Hartree Centre on Tour | ISC24 Round up

The Hartree Centre joined 3400+ international attendees and 160+ exhibitors at this year’s International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Hamburg, Germany. Science and Business Engagement Officer Stella Elena Alexandrova was our roving reporter on the ground. Here, she gives her account of the conference, following the Hartree Centre team’s activities across the week.

The Hartree Centre team at our ISC24 booth.

The Hartree Centre team had a busy week at ISC24 (International Supercomputing Conference 2024), participating in both the exhibition and event programme. This year, our team members hosted a workshop on quantum computing, a Birds of a Feather session on HPC training and were a part of some panels. It was great to return to ISC and have a voice in the international quantum computing conversation as well as sharing our knowledge in computing architectures and training.  

On the first day of the conference part of our team attended various workshops, tutorials and updates on the latest technological advances while the other Hartree Centre team members got to work assembling our exhibition booth, alongside our Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) colleagues from Scientific Computing. It was rewarding to showcase the variety of projects and programmes we engage with to help UK organisations access emerging technologies for productivity and growth. Some of the highlights this year included our collaboration to improve climate adaption with the Climate Resilience Demonstrator (CReDo) and advancing fusion energy with the UK Atomic Energy Authority

That evening, it was time for our team to rejoin and attend the opening gala of the exhibition for the evening. The event was a new experience for many of our team members, enabling them to build new relationships with industry partners and the research community and develop their engagement skills. 

At the Women in High Performance Computing (WHPC) breakout sessions, we heard about the ongoing need to help and support diversity in computing. It was also great seeing Helen Brooks present her work about fusion neutronics at the WHPC poster session. She talked about her work at the UK Atomic Energy Authority in collaboration with the Hartree Centre to help make fusion energy a reality.

Helen Brooks with her poster for the WHPC poster session.
The participants and organisers for the WHPC poster session.

In our drive to also provide cutting-edge expertise, some of the team attended workshops and tutorials to learn about the latest technological advancements. Kelly Hanifin attended the 8th International Workshop on In Situ Visualisation (WOIV24) hearing how to provide real-time interactive visualisations. ​ 

“WOIV24 was an exceptionally engaging workshop, featuring insightful presentations from Kitware, NVIDIA, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It was particularly fascinating to observe the advancements various organisations are making in in-situ visualisation, including the integration of ParaView Catalyst 2, Unreal Engine, and Omniverse into their workflows. Many of the topics discussed, such as carbon capture using metal-organic frameworks structures, are highly relevant to the Hartree Centre, so I’m excited to put into practise some of the methodologies included in the presentations.”

Kelly Hanifin, Visualisation Software Engineer 

On the third day of the conference we hit the ground running with a breakfast Amazon Web Services (AWS) Panel featuring Dave Meredith who spoke about the technical requirements for industry and research. 

“It is important to use open-source solutions with AWS to provide the infrastructure needed to support our programmes like Smart Manufacturing Data Hub.”

Dave Meredith, Research Software Engineering (RSE) Group Leader 
Rachel Williamson speaking at the Current Topics in EuroHPC Training BofF.
Co-hosts and speakers of the Current Topics in EuroHPC Training BofF.

Straight after this Stefano Mensa hosted a quantum computing paper review session while Rachel Williamson co-hosted a Birds of a Feather (BofF) session. We had really great turn out at our Current Topics in EuroHPC Training BofF, where Rachel Williamson discussed some of the key challenges facing HPC training and the training we offer at our centre

“It is important to identify the key needs for your target audience and to be led by industry demand.”

Rachel Williamson, Training Assurance Lead 

The day was rounded off with Stefano Mensa who spoke on the Quantum Advantage: Where Are We and What Is Needed? panel with Heike Riel (IBM Research Quantum), Thomas Lippert (Jülich Supercomputing Centre), Sabrina Maniscalco (Algorithmiq). The panel discussed the exciting journey quantum is on and some of the challenges it faces to become industry ready. 

The final day of the conference was filled with excitement as we had an amazing turnout for our quantum workshop. Co-hosted by Stefano Mensa, our workshop discussed state-of-the-art quantum computing methods and explored the latest advantages in quantum and hybrid quantum-classical computing approaches. 

“This workshop was really useful in seeing the journey quantum computing is on and we can see that new evidence from hybrid quantum-classical applications suggests we may need tightly coupled HPC-Quantum hardware for efficient execution. Also, advances in quantum error suppression bring us closer to achieving the first signs of quantum advantages in the near future.”

Stefano Mensa, Advanced Computing and Emerging Technologies Lead 

Francesca Schiavello, presented her work on developing complex algorithms for use on quantum processing units (QPUs). 

 “It was great to present this work as we tackled a novel hybrid algorithm on distributed real quantum hardware. Also the interactions I had at the workshop make me excited for the future of quantum computing.” 

Francesca Schiavello, Quantum Software Engineer
From left to right: Vassil Alexandrov, Francesca Schiavello and Stefano Mensa at our Quantum and Hybrid Quantum-Classical Computing Approaches workshop.

With that, we wrapped up another successful year at ISC24. If you want to find out more about how we can help your organisation explore and adopt emerging technologies, you can check out our opportunities. 

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