Talking HPC with the Omega Tau podcast

Author: Iain Bethune
Posted: 11 Aug 2014 | 09:36

Omega Tau: science and engineering in your headphones is a STEM-themed podcast produced by Markus Völter and Nora Ludewig which covers a wide range of interesting topics including aerospace, spaceflight, computing and physical sciences in great detail through interviews and discussions with area experts.  I've been listening for over a year now, and found several episodes which covered topics that mentioned HPC in passing, for example The Millennium Simulation (Volker Springel), Geophysical Modeling in Oil Exploration (Michael Commer), and Computational Biology (Hans Hofmann) among others.  I thought that an episode covering the basics of HPC might also be of interest to the Omega Tau listeners, and so I was pleased when Markus agreed to record an episode with me.

Although we recorded while I was at the Cray User Group meeting in May, the episode has just been released and you can download it here or via Omega Tau's iTunes feed.  Our conversation ended up taking nearly two-and-a-half hours, and we covered a lot of ground including the differences between supercomputers, Cloud, Grid and Volunteer computing, HPC hardware architectures and programming models.  On the way we touched on a number of different application areas, and also had some interesting discussion about how modelling and simulation software is developed in practice, and the extent to which approaches like Domain Specific Languages (one of Markus' areas of interest) could help in HPC.  The episode concludes with a look forward towards Exascale and future trends.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed recording it, and if you are (like me) a general science and technology geek I recommend you subscribe to Omega Tau and also check out the back catalogue - there is lots of interesting stuff in there.