Connectivity is greatly changing the world, as we know it. From friends and family interacting on social media and searching for items to buy within online stores to people hooking up to monitors while they train. These are just three everyday examples of the recently coined phrase – ‘Big Data’. Other sources of big data include weather and climate forecasting, oil & gas exploration, financial services including insurance, trading and even online gambling, and large experimental facilities such as the Hadron Collider at CERN. Data collection and storage is just one third of the challenge. Another term called ‘Data Analytics’ describes the processing or mining of this information to produce useful insights.
Big Data and Data Analytics cannot function alone. The third component to drive both of these is High Performance Computing or HPC for short. HPC provides the computational horsepower to crunch through giga, tera or even peta bytes of data using various numerical techniques to produce the commercially valuable insights for companies to gain a competitive advantage.
Ireland is in a prime position to lead in the area of Big Data/Data Analytics and HPC with many of the large multinationals already located here including Google, Facebook, Intel, Accenture, Amazon Web Services, and Data Direct Network to name just a few. The Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation stated in their Action Plan for Jobs 2013 that an integrated national HPC facility that supports Big Data/Data Analytics should be established that provides the platform science and technology to underpin these activities.
To this end, Minister Seán Sherlock TD, Minister for Research and Innovation, will launch the new funding cycle of the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC) on Thursday, 4th July in the Royal Irish Academy (RIA), 14 Dawson St., Dublin 2. Minister Sherlock will be announcing a three-year exchequer funding provision to ICHEC, Jan 2013 to Dec 2015, a key action under the Government’s Action for Jobs 2013. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and the Department of Education & Skills with the involvement of the Higher Education Authority and Science Foundation Ireland jointly provide the funding. ICHEC will continue to be hosted by NUI Galway.
The launch begins at 2pm with an open hands-on session that will be led by the staff at ICHEC – tea/coffee will be provided. They will bring the audience through the landscape of computation from using a single core within a computer right up to using many hundreds of thousands simultaneously. Further details of the demonstrations are given below.
From 3pm to 4pm the official launch ceremony and presentations will take place - schedule outlined below. Leading representatives from both industry and academia will present their perspectives on HPC and related technologies. Particular attention will be focused on the economic impact of HPC and ICHEC's contributions to the Irish and European technological ecosystems. Space is limited and so attendance is by invitation only.
|13:30 - 15:00||Demos and Networking|
|15:00 - 16:00||Launch Presentations
|16:00 - 16:30||Demos and Networking|
Since its introduction the Raspberry Pi credit card sized computer has been a revelation in promoting ICT to school goers. For Ireland to become a world leader in Big Data/Data Analytics requires us to educate the next generation of data analysts, software developers and system administrators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The Raspberry Pi provides the perfect medium to achieve this aim, as its low cost device is accessible to all.
ICHEC takes the Raspberry Pi a little further and introduces the parallel machine made from eight computers. The hardware and software of this device are remarkably similar to supercomputers and so attempts to remove some of the mystery of HPC and encourage students to take up ICT as a career.
To cope with the explosion of data over the last number of years technologies companies are producing so-called accelerators that allows for the processing in a timely manner but are also power efficient. ICHEC has many years experience using these technologies in this space including Kepler from NVIDIA and the Xeon Phi from Intel. Demos will showcase the power of these 'Disruptive Technologies' and show the advantages to companies that can port their applications to harness the additional computer horsepower.
Visualisation and in particular 3D visualisation is a technique to further investigate the patterns within complex data sets. ICHEC will have a 3D TV at the RIA to demonstrate the power of 3D visualisation. Details of the numerical weather forecast that is carried out on ICHEC machine four times daily will be presented in 3D.