SC18 Names Mike Warren & John Salmon Test of Time Award Winners for Their Paper “A Parallel Hashed Oct-Tree N-Body Algorithm”

The SC Test of Time Award (ToTA) Committee announced the selection of “A Parallel Hashed Oct-Tree N-Body Algorithm” by John Salmon and Mike Warren as the SC18 ToTA winner.

David Abramson

“The award-winning paper describes a technique for solving N-body problems, which arise in a large number of fields from astrophysics to chemistry at both large and small scales,” said David Abramson, ToTA Committee Chair from University of Queensland, Australia. “Importantly, it described novel algorithms that served as an efficient way of solving N-body problems on HPC platforms,” he said.

The ToTA recognizes an outstanding paper that has deeply influenced the HPC discipline. It is a mark of historical impact and recognition that the paper has changed HPC trends.

About the Authors:


Mike Warren

Mike Warren

Mike Warren leads the technical team at Descartes Labs. His work spans a wide range of disciplines, with the recurring theme of developing and applying advanced software and computing technology to understand the physical and virtual world.

He was a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 25 years, and also worked as a Senior Software Engineer at Sandpiper Networks/Digital Island. His work has been recognized on multiple occasions, including the Gordon Bell prize for outstanding achievement in high-performance computing.

He has degrees in Physics and Engineering & Applied Science from Caltech, and he received a PhD in Physics from University of California, Santa Barbara.

John Salmon

John Salmon

John Salmon has degrees in Physics and EECS from MIT and a PhD in Physics from Caltech, where he first first encountered parallel computing on the 64-node 8086/8087 Cosmic Cube.

His work in high performance computing has included cosmological simulations, Beowulfs, random number generators, content delivery networks and special purpose hardware.  He has won (with colleagues) several Gordon Bell prizes and SC best paper awards.  He has a long-standing interest in N-body simulations, ranging from the very large (cosmological scales) to the very small (atomic scales).

He is currently a scientist at D.E. Shaw Research in New York City where he works on special purpose computers, algorithms, software and hardware for biochemical molecular dynamics simulations.

More About the Paper:

According to Abramson, the techniques published in the paper were groundbreaking, and the analysis was robust. The authors provided efficient algorithms, a theoretical analysis of the complexity, and experimental results.

He continued, “The paper has been and continues to be heavily cited; even though the experimental work was performed on a 512-processor machine, the work is just as relevant to today’s supercomputers with hundreds of thousands of cores. For all these reasons, the committee was keen to select this paper and hold it up as an exemplar for future submissions.”

More About the Award

The ToTA is also an incentive for researchers and students to send their best work to the SC Conference and a tool to understand why and how results last in the HPC discipline. It is presented annually to a single paper, selected from the conference proceedings of 10-25 years ago.  A paper can receive the award only once.

This award-winning paper is available at the ACM Digital Library.

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