Intel HPC Developer Conference and SC17: Supercomputing Matters More Than Ever

More than ever, developments in high performance computing are affecting the entire computer science field and touching every facet of our lives.

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More than ever, developments in high performance computing are affecting the entire computer science field and touching every facet of our lives. Whether or not you’re going to the annual Supercomputing Conference (November 12-17), it’s worth keeping an eye on the stories that come from this important conference. The technology announcements you’ll read about could even take us toward a world without disease.

 SC17 will be packed with talks, of course, including the keynote, which will focus on what is to become the world’s largest science project (displacing the Large Hadron Collider): The Square Kilometer Array project—an enormous multinational radio telescope project to probe deeper and more accurately into our universe.

 If you’re going to SC17, I encourage you to see if you can still get a free spot to attend Intel’s HPC Developer Conference, which is an interesting pre-SC17 technical conference. (Personal note: I’ll be co-teaching a tutorial at SC17 and moderating a panel at the Intel HPC Developer Conference.)

Supercomputing matters more than ever

 Thanks to the massive capabilities of today’s supercomputers, scientists and engineers are making breakthroughs at a record pace in areas that are reshaping our world. In my opinion, medical advances may be their most profound contribution. It involves a move to “precision medicine” or “personal medicine.” We can now seek solutions tailored for a particular patient rather than relying on broad applicability as the key requirement for treatment.  It wasn’t that we weren’t always trying to match the needs of each patient; it simply wasn’t possible the way it is today.

 Can we end disease?

 We are now at the point where some are even starting to talk about “the end of disease.” Yes, it’s an audacious thing to speak of—but it may not be as far off as you’d guess. For instance, the European-based Human Brain Project (HBP) is creating detailed and accurate brain models. In time, this project hopes to make major advances in fighting brain cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological disorders.

 I recently attended a talk by Dr. Leroy Hood at the Future in Review (FiRe) conference, titled “The End of Disease: Solving the Healthcare Crisis.” (A short review of his talk is here).  Dr. Hood talked about a world without chronic diseases, which consume the vast majority of healthcare spending. Eliminating chronic diseases seems like a healthcare plan we can all believe in, a real triumph of technology.

HPC matters to us all

There are a huge number of ways that supercomputing is touching our lives other than medicine. More than ever, tuning into the supercomputing community to learn how to harness computing for your own needs is vital. I hope you can find a way to tune in yourself. Below are a few links to help get you started.


The tutorial I’m co-teaching this year on Monday at SC17: Expressing Heterogeneous Parallelism in C++ with Intel Threading Building Blocks

Download your free copy of Intel® Parallel Studio XE here