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Report on International HPC Summer School 2019

International HPC Summer School 2019 Group Photo

Time: Sunday, July 7 to Friday, July 12, 2019
Place: RIKEN Center for Computational Science, Integrated Research Center of Kobe University
Co-hosts: XSEDE (USA), PRACE (Europe), SciNet HPC Consortium (Canada)

The RIKEN Center for Computational Science participated in the International HPC Summer School, a program for graduate students and young researchers interested in the HPC field, once again this year. The School aims to develop young scientists who can lead future advances in the HPC field through cutting-edge seminars in a variety of fields, including the natural sciences and AI; hands-on sessions where participants can practice visualization and programming by using real large-scale computing equipment; and an electronic poster session presented by participants via their laptops. This year marked the first time the School was held in Japan, and 110 young scientists came from overseas to participate. Participants from Japan included 13 young scientists and several distinguished lecturers, including Dr. Shugo Yasuda (Graduate School of Simulation Studies, University of Hyogo), Dr. Cannon Kipp (Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo), Unit Leader Yoshizoe (RIKEN Center for Advanced Intelligence Project), and Team Leaders Miyoshi and Imamura (RIKEN Center for Computational Science).

The hands-on sessions featured opportunities to try parallel computing using MPI and OpenMP, standardized parallel programming; OpenACC, which uses accelerators; and Python programming. The participants’ enthusiasm for programming shone through as they worked on parallelization and acceleration. Their passion particularly came through during the Parallel Programming Challenge, where they both collaborated and competed with other participants to tackle acceleration issues to improve performance on a shared problem.

The Electronic Poster Session was held on the evenings of the second and third days. Participants used their own laptops to present their research, with many passionately discussing each other’s work long after the session ended.

One special aspect of the School is its mentoring program, wherein a small group of participants is assigned to a mentor scientist, who offers the young scientists a listening ear and guidance on research life and future careers. While time for mentoring sessions has always been a part of regular School schedule, this year featured time for longer, one-on-one discussions, which gave participants the opportunity to discuss a range of topics, from technical content they were working on at the School to future research, with their mentors.

Comments from participants in the post-School survey included, “I was able to experience such a fulfilling week,” “I was able to learn about a wide range of content related to HPC,” and “I want to recommend this program to other young researchers in my lab,” with the caveat that, “The whole week’s schedule was so jam-packed that there was hardly any time to relax!”