NordicHPC 2019: Helsinki, 14-15 November

Computing facilities tend to all have the same problems, but every site tends to have its own solutions. Big collaborations tend to be about big hardware or policies, and not so much the day to day difficulties that we face. The Nordics already have a special connection and are a good size to make a grassroots community of admins and support staff working together.

NordicHPC is a group of like-minded individuals in the Nordics who want to work together to make our resources more usable and better maintained (or even just to make the maintenance easier). Despite the name, our focus is not only traditional HPC, but we do tend focus on basic computing infrastructure, not platforms for a specific purpose.

We have a special focus on usability, and a vision to match.

We have a preliminary program scheduled, but the actual program is organized in collaboration with all attendees. We also hope the most important outcome is networking and come out of spontaneous discussions. We’ll use an “unconference”-type format for most of the workshop. Come prepared to collaborate - this is a meeting for the doers.

Registration

You can register here for attendance, possible attendance, or remote attendance.

The ideal attendee is working in developing, maintaining, or supporting general-purpose computing infrastructure in the Nordics, and has an ability to take ideas into practice on their systems. Other users or interested parties are welcome as well. We’ll try to make room for anyone in academic computing centers in the Nordics.

What you need to prepare

  • Think about what cool things you do and what your most common problems are.
  • Prepare to present three cool things and three problems from your site (see below).
  • Suggest a topic or two that we should discuss.

Agenda

We have a preliminary program below, which will continue to be adapted based on attendee interest. We can reserve spaces for any desired break-out sessions or parallel tracks.

  • 14 November.
    • Early arrivals? Come find us in room A243 or the obvious coffee room in the A2 corridor.
    • 11:00 Lunch for those who have arrived
    • 12:00 Afternoon session
      • Talks
      • Breakout sessions, either planned or to continue discussions inspired by talks
    • Evening: group dinner
  • 15 November
    • 09:00 Meeting continues
      • Talks
      • Discussing future the NordicHPC collaboration
      • Breakout sessions
    • Program ends at 12:00, room reserved until 14:00

Contribute!: Request a talk or suggest your own, either in advance or during the meeting, by adding to the agenda google doc. You can also directly contribute by making a Github issue or PR. Slides and material can also be uploaded to the Google Drive. The exact program will be adjusted based on attendee interest closer to time.

Session descriptions

The following sessions have been offered so far:

Cool things and problems: Each site presents around three cool things that their site does, and three problems they have. This becomes a discussion on shared opportunities. Please come prepared with something to present and add to the slides. Organizer: Radovan Bast

Nordic Jupyter: JupyterHub isn’t just a service, but a usable way of accessing services. This workshop shares configurations and knowledge about running JupyterHub for research facilities, and provides hands-on support for sites to set up their own hub. Organizer: Richard Darst

Software deployment: Deploying scientific software is one of biggest pains of sysadmins. Let’s share best practices. We’ll discuss Spack, Easybuild, etc. Aalto University will present its automated build system which automates Spack, Singularity, and more across multiple systems. Organizer: Simo Tuomisto

Lightning talks: Anyone who wants to give a lightning talk, let us know. There’s no topic too small, especially consider talks on small problems, solutions, or UI problems you have.

Requested sessions

If anyone would like to present on these topics, let us know. You don’t have to be an expert, you can also facilitate the discussion. You can also add to the google doc linked above and below.

Managing I/O for machine learning: How to best help users who make millions of small files with a wide variety of machine learning frameworks.

Resources / Sharing

Attending:

  • Meeting video link, coming later
  • Meeting google drive. Anything added here is shared publicly.
  • Meeting presemo (real-time questions and interaction), coming later

Planning:

Location

Aalto University campus (Otaniemi), Finland. Computer Science building room T4. Address: Konemiehentie 2, Espoo.

Arrival and practicalities

This is an unfunded event, so each participant is responsible for their own costs but there is also no registration fee.

Hotels: there is a Radison Blu in Otaniemi which is a common choice. Downtown Helsinki or Espoo hotels are a reasonable choice if close to the metro.

Transportation: from the airport, take the train to the central train station (last stop), then metro to the stop “Aalto University”, then take the B exit. A single ABC ticket (4.60€) covers all transportation, buy on the train platform at the ticket machines. From Otaniemi to downtown, an AB ticket (2.80€) works. Reittiopas is the journey planner and there is also a HSL app that lets you buy mobile tickets and check routes.

Contact

Richard Darst, richard dot darst at aalto.fi