UrgentHPC20 workshop at SC: Fighting disasters with urgent computing

Author: Nick Brown
Posted: 10 Nov 2020 | 09:44

Join the workshop: Friday 13 November, 2:30pm–6:30pm ET

At SC20 this year we are chairing UrgentHPC, the second international workshop on the use of HPC for urgent decision making. The idea of the workshop is to explore the fusion of HPC, big data, and other technologies in responding to disasters such as global pandemics, wildfires, hurricanes, extreme flooding, earthquakes, tsunamis, winter weather conditions, and accidents. Whilst HPC has a long history of simulating disasters, we believe that technological advances are creating exciting new opportunities to support emergency, urgent, decision making in real-time.

The workshop series began last year at SC19, and even though back then we firmly believed how important this topic is, we could never have imagined the spotlight that the COVID-19 pandemic would shine on such endeavours. This year the workshop will begin with Professor Madhav Marathe, a Distinguished Professor in Biocomplexity and Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia (UVA). He will be joining us, albeit virtually, straight from fighting COVID to deliver the keynote talk.

The global economic, social and health impact of the pandemic already staggering and continuing to grow, as such I don’t think anyone would argue that COVID-19 is anything other than a global crisis unprecedented in living memory. Professor Marathe is heavily involved in fighting the pandemic by using computation and, more broadly, computational thinking which plays a multi-faceted role in supporting global real-time epidemic science especially because controlled experiments are impossible in epidemiology.

We were especially pleased that Professor Marathe agreed to give the keynote because his group are fusing high performance computing, data science and new sources of massive amounts of data to help prevent, detect and respond to pandemics. This should be fascinating, and Professor Marathe will discuss his institute's efforts to design and execute scalable high performance computing-enabled workflows to support real-time COVID-19 response and situation assessment.

In addition to the keynote talk we have a packed programme containing four accepted research papers, eleven lightning talks, and an audience Q&A. Whilst COVID-19 will be a recurring theme throughout our programme this year, there are also numerous othr talks focussed around other challenges associated with Urgent HPC. These include tsunami simulations, urgent processing of dark energy spectroscopic information, a workflow for tackling wildfires, computing on the edge, earthquake early warning systems, and smart city in response to issues raised by rapid urbanization.

Join the virtual workshop

The workshop is running on the afternoon of Friday 13th of November (unlucky for some!) between 2:30pm ET and 6:30pm ET. It is all taking place virtually using SC’s online platform, which you can access with an SC workshop registration. The workshop will also be recorded and made available for a subsequent six months, whilst much of this is driven by the challenge in time-zone, I also think it’s a really nice idea as it means that we don’t need to exclusively choose between sessions.

The full schedule is available on the UrgentHPC website and also on the SC programme. Our involvement in this workshop is driven by the VESTEC EU project, within which EPCC leads the interactive supercomputing work-package.

Image: https://bit.ly/3eLopW6


Nick Brown, EPCC

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