HPC-SIG Meeting 2018-02-13

The February 2018 meeting was held on 13 February 2018 at the University of Bristol in the Clifton Hall House Conference Centre



The agenda was:

  • 10.00: Coffee available
  • 10.30: Introductions
  • 10.35: Report from the Chair
  • 11.00: Committee elections

    The results of the election for the new HPC-SIG Executive at the Bristol meeting on 13 February 2018 were:

    • Chair – Christine Kitchen, Cardiff. Unopposed and elected unanimously
    • Vice-Chair – Graeme Murphy, Hull. Unopposed and elected unanimously
    • Treasurer – Richard Martin, Strathclyde. Unopposed and elected unanimously
    • Secretary – Aaron Turner, Loughborough. Unopposed and elected unanimously
    • Communications – Simon Burbidge, Bristol received 11 votes; Martin Callaghan, Leeds received 14 votes so Martin Callaghan was elected to this post
  • 11.15:  meltdown and spectre – implications, experiences and reactions There has been much discussion on the HPC-SIG list about the recent meltdown and spectre  security flaws, and what, if any, the implications are for security and performance on an HPC cluster. This session was an informal discussion on how different sites have reacted to these flaws. Simon Thompson from Birmingham presented some Meltdown and Spectre benchmarks (pdf, 150KB), courtesy of Radoslaw Poplawski from the University of Birmingham and Matt Bull from Cardiff University
  • 12.00: Lunch
  • 12:45: Site Updates and short items
  • 13.45: Cliff Addison, Liverpool: Introducing Barkla – a hybrid HPC solution In 2017, Liverpool went to tender for a £1.2M HPC system. A hybrid service with cloud or HPCaaS alongside local hardware was highly desired. The winning bid from Dell-Alces, with some seed money from AWS, is a 100 node system based around 40 core Skylake processors and 100 gbps Omni Path using a software stack that can be replicated easily and cheaply on the cloud. Whilst not yet fully operational, things are progressing fairly smoothly and Liverpool have identified several pathfinder groups within the University who want to explore cloud computing more fully. For a copy of the presentation please contact Cliff Addison, C.Addison_at_liverpool.ac.uk
  • 14.30: Business Matters including future meeting dates and locations
    • A show of hands expressed interest in a Remote Visualisation Workshop.
    • The next meetings will be:
      • A remote visualisation workshop on 22 May 2018 at the University of Birmingham
      • A SIG meeting on 23 May 2018 also at the University of Birmingham

      Details will be circulated to the SIG list as they become available.

      Offers of talks and topics for discussion at either event are welcome. Please mail hpc-sig-enquiries_at_jiscmail.ac.uk with any offers.

  • 14.45: Tea
  • 15.00: David Salmon, Jisc: Feedback from the RCUK Cloud workshop (pdf, 156kB)
  • 15.45: AOB
  • 16.00: Meeting close

As always, the meeting was followed by refreshment and lively discussion in a local hostelry to which all were welcome.


CRAY kindly extended an invitation for the evening of the 12th for anyone who was staying overnight in Bristol prior to the meeting.