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SHARCNET/C3 Fall Workshop

McMaster University, October 22-25, 2002

Workshop contact: James Wadsley
Online registration . List of participants

This workshop is a SHARCNET-wide event primarily targetted at academic researchers in Ontario. Talks will be held on Days 1 and 4 with no fees or limits on places for academic attendees. Days 2 and 3 will consist of an intensive course run by Hewlett-Packard on using the Alpha hardware and standard (parallel) programming tools. There will be a $200 fee for this portion and a limited number of places.

We will be providing financial assistance with registration, travel and accomodation costs to students. We estimate the amount will start at $50-$100 per student. Exact details and amounts will be determined when we know the level of demand.

This workshop is being sponsored by SHARCNET and is an umbrella organisation representing the High Performance computing (HPC) interests of Canadian researchers, universities and vendors. It sponsors workshops across Canada, funds HPC support activity and is currently in the process of developing a Long Range Plan for Canadian HPC. For other sponsored workshops, please see .


Day 1, Tuesday Oct 22

Morning Session

Welcome, Introduction to SHARCNET James Wadsley, SHARCNET

This talk will give an overview of the SHARCNET facilities and support, including hardware, personnel and funding. We will describe how to access the hardware, including the new serial farm at McMaster. SHARCNET has HPC (High Performance Computing) Consultants to help researchers develop new HPC applications and parallelize existing codes. SHARCNET's research support includes faculty teaching buy-outs, research visitors, post-docs, graduate and summer students. Some HPC Research Highlights will be presented and future plans discussed (eg. new CFI applications).

Parallel Computing Overview Ken Tan, SHARCNET

This talk will introduce users to parallel programming. It will cover reasons to parallelize (eg. speed, memory limitations) and help users assess which techniques (eg. OpenMP or MPI) and machines (eg. Shared Memory, High Bandwidth Clusters, Beowulf Clusters) are best suited to their applications. Measures of efficiency of parallel codes and the limitations of parallel computing will be discussed. Basic familiarity with Unix and Fortran and/or C will be assumed.

Afternoon Session

Programming with OpenMP James Wadsley, SHARCNET

This talk will introduce compiler directive based parallel programming. On the HP AlphaServer SC system, OpenMP is a relatively easy way to exploit shared memory architectures (eg. ES40 nodes of Idra (4 processors) and the 16-way SMP machine,Typhon). With this approach work is divided among a team of light weight threads that run simultaneously on the same or nearby data. The types of code that are suited to OpenMP are discussed, including potential gains and limitations. Basic OpenMP constructs are described with short code examples. Basic familiarity with Unix and Fortran and/or C will be assumed.

Programming with MPI Baolai Ge, SHARCNET

The talk with introduce Message Passing as a method for parallelism on distributed memory architectures (clusters) that also works for shared memory. Basic components of the MPI (Message Passsing Interface) api will be covered, including the basic atom send/receive and collective data movement operations. Explicit data distribution and movement (ie. Domain Decomposition) and work division (ie. Load Balancing) will be discussed. Basic familiarity with Unix and Fortran and/or C will be assumed.

Day 2, Wednesday Oct 23

Programming the HP Alphaserver SC Supercomputer, I HP

Day 3, Thursday Oct 24

Programming the HP AlphaServer SC Supercomputer, II HP

Days 2 and 3 are a hands on introduction to the HP AlphaServer SC Supercomputer. The objective of this session is to teach users how to program HP's AlphaServer SC systems using instructor lead lectures and hands-on workshops. An intensive overview of the HPTC environment for AlphaServer SC ystems is provided for technical users. The course will explain and demonstrate how to develop and optimize applications for performance and exploit the power of AlphaServer SC systems. Topics and examples will include compiling MPI message-passing codes, executing those cdes with batch and cluster management software, debugging those codes with the Etnus TotalView debugger and tuning those codes the Pallas VAMPIR event-analyser. SHARCNET is installing these tools on all the SHARCNET clusters, not just those running Tru64 unix. Most of the information and techniques covered by this course will be just as useful for people working with Alpha linux.

