts: the first was a trivia challenge with 20 questions about computing, computer history, programming languages, and the SC conference series; the second part was a coding challenge, which gave each team ten minutes to speed up a piece of code they had never seen before as much as possible. On top of it all, the audience could watch what the teams were doing on two giant screens. Georg Hager, our team caption, has a blog post with all the details.

The competition was really a lot of fun and a nice distraction from an otherwise pretty busy SC13. There is a short video capturing the atmosphere during the final competition and also a brief article on insideHPC.

The Gaussian Elimination Squad represented the German HPC community, with members from RWTH Aachen (Christian Terboven and Joachim Protze), Jülich Supercomputing Center (Damian Alvarez), ZIH Dresden (Michael Kluge and Guido Juckeland), TU Darmstadt (Christian Iwainsky), Leibniz Supercomputing Center (Michael Ott), and Erlangen Regional Computing Center (Gerhard Wellein and Georg Hager). As only four team members were allowed per match, I was lucky to play together with Gerhard and Georg in all rounds, but the others helped us by shouting advice and answers they thought were correct.


Revamped Web Presence

I am not a designer. Neither am I an artist. But I appreciate well-designed, simplistic websites. Hence I decided to completely migrate to, this is where you ended up now. The domain I own,, will soon point here, too. I transferred most of the content of my old homepage, my blog is staying here for quite a while already. I hope you like the new site as much as I do and that you will find here what you were searching for.

Recap of the 4th Meeting of the German Windows-HPC User Group

The 4th Meeting of the German Windows-HPC User Group took place on March 31st and April 1st in Karlsruhe, hosted by the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT). The event was attended by over 70 participants from Industry and Academia. This event has been sponsored by Bull, COMSOL, EMCL @ KIT, Intel, Microsoft and NVIDIA.

After a brief welcome address by the organizators (Wolfgang Dreyer from Microsoft and myself), Rudolf Lohner (KIT) gave an overview of the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC) at the KIT. He was followed by the keynote speak from Microsoft, given by Xavier Pillons (Microsoft Corporation) on Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 and Azure as well as Dryad/DryadLinq. We specifically asked for these two topics, and it turned out that Cloud Computing as well as Data-intensive Computing was the subject of many discussions during this event. After that, Axel Köhler (now NVIDIA) gave a glimpse into the current HPC developments at NVIDIA, including how a pure accelerator-driven supercomputer might look like. He was followed by Dagmar Kremer (BCC), who presented their solution for real-time super-computing on the desktop using Excel. This topic was also on the agendy by popular demand, and apparently the combination of the two keywords “Excel” and “HPC” makes many people interested. The first day was closed by Achim Streit (KIT), who gave his vision on HPC and the Cloud, outlining current projects around HPC as a Service (HPCaaS) for technical computing.

The evening event took place in the ZetKaeM restaurant, after touring the Media Museum, the world’s first and only museum for interactive art. We all experienced some funny exhibits :-). Such an evening event serves well the role of a user group – leading to discussions and thought exchange over a good glass of wine.

The second day started with a keynote address from Vincent Heuveline (KIT) on HPC and hardware-aware computing at the EMCL @ KIT. He was followed by Joachim Redmber (Bull), presenting the Bull way of Supercomputing. Representing a Windows-HPC user, Shiqing Fan (HLRS) outlined their work on implementing and integrating OpenMPI with Windows HPC environments, and apparently they can outperform Microsoft MPI in some benchmarks. Horst Schwichtenberg (Fraunhofer SCAI) gave an example of Excel HPC integration via WCF. As another user contribution, Stefan Truthähn and Martin Steinert (both hhpberlin Ingenieure für Brandschutz GmbH) gave a vivid talk on how they came to use Windows-HPC and HPC in general (more by accident than by master plan 😉 ) and how they see the future of their CFD computations on on-premise as well as Cloud HPC offerings. They were followed by Michael Klemm (Intel), giving an overview of Intel Technology for HPC on Windows. Henrik Nordborg (University of Applied Sciences in Rapperswil) from the Microsoft Technical Computing Innovation Center (MICTC) outlined where he sees an increasing demand for expertise in technical computing (and why) as well as he gave a report on the first activities of the MICTC. The second and final day of the meeting was closed by a talk given by Michael Wirtz and myself on our experience and setting for Windows-HPC for 1000+ users.

All in all, I think this meeting was successful and so far we got positive feedback from the attendees. We plan to have the next meeting our March or April 2012 at an yet-to-be-decided-on location.

