ALCF workshop supports simulation, data, and learning research

Jim Collins

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To align with emerging research needs and leverage new computing capabilities, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility, is expanding its scope beyond traditional simulation-based research to include data and learning approaches.

As part of this paradigm shift, the facility is working to prepare researchers to use simulation, data science, and machine learning techniques on ALCF computing resources to accelerate their efforts to solve challenging problems in science and engineering.

From February 27 to March 1, 2018, the ALCF welcomed more than 50 prospective and current users to the facility for its Simulation, Data, and Learning Workshop. This training event provided an opportunity for attendees to work directly with ALCF staff members and invited experts from Intel, Cray, and Arm, to learn about the systems, tools, frameworks, and techniques that can help advance research in these three areas of scientific computing.

“At the ALCF, we have both the leadership computing systems and the expertise to apply scalable data and learning methods to enable data-driven discoveries across all scientific disciplines,” said Venkat Vishwanath, ALCF Data Science Group Lead. “This workshop was designed to familiarize researchers with our resources and how they can be used to improve productivity, and potentially pursue new research directions that may not have been possible in the past.”

With architectural features and tools that support data-centric workloads, Theta, the ALCF’s new Intel-Cray system, is particularly well suited for research involving data science and machine learning methods. Each of the system’s 4,392 nodes is equipped with a 64-core Intel processor that has 16 gigabytes of