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IU advanced computing, networking prowess featured at supercomputing conference

Supercomputing Conference lineup features range of exhibits from SoIC, PTI, and GlobalNOC

BLOOMINGTON, Ind., and AUSTIN, Texas — Indiana University’s computing and networking innovation, research and discovery will be on display at the Supercomputing 15 Conference (SC15), taking place in Austin, Texas, Nov. 15-20.

The annual supercomputing conference, one of the world’s foremost tech events, is sponsored by ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and IEEE Computer Society. It attracts thousands of scientists, researchers and IT experts from across the world to set strategies for the supercomputing technology of the future and share information about how supercomputing and cyberinfrastructure are transforming our lives. This year’s conference is particularly important, as it is the first major advanced computing conference in the US since President Barack Obama’s Executive Order creating the National Strategic Computing Initiative.

IU's SC15 lineup delivers a range of exhibits from the IU School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC), the IU Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI), and IU’s Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC).

To raise awareness of the depth and breadth of its programs, the School of Informatics and Computing will host a research-oriented booth (#542) at the exhibition portion of the conference, showcasing current research and educational initiatives. Highlights will include SoIC’s latest technologies and research developments in big data, extreme scale computing, high performance networks, network science, security, and bioinformatics. In addition, the booth will feature a variety of demonstrations and displays, including a student-engineered drone, a 3D printer, and the "HPX-box", a compact power-efficient integrated system running the latest version of the HPX runtime software, HPX-5 version 2.0.

"Indiana University’s rapidly growing School of Informatics and Computing continues IU’s decades strong presence at SC. The school’s showcase initiatives at SC further illustrate the leading-edge research at SoIC, increase our ability to recruit top-notch researchers and students, and enable us to build connections to establish new partnerships," said Andrew Lumsdaine, SoIC associate dean for research and director of the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies (CREST). "We are excited by the potential impacts and rewards of hosting an exhibit booth at SC, and doing so as SoIC prepares to launch its new graduate degrees in intelligent systems engineering."

Visitors to the SoIC booth will have the opportunity to connect with IU’s world-class faculty, who represent a wide array of the school’s research centers, including Geoffrey Fox and Judy Qiu from the Digital Science Center; Andrew Lumsdaine, Thomas Sterling, and Martin Swany from CREST; and Beth Plale from the Data to Insight Center.

SC15 provides a unique opportunity for prospective students to learn about SoIC’s nationally recognized graduate programs, including a new intelligent systems engineering program, data science master’s degree program, massive open online courses, and online certificates. Prospective students can also attend an information session on Tuesday, November 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or visit with staff at the student job and opportunity fair.

PTI and GlobalNOC will host the “Connecting community, igniting discovery” exhibit in booth No. 532. Highlights will include displays featuring IU’s work on Jetstream, the National Science Foundation’s first cloud for science and engineering. In 2014, the NSF awarded IU $6.6 million to create Jetstream, and IU is expected to receive a total of about $11 million from NSF over the next five years to create, implement and operate the system.

Additionally, IU researchers will lead presentations about IU’s international networking prowess, which earned more than $13 million in NSF international networking awards in 2015 and led the creation of the world’s first 100G circuit connecting Pacific Rim research and education networks with their counterparts in the United States.

"The past year has been an exciting one for high performance computing at Indiana University," said Craig Stewart, executive director of the IU Pervasive Technology Institute and IU associate dean for research technologies. "Our researchers and computer scientists have earned nearly $20 million in NSF awards to improve cyberinfrastructure around the world, supporting research in a range of disciplines from biology and atmospheric science to economics and polar science. We are excited to share these accomplishments – and more – at SC15 with our colleagues and friends."

The IU team also continues its leadership role in organizing SC15. Matt Link, director of systems for IU Research Technologies, serves as a member of the conference steering committee. Additionally, IU network engineers will continue a decades-long tradition of operating SCinet, a leading-edge network equipped with OpenFlow-capable switches from vendors such as IBM. SCinet will address the high performance computing, storage and networking needs of all SC15 exhibitors and attendees.

