PRACE looks back on successful Scientific Conference at ISC’12

On 17th June 2012, at the start of ISC’12, PRACE held its annual PRACE Scientific Conference (also known as PRACE Day) at the Radisson Blu in Hamburg, Germany. A line-up of 8 presentations of outstanding and award-winning scientists was complemented by keynote speeches by Kostas Glinos, Head of Unit “GÉANT & e‐Infrastructure”, European Commission and Maria Ramalho, Managing Director, PRACE aisbl and a session of the PRACE User Forum presided by its Chairman, Turlough Downes. The day was moderated by Richard Kenway, Chair of PRACE Scientific Steering Committee & Conference Chairman.

The PRACE Day proved a popular addition to ISC’12 with 230 registered participants. The event was held in conjunction with the ISC’12 Asia Day and gathered scientists from a wide range of disciplines as well as industry specialists, European Union officials and the press. Germany, the UK and the USA were the best represented among the 35 countries present.

This diverse audience was treated to in-depth presentations of research done by some of the first projects to receive major allocations of time on PRACE’s leading-edge supercomputers. From droplets in rainclouds to plasma fusion – the 6 presentations showcased the variety of research supported by supercomputing. Whether the aim is to understand how clouds participate in both warming and cooling the atmosphere; to promote inertial confinement fusion as the internal combustion engine of plasma fusion; or answering the questions surrounding turbulent entrainment (when does “large” become “large enough”?), each scientist underlined the need for powerful computing resources to enhance and speed up discovery within their field. The talks highlighted connections between disciplines, the impacts on society and the vital role of PRACE facilities in enabling their research, conveying the excitement and breadth of the research to everyone in the room.

The session of the PRACE User Forum provided valuable insights to the issues that users of supercomputers struggle with, such as the bandwidth to and from PRACE sites, access to data storage beyond the end of a time allocation period, and support for complex workflows. The aim of the User Forum is to provide a platform for users to share experiences and discuss with the service providers improvements to procedures and operations. With the participation of the audience this session of the PRACE User Forum saw animated discussions on problems and solutions, pointedly summarized by Richard Kenway: “It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, it just means somebody will have to pay.”

PRACE is already looking forward to the next Scientific Conference to be held at ISC’13 in Leipzig, Germany. For more information on the PRACE Scientific Conference 2012, please go to: http://www.prace-ri.eu/PRACE-Day-2012

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