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Long Live Supercomputing

The Alces Flight Year in Review, 2023

Another year has come and gone in the world of High Performance Computing and a definite sense of excitement for a new year lies ahead.  Our predictions for a year focused on how we power our systems and support our people was more than met thanks to shifts in renewable energy, reporting practices, and one of the world’s largest conferences taking on the theme, “I am HPC.”  Companies and institutions are now embracing a more holistic approach to how they build and manage their systems, looking beyond the immediate concerns and focusing on the long-term.  So, without further ado, we present this year’s insights into HPC and how the community aims to establish a lasting legacy.

Building for the future.

This year marked a distinctive shift away from focusing on the next release of hardware and software and more towards how systems are planned and executed at scale.  Brought on in part by exascale and the growing demand for AI/ML processing, large-scale systems planning requires greater collaboration and partnerships over solo, bespoke endeavours.  This means that everything from power and housing, to how hardware and software is built and managed, to who is utilising the system, is being looked at in more depth and detail.

And while we spent this past September looking at what a sustainable reality would mean for HPC, the idea of legacy building is just starting to fully take shape.  From fully assessing the lessons learned from our past, to growing interest in data management, to how we inspire our next generation of engineers and scientists, it is key that in order to make our decisions today we need to keep an eye out for tomorrow.

Welcoming thought diversity.

In any field, maintaining a diverse range of perspectives is crucial. While sharing best practices is valuable, it’s equally important to avoid getting overly entrenched in a single line of thinking.  Thankfully, there is an increase for more diverse perspectives, with related and unrelated fields now regularly stepping up to the plate to inject new life into our methodology.  From balanced plenaries at global conferences, collaboration partnerships between technical and non-technical interests, and radical ideas being tested for more far-reaching, positive realities, alongside building legacy our community is developing towards a growth mindset.  

But to get where we are now and to build towards tomorrow we have to acknowledge that for the past thirty five years our community has expanded at a phenomenal pace.  From the late 80s through today we’ve seen our field bring down barrier after barrier in accessibility, all thanks to dedicated engineers, scientists, dreamers and doers.  Over 2024 and beyond we foresee continued shifts towards inclusion in how we find and train our next generation – and hopefully they will continue the trend to develop cleaner, greener and more accessible means to work in this wonderful field.  Long live supercomputing.

What’s next for Alces Flight?

2024 will see the Flight Crew back in action with a focus on inclusion and accessibility.  Thanks to our most recent product launch and an increased desire for better understanding in renewables we have several projects underway in exploring legacy and thought diversity in HPC.  You’ll also be seeing us at our big global conferences, ISC and SC, as well as once again welcoming in the next generation of students via the CIUK Student Cluster Challenge.  We’ll also continue to explore new themes and topics in HPC at local events, as well as continue to improve our work in managed services, integration, products, and our open-source toolsets.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season and look forward to showcasing our latest work in 2024!

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