This year, the PTI and GlobalNOC booth will include the following presentations and demonstrations:

  • PIPES on the Oculus Rift head-mounted display system by Chauncey Frend. The Programmable Immersive Peripheral Environmental System (PIPES) gives virtual reality developers a custom approach to programming and controlling environmental feedback behaviors while relaxing the required knowledge and expertise of electronic systems.
  • Science on a Sphere by IU and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) staff. A spherical projection system created by NOAA, Science on a Sphere presents high-resolution video on a suspended globe, in order to better represent oceanographic, atmospheric, astronomical, political, and economic data. Indiana University is home to the 97th installation of SOS in the world.
  • GlobalNOC Worldview by Marianne Chitwood, Ed Balas and Luke Fowler. Worldview’s intuitive, multi-touch interface puts real-time and historical information from the world’s most powerful networks at the user’s fingertips. Developed by the Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center (GlobalNOC), Worldview meets needs no existing tool can address—in a system that is easy to use for experts and non-experts alike.
  • The Science Node by Lance Farrell. Learn all about this new NSF-funded online publication focused on making advanced computing and networks easy to understand. With a new look and a new name, the Science Node (previously known as International Science Grid This Week) explains the real-world impact of complex science to a diverse audience. Stop by the booth for a chance to enter a drawing to win an Apple Watch.
  • Ready, Set, Robots! by Robert Ping. Ready, Set, Robots! is a technology workshop that teaches children ages 12-17 basic computer programming skills. Using kits from the LegoⓇ MindstormsⓇ series, participants learn to program a robot to complete objectives such as locating colors, avoiding obstacles, determining coordinates and docking.
  • Examining organisms used in genomics research by Tom Doak, Carrie Ganote and Le-Shin Wu. Representatives from the National Center for Genome Analysis and Support (NCGAS), based at IU, will display organisms whose DNA has been sequenced through the aid of their technologies. Thanks to an in-booth electronic microscope, visitors can try their hand at identifying the tiny creatures.

IU researchers and scientists will also participate in a number of panels and sessions as part of the SC15 technical program:

Tuesday, Nov. 17

12:15–1:15pm: Integrating Data Commons and Other Data Infrastructure with HPC to Accelerate Research and Discovery. Presented by Beth A. Plale.

12:15–1:15pm: Eleventh Graph500 List. Presented by Andrew Lumsdaine.

1:30–3pm: Virtualization and Clouds in HPC: Motivation, Challenges, and Lessons Learned. Presented by George Turner.

5:15–7pm: HPX Applications and Performance Adaptation. Presented by Andrew Lumsdaine and Thomas Sterling.

Thursday, Nov. 19

10:30-noon: Asynchronous Many-­Task Programming Models for Next Generation Platforms. Presented by Thomas Sterling.

1:30-3pm: Towards an Open Software Stack for Exascale Computing. Presented by Thomas Sterling.

For a complete schedule of activities in the IU booth, visit To learn more about SC15, visit

About the Pervasive Technology Institute

The Pervasive Technology Institute at Indiana University is a world-class organization dedicated to the development and delivery of innovative information technology to advance research, education, industry and society. Since 2000, PTI has received more than $50 million from the National Science Foundation to advance the nation's research cyberinfrastructure. Established by a major grant from the Lilly Endowment, the Pervasive Technology Institute brings together researchers and technologists from a range of disciplines and organizations, including the IU School of Informatics and Computing, the IU Maurer School of Law and the College of Arts and Sciences at Bloomington and University Information Technology Services at Indiana University.

About the School of Informatics and Computing

The School of Informatics and Computing’s (SoIC) rare combination of programs—including informatics, computer science, library science, information science, and intelligent systems engineering—makes SoIC one of the largest, broadest, and most accomplished of its kind. The extensive programs are united by a focus on information and technology. These rapidly evolving fields demand new ideas, new discoveries, new applications—the types of innovations our faculty develop and the kinds of complex problems our students learn to solve. Since the School’s creation in 2000, its enrollment has grown to nearly 2,500 students, 104 faculty, and nearly $16 million in funded research expenditures.

About the Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies

The Center for Research in Extreme Scale Technologies' (CREST) main objective is to establish Indiana University as the national leader in the field of high-capability graph computing systems and applications. This emerging discipline holds great promise for dramatic impact through innovative research and development in science, industry, commerce, and defense-related domains with significant opportunity for invention of intellectual property.

About the Global Research Network Operations Center

The Global Research Network Operations Center at Indiana University is the premier operations and engineering organization supporting advanced international, national, regional and local high-performance research and education networks. GlobalNOC plays a major role in transforming the face of digital science, research and education in Indiana, the US and the world by providing unparalleled network operations and engineering needed for reliable and cost-effective access to specialized facilities for research and education.