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Four Big Questions Facing the SC17 (International Supercomputing

  The International Supercomputing Conference (SC17) will be hosted in Denver from November 12-17. The hot topics covered in this symposium include exascale computing, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing (HPC) cloud. This session is expected to attract more than 10,000 participants from at least 117 countries, as well as 334 exhibitors, setting the highest attendance record for this year. According to insider information, this SC conference will be tackling four crucial questions facing the industry.

  Will America Reclaim the TOP500 Championship?

  Ever since Tianhe-2 and the Sunway Taihu Light came online, China has been ranked first nine times as having the top fastest supercomputer on the TOP500 list. A number of variables face this year’s TOP500 competition, including the two supercomputers Summit and Sierra (100PFlops), both of which were invested by the U.S. Department of Energy, and are expected to come online in early 2018. The Summit supercomputer is expected to reach 200 PFLOPS at peak performance, far beyond the range of the China’s Sunway Taihu Light. Rumors have been spreading in the industry that Summit may come online ahead of schedule, and if true, it will likely become the world’s fastest supercomputer. In addition, the Tianhe-2 has reportedly completed a set of major upgrades that have resulted in dramatic increases in computing power, making it another powerful contender in the TOP500.

  Will AI Steal the Show?

  This year’s SC17 conference in Germany was the first to establish an official “AI Day”, with discussions focused on the computing needs of deep learning and questions on how deep learning will impact current and future HPC infrastructure. As the United States currently has the world’s greatest accumulation of AI technology and the world’s most complete AI industrial chain, it is quite possible that Denver’s SC17 conference will see a much more intense “brainstorm” on AI.

  Looking at the currently listed exhibitors, NVIDIA, Intel, Inspur, Google, Alibaba, and other major companies involved in AI are all making an appearance. Inspur, as a representative of Chinese manufacturers, has been particularly involved in the competitive global market for AI computing. A range of Inspur products will be exhibited during the conference, including the AGX-2, the GX4, and the SR-AI rack, as well as the F10A FPGA card and other new AI computing equipment. These products have already been used successfully by a number of leading AI companies. According to another report, Inspur will also release a major report on AI during the SC17 conference, and will be announcing a series of joint statements and projects with other industry giants. Such intensive AI release efforts are very rare on the global market, and spectators have been watching with eager anticipation.

  Will Exascale Supercomputing Make an Early Debut?

  Exascale supercomputing will be another one of the major topics to be discussed at this conference. Not long ago, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that the construction of the Aurora supercomputer had been revised to 2021 in order to accommodate upgrades to the exascale level, and this news has caused ripples throughout the industry, triggering mass speculation and close attention from industry observers. During the conference, the Asian Supercomputer Association and the Inspur Group will jointly hold the 17th HPC Connection workshop, inviting exascale supercomputing project managers from China, America, and the EU to share the three giants’ construction plans and the latest projects for exascale supercomputers. For members of the industry and all those paying close attention to the next generation of supercomputer development, this summit cannot be missed.

  Will China Take the Gordon Bell Prize Again?

  This SC conference will announce the latest round of Gordon Bell Prize winners. There are currently three papers being considered as finalists for the Golden Bell Prize. Two of the papers are from China, and one is petaflop-scale climate modelling performance CAM-SE  based on the Sunway Taihu Light’s, and the other is 15-petaflop nonlinear seismic simulations to achieve 10Hz scene description. The third paper is a three-dimensional image reconstruction from Purdue University. The question of whether China can win another Gordon Bell Prize this year has attracted much attention.

  During last year’s SC16 conference, the prize was given to a research team including researcher Yang Chao from Institute of Software Chinese Academy of Science, Tsinghua University Associate Professors Xue Wei and Fu Haohuan, and other researchers from Beijing Normal University, for their use of the Sunway Taihu Light for their “Global Atmospheric Nonhydrostatic Cloud Resolution and Simulation.” This was a breakthrough in Chinese high-performance computing applications, which had never received such an award before.