Upcoming Events in March 2011

Let me point you to some HPC events in March 2011.

3rd Parallel Programming in Computational Engineering and Science (PPCES) Workshop. This event will continue the tradition of previous annual week-long events taking place in Aachen every spring since 2001, this year from March 21st to March 25th. This year, the agenda is – as always – a little different from the previous one. Beginning with a series of overview presentations on Monday afternoon, we are very happy to announce the upcoming RWTH Compute Cluster to be delivered by Bull. Throughout the week, we will cover serial and parallel programming using OpenMP and MPI in Fortran and C / C++ as well as performance tuning addressing both, Linux and Windows platforms. Due to the positive experience of last year, we are happy to present a renowned speaker to give an introduction into GPGPU architectures and programming on Friday: Michael Wolfe from PGI. All further information can be found at the event website:

4th Meeting of the German Windows-HPC User Group. The fourth meeting of the German Windows HPC User Group will take place in Karlsruhe on March 31st and April 1st, kindly hosted by the KIT. As in the previous years, we will learn about and discuss Microsoft’s current and future products, as well as users presenting their (good and not so good) experiences in doing HPC on Windows. This year, we will have an Expert Discussion Panel for which the audience is invited to ask (tough) question to fire up the discussion.

Upcoming Events in March 2010

Let me point you to some HPC events in March 2010.

Windows HPC Deep Dive Seminar. Right before the User Group Meeting (see next paragraph) there will be a Windows HPC Deep Dive Seminar, hosted by the Fraunhofer SCAI at Schloss Birlinghoven in Sankt Augustin, jointly organized by the Fraunhofer SCAI and RWTH Aachen and Microsoft. The first day (March 8th) will cover  an introduction into Windows HPC Server 2008 and a hands-on installation and configuration as well as advanced management and diagnostic tasks. The second day (March 9th) will focus on parallel programming on Windows, ranging from using the Microsoft and Intel compilers and performance tools to MPI performance analysis and system performance assessment. The third day (March 10th)  is all about Visual Studio 2010 and how to use this great tool for parallel programming on Windows, as well as some aspects of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2. All the talks will be given by speakers from Microsoft, Fraunhofer SCAI or RWTH Aachen. There are some attendance costs attached to this seminar, which include lunch and dinner.

3rd Meeting of the German Windows-HPC User Group. Following the Deep Dive Seminar (see previous paragraph) the third incarnation of the German Windows-HPC User Group Meeting will take place on March 11th + 12th at Schloss Birlinghoven in Sankt Augustin, kindly hosted by the Fraunhofer SCAI. As in the previous years, we got some experts from Microsoft to present about technical aspects of current and future products, as well as users presenting their (good and not so good) experiences in using Windows HPC Server 2008 and folks from industry explaining their solutions and products. From my point of view, the last two User Group Meetings were pretty successful and I really hope for many people showing up at this event. Attendance is free, of course.

2nd Parallel Programming in Computational Engineering and Science Workshop. Continuing the tradition of previous annual SunHPC events and last year’s PPCES, this year’s PPCES workshop will take place at RWTH Aachen University from March 22nd to 26th and cover parallel programming using OpenMP and MPI in Fortran and C/C++ on Linux and Windows platforms. This year we are going to include a half-day session on GPGPU programming as well. In general, we cover the basics of various programming paradigms, development environments and tools, performance analysis and tuning tools, as well as advanced parallel programming patterns and case studies, always providing enough time for the audience to try it themselves during the lab sessions. This course is intended for all audiences, the only prerequisite you should bring is basic programming skills in either Fortran, C or C++. You can register for all five days separately so that you can choose your favourite topics, of course you can stay for all five days as well. Besides speakers from our center we also got external speakers. All talks will be in English, the course is free for all audiences of course.

If you have any questions regarding any of these events, do not hesitate to contact me. Looking forward to see you there!

HPCS 2009 Workshop material: OpenMP + Visual Studio

As announced in a previous post already, I was involved in two workshops attached to the HPCS 2009, hosted by the HPCVL in Kinston, ON, Canada. Being back in the office now I found some time to upload my slide sets. Obviously I can only make my own slides public.

Using OpenMP 3.0 for Parallel Programming on Multicore Systems [abstract]

Ruud van der Pas, Sun Microsystems; Dieter an Mey and Christian Terboven, RWTH Aachen University.

Parallel Programming in Visual Studio 2008 on Windows HPC Server 2008 [abstract]

Christian Terboven, RWTH Aachen University.