Day 4, Friday Oct 25

Globus Unleashed: Platform's Commercial Support of the Globus Toolkit(TM) Ian Lumb, Platform Computing Inc.

Morning Session

Platform Globus is the industry's first commercially supported distribution of the Globus Toolkit. By way of analogy with Linux distribution providers and the Linux kernel, Platform Globus represents the redhatted version of the `grid kernel' based on the Globus Toolkit. By focusing on pre-built distributions, documentation, support, training and professional services, plus enhanced interoperability with Platform LSF, Platform Globus remains consistent with the vision and mandate of the Globus Project. This presentation provides an introduction to Platform Globus, and updates on several projects that are currently underway.

Globus Testbed: Running non-trivial applications over the Grid. , Dr. Gabriel Mateescu, NRC

Afternoon session

Gabriel Mateescu has been responsible for the deployment and customization of middleware for cluster and grid computing. He has extended the Portable Batch System (PBS), a cluster scheduling sys-tem, to support a flexible scheduling strategy suitable for dynamic workloads. He has deployed Globus to several sites across Canada, from Fredericton NB, to Montreal, to Ottawa, and has built several extensions to Globus, from adding new information providers to parallel job submission tools. In addition, Gabriel has contributed to the construction of several Beowulf clusters and has designed and implemented new algorithms for load balancing and collective communication for parallel and distributed applications. Dr. Mateescu will describe his experiences and outline of the steps necessary for users to port their applications to the Globus framework.


Dr. James Wadsley is an HPC Consultant and Researcher with SHARCNET at McMaster University. His interests include massively parallel computation, computational fluid dynamics and astrophysics. He holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Toronto. He is a co-author of the parallel comsology gas/N-body code gasoline.

Dr. Kenneth Tan is an HPC Consultant with SHARCNET at the University of Guelph. His expertise is in the areas of computational linear algebra, parallel stochastic simulation, computational number theory, and high performance computing. He is the inventor of the PLFG parallel random number generator, now part of the OptimaNumerics Parallel Random Number Generator Library marketed by Heuchera Technologies, as well as a number of randomized linear solvers for massively parallel machines.

Baolai Ge is an HPC Consultant and Researcher with SHARCNET at the University of Western Ontario. He hold an M.Sc. in Mathematics. His research area is in numerical analysis and scientific computing. He joined SHARCNET from Liberate Technologies, where he was a system programmer for a few years.

Hewlett-Packard HPC Workshop Instructors are personnel from HP's Consulting and Integration Services and High Performance Computing Expertise Center.

Ian Lumb , Grid Solutions Manager, Platform Computing has led a career in scientific research and distributed computing on an international scale. He joined Platform Computing Inc. in August 1998 to establish the company's training practice. He subsequently served as the technical liaison for the company's system vendor partners, before focusing on Grid Computing. Prior to joining Platform, he served as a researcher and educator in physical sciences at Toronto's York University, where he also got his introduction to distributed computing.

Dr. Gabriel Mateescu works as a systems and applications analyst at the National Research Coun-cil, in the Research Computing Support Group. Gabriel holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA. Before joining NRC, Gabriel has worked at Platform Computing in Toronto, participating in the development of the Load Sharing Facility (LSF) distributed workload management system. Previously, he has worked in scientific computing at Los Alamos National Laboratory and at Virginia Tech, developing parallel scalable software and algorithms for solving very large systems of linear equations and for fluid flow problems.

Anticipated Audience and Fee

This is the first annual SHARCNET wide workshop. SHARCNET runs introductory workshops at the local sites on a regular basis with hands-on components. This workshop will be more intensive, bringing in expertise from outside.

Our target audience is Canadian researchers interested in HPC and parallel applications. Our goal is to attract users from throughout Ontario. The number of attendees for the talk session will be limited by the room sizes. The HP Workshop sessions will have a limited number of places.

We intend to charge $200 per academic user for the HP Workshops portion. For non-academic users please contact the organisers. Travel assistance will be available for Graduate students coming from outside McMaster. You will be able to apply through the registration form.