SC08 Technology Thrust to Focus on Energy with Talks, Workshops, Discussions

AUSTIN, Texas—Energy has made headlines over the past year, from rising costs to the search for new sources to reducing consumption. At the upcoming SC08 conference, one of two Technology Thrust Areas developed to focus attention on and highlight research in key computational fields will focus on various aspects of energy as it relates to high performance computing. SC08, the international conference on high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis, will be held Nov. 15–21 in Austin.

The Energy Thrust will focus both on the use of HPC in renewable energy and energy efficiency research as well as the challenge of best practices and technology trends aimed at energy efficient data centers. On Thursday, Nov. 20, two plenary talks and several Masterworks presentations will discuss different aspects of energy and computing, from energy exploration to improving the energy efficiency of computing centers.

One of the biggest issues facing the HPC community is the amount of power consumed by supercomputing centers. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 2000 and 2006, the energy consumed in America’s data centers doubled and is poised to double again by 2011. On the global scale, world energy demand is projected to double by 2050. Couple this growth in energy demand with concerns about climate change and it becomes clear that meeting future energy needs in an affordable, reliable, and environmentally sensitive manner is a true grand challenge.

"It’s within this context that this year at SC08 we are highlighting Energy as a Technology Thrust area," said Steve Hammond of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and co-chair of the SC08 Energy Thrust. "We are focused both on the use of high performance computing in addressing the energy grand challenge and in efforts to reduce energy demand by high performance computing, IT systems, and highly energy efficient 'green' data centers."


"High-performance computing capabilities and state-of-the-art numerical simulation models will play a key role in accelerating the scientific and engineering progress necessary to address the energy grand challenge," said Horst Simon, Associate Lab Director for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and co-chair with Hammond of the Energy Thrust. "On the energy efficiency side, we will highlight best practices and technology trends aimed at energy efficient systems and data centers."

Energy efficiency components of the SC08 conference program include:


"Power Efficiency and the Path to Exascale Computing," Sunday, Nov. 16, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. (

Panel Discussion

"Will Electric Utilities Give Away Supercomputers with the Purchase of a Power Contract?" Wednesday, Nov. 19, 10:30 a.m.–noon (

Birds-of-a-Feather Sessions

"High Energy Performance for High Performance Computing," Tuesday, Nov. 18, 12:15–1:15 p.m. (

"TOP500 Supercomputers" (including power consumption data), Tuesday, Nov. 18, 5:50–7 p.m. (

"The Green500 List,"Wednesday, Nov. 19, 5:30–7 p.m. (

Technical Paper

"PAM: A Novel Performance/Power Aware Meta-scheduler for Multi-core Systems," Thursday Nov. 20, 10:30–11 a.m. (


Thursday, Nov. 20, 1:30–3 p.m.: Green HPC I


Thursday, Nov. 20, 3:30–5 p.m.: Green HPC II


In the area of using HPC to develop additional energy sources, SC08 program activities include:


"Advanced Modeling and Simulation for Fission Nuclear Energy," Monday, Nov. 17, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. (http://

Invited Speakers

"High-Performance Computing and the Energy Challenge: Issues and Opportunities," Thursday, Nov. 20, 8:30–9:15 a.m.: Jeffrey Wadsworth, Battelle Memorial Institute(

"Computational Frameworks for Subsurface Energy and Environmental Modeling and Simulation," Thursday, Nov. 20, 9:15–10 a.m.: Mary Wheeler, University of Texas at Austin(


Thursday, Nov. 20, 10:30 a.m.–noon: HPC in Alternative Energy Technologies


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, will showcase how high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis lead to advances in research, education and commerce. This premiere international conference includes technical and education programs, workshops, tutorials, an exhibit area, demonstrations and hands-on learning. For more information, please visit