Awards for Outstanding High Performance Computing Research and Achievements Presented at SC08 Conference

AUSTIN, Texas-- SC08, the international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis wrapped up a record-setting event on Friday, Nov. 21, following the recognition of achievements by a number of attendees.

Among the honors presented during the conference were the Seymour Cray Award, the Sidney Fernbach Memorial Award, ACM Gordon Bell Prizes, ACM/IEEE Computer Society HPC Ph.D. Fellowship Award, several competitive challenges, best paper and best poster awards.

This year's conference, held at the Austin Convention Center, set all-time attendance and exhibitor records, with total registration exceeding 11,000 and 337 exhibitors filling all the exhibit halls in the convention center. The event marked the 20th anniversary of the first SC conference.

"This has been a truly amazing week in Austin, from the record attendance, the most ever exhibitors and a very impressive set of activities celebrating our 20th anniversary," said SC08 General Chair Patricia Teller. "To everyone who has spent the past three years planning SC08 and to everyone who joined us in Austin, I extend heartfelt thanks for helping make this year’s event such a success."

The following individuals and organizations were recognized with awards:

Steven Wallach, founder of Convey Computer, was presented with the Seymour Cray Computer Science and Engineering Award for his "contribution to high-performance computing through design of innovative vector and parallel computing systems, notably the Convex mini-supercomputer series, a distinguished industrial career and acts of public service."

The IEEE Sidney Fernbach Memorial Award was presented to William Gropp of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for his major role in creating the MPI, the standard interprocessor communication interface for large-scale parallel computers.

ACM Gordon Bell Prize

The ACM Gordon Bell Prize for Peak Performance was awarded to the team of Gonzalo Alvarez, Michael S. Summers, Don E. Maxwell, Markus Eisenbach, Jeremy S. Meredith, Thomas A. Maier, Paul R. Kent, Eduardo D'Azevedo and Thomas C. Schulthess (all of Oak Ridge National Laboratory), and Jeffrey M. Larkin and John M. Levesque (both of Cray, Inc.) for their entry, "New Algorithm to Enable 400+ TFlop/s Sustained Performance in Simulations of Disorder Effects in High-Tc."

The ACM Gordon Bell Prize in a special recognition for algorithmic innovation was presented to Lin-Wang Wang, Byounghak Lee, Hongzhang Shan, Zhengji Zhao, Juan Meza, Erich Strohmaier and David Bailey of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for their work in "Linear Scaling Divide-and-Conquer Electronic Structure Calculations for Thousand Atom Nanostructures."

Technical Program Awards

The award for Best Paper was given to Hans Eberle, Robert Drost, Nils Gura, David Hopkins and Wladek Olesinski (Sun Microsystems) and Pedro J. Garcia, José Flich and  José Duato (Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha) for their research on "High-Radix Crossbar Switches Enabled by Proximity Communication."

The award for Best Student Paper went to Vasily Volkov and James W. Demmel of the University of California, Berkeley for "Benchmarking GPUs to Tune Dense Linear Algebra."

Honors for Best Poster went to Leopold Grinberg and George Karniadakis (Brown University) and John Cazes (Texas Advanced Computing Center) for "A Scalable Domain Decomposition Method for Ultra-Parallel Arterial Flow Simulations."

The ACM Best Undergraduate Student Poster award went to Sara Alspaugh of the University of Virginia for her research on "Policy-Driven Data Management for Distributed Scientific Collaborations Using a Rule Engine" and to Gabriel E. Martinez of Virginia Tech for "Characterizing and Optimizing Virtualization Overhead for Portable High-Performance Networking."

In the ACM Best Graduate Student Poster, first place went to Akila Gothandaraman of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for "Acceleration of Quantum Monte Carlo Applications on Emerging Computing Platforms." Second place was awarded to David Dynerman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for "CUSA and CUDE: GPU-Accelerated Methods for Estimating Solvent Accessible Surface Area and Desolvation." Third place was given to Abhinav Bhatele of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for "Effects of Contention on Message Latencies in Large Supercomputers."

The ACM/IEEE Computer Society HPC Ph.D. Fellowship Awards were presented in three disciplines:

SC Challenge Awards

The SC conference series also hosts a variety of challenges in which teams compete in friendly yet spirited competitions with other participants.

In the Analytics Challenge, which requires teams to complete solutions that embody all facets of high performance computing, such as comprehensive computational approaches, processing of large data sets and high-end visualization technology to display results, the winning team consisted of Christopher S. Oehmen, Lee Ann McCue, Bobbie-Jo Webb-Robertson, Scott Dowson, Justin Almquist and Jason McDermott of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for their entry, "Interactive HPC-Driven Visual Analysis for Multiple Genome Datasets."

The Bandwidth Challenge, an annual competition for leading-edge network applications developed by teams of researchers from around the globe, was won by Robert L. Grossman, Yunhong Gu, Michal Sabala, David Hanley, Shirley Connelly and  David Turkington of the University of Illinois at Chicago for their entry, "Towards Global Scale Cloud Computing: Using Sector and Sphere on the Open Cloud Testbed."

The Cluster Challenge, in which teams of university students deploy cluster computers and then run scientific applications to obtain optimum performance, was won by the "Cluster Meister" team from Indiana University and the Technische Universitaet Dresden, with support by IBM.

The HPC Storage Challenge, a competition showcasing applications that use approaches that effectively utilize the storage subsystem, was won by the team of Alexander Szalay, Maria Nieto-Santisteban, Jan Vandenberg, Alainna Wonders, Randal Burns, Eric Perlman, Ani Thakar, Mike McCarty and Dean Zariello (Johns Hopkins University); Gordon Bell, Tony Hey, Roger Barga, Yogesh Simmhan and Catherine Van Ingen (Microsoft Research); and Michael Thomassy and Lubor Kollar (Microsoft Corporation); Robert Grossman, David Hanley, Yunhong Gu and Michael Sabala (University of Illinois at Chicago); Jim Heasley (University of Hawaii); and Tim Carrol, Eric Barnes and Mike Rowland (Dell, Inc.) for their entry "Storage Challenge GrayWulf: Scalable Clustered Architecture for Data-Intensive Computing."

About SC08

SC08, sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Scalable Computing and the IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Computer Architecture, showcased how high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in research, education and commerce. This premiere international conference included technical and education programs, workshops, tutorials, an exhibit area, demonstrations and hands-on learning. For more information, please visit