HPC Certification Programme: the HPC environment survey

Author: Weronika Filinger
Posted: 26 Apr 2019 | 13:31

We are embarking on a survey of the HPC environment and would appreciate your input! Jean-Thomas Acquaviva, DDN Storage, explains the background below.

Supercomputers are helping us to solve the world greatest challenges but who is helping us to harness the computational power of supercomputers?

The HPC Certification Forum is a community effort that aims to provide an international certification programme for the skills needed by practitioners  to harness supercomputers. It aims to clearly categorise, define, and examine competencies, which will be beneficial to all stake-holders involved in training and education. To make this effort relevant to the whole HPC community, a number of online surveys and polls will be created to capture and estimate the importance of the various tools, technologies, and skills expected from HPC practitioners. 

One of the steps in the process is to identify the competencies that need to be certified. This is a daunting task – the HPC field is vast, from deep micro-architectural processor optimisation to complex physical models. It also changes very rapidly. The machines and technologies from 10 years ago were 100 times less powerful. With a peak of 1PF, RoadRunner was the  number one in the TOP500. Furthermore, the very notion of the cloud was still foggy and AWS an interesting startup with a quarter of billion in revenue.

In the last 10 years HPC practitioners have been riding a constant wave of new technologies and practices, so what is the current state of the practice? That is what we aim to discover by a series of surveys and we need your help with that. 

While surveys have been ‘bothering’ HPC community for a while now, our approach is slightly different. 

  • The first and most important differentiation is the ambition: we plan half a dozen of surveys to explore the whole skill landscape.
     
  • Secondly, a survey is not a goal in itself – it is a mere tool for the certification program to validate the chosen skill sets. All members of the HPCCF can contribute to the development of each survey. The programme is at the moment supported by eight different institutions across the world from both academia and industry. Anyone can get involved!
     
  • Lastly, the results belong to the community. They will be published one the HPC-certification website and presented at a number of HPC events, such as ISC-HPC, eg at our BoFs. 

There is a generally accepted set of skills and competencies necessary to efficiently use HPC resources. This skillset depends on the role and domain of the practitioner but also on the available infrastructure of the centre providing the computing resources. This first survey is focused on the HPC environment: we want to know what software environment you need to efficiently use a supercomputer once you have logged into one.

Tell us – the stage is yours, the ride starts here! 

Please fill in the survey now!