Authors: Hensley Omorodion (University of Benin), Robert Quick (Indiana University), Bryan Johnston (Centre for High Performance Computing, South Africa), Christopher Harrison (University of Wisconsin)
Abstract: This SC18 BoF will be the fourth meeting of the Special Interest Group on HPC in Resource Constrained Environments (SIGHPC-RCE). This SIGHPC chapter was chartered in 2015, and its first BoF was held during SC15. SIGHPC-RCE membership is open to professional staff who manage resources in research institutions and college campuses (systems administrators, network engineers, data scientists, etc). Topics for discussion include: open-source software solutions, cloud-enabled efficiencies, cybersecurity challenges, network topology and NREN peering, online training resources, administrative challenges of shared cyber-ecosystems, outreach, and creative ways that decommissioned hardware can be employed for light research and workforce development.
Long Description: This BoF will be hosted by the Special Interest Group on HPC in Resource Constrained Environments (SIGHPC-RCE). Last year’s BoF drew attendees from the US, Europe. Nepal and pan-African nations, including membership of a second group, the “Challenges of Managing Small HPC Centers.” The merger expanded the SIG’s membership, and added diversity in terms of regions and institutions represented.
Group objectives were discussed and common challenges for those who manage HPC, or support research in resource-constrained environments. Since SC15, SIGHPC-RCE and others who were present at our first BoF have collaborated with STEM-Trek to define a number of projects that are in various stages of development.
Most agree that access to advanced cyberinfrastructure (CI) enables the acceleration of scientific discovery and therefore improves the economic competitiveness of underserved regions. However, sustainable provisioning will always be challenging where there is an inadequate or unreliable energy supply, or in regions that lack an on-ramp to high-speed networks. The prospect of exascale and support for the “long-tail” of science only seems to broaden the digital divide.
Because there are many economic and physical challenges to overcome in RCEs, it’s impossible to adopt, design, build, deploy, manage, and secure the same quality and variety of resources and services offered by the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (EU-funded PRACE), or the U.S. National Science Foundation’s eXtreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). Many lack a defined goal, strategy for sustainability, or a reference model from which to derive concrete objectives. Consequently, few will engage, or they will waste private, commercial, institutional, state, or federal resources trying to replicate what they could never sustain.
SIGHPC-RCE provides a psycho-social framework of support for professionals who work in RCE’s where they can meet others in their field. The SC BoF provides them with a rare face-to-face opportunity to discuss common challenges and lessons learned from road-tested solutions. Chapter officers will foster audience-driven discussions that will help shape the SIG’s scope for the coming year.
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