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Feature - Distributed computing experts gather in Chicago

Feature - Distributed computing experts gather in Chicago

At OGF29, Mark Morgan demonstrates XCG, a production grid maintained by the Genesis II team at the University of Virginia.

Image courtesy Miriam Boon, iSGTW.

Last week, distributed computing experts from around the world converged on Chicago to attend OGF29 and the ACM International Symposium on High Performance Distributed Computing 2010 (HPDC).

"It's been a quite successful HPDC," said Peter Dinda, the event's program chair. "In terms of the grid context, it's good to have it co-located with Open Grid Forum."

Both events benefited from the co-location, reporting increases in attendance.

Although the conference chairs did not actively seek out programming on the topic of clouds, this emerging technology became a major theme throughout both conferences.

OGF29's second day featured a status update on the Open Cloud Computing Interface, and cloud technology demonstrations by the Storage Networking Industry Association (download), FutureGrid and Grid 5000 (download), and the Open Cloud Consortium (download). Day three included a workshop on data clouds, followed by an inter-cloud workshop.

HPDC featured a day-long workshop on science clouds, a session entitled "Resources and Clouds," a panel addressing how clouds will shape our world, and a smattering of cloud-related posters and paper presentations throughout the week.

"This conference as a whole showed the impact of clouds - it's a sign of the times," said Kate Keahey, HPDC co-chair. "It raises interesting questions. People are looking at the relevance of clouds to science."

Despite the number of sessions dedicated to cloud programming, both conferences managed to include a heterogeneous mixture of topics.

"We had more of a wider mix of papers than we expected," Dinda said. For example, he added, "The focus on parallel programming is a departure from what we've traditionally covered."

Philip Rhodes, an associate professor at the University of Mississippi, was pleased that the programming mixture brought up topics that are often neglected.

"I was glad to see a discussion of the role that advanced knowledge of the access pattern can play in performance," Rhodes said. "I think this is a key technique for improving performance in distributed computing."

Next year's HPDC will take place in San Jose, co-located with the ACM Federated Computing Research Conference. FCRC takes place every four years, co-locating with at least 15 major computing conferences (including HPDC). OGF30 will take place 25-29 October in Brussels, Belgium; the location and date of OGF31 has not yet been chosen.

-Miriam Boon, iSGTW

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