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HPC Research and Education News for the Week of June 22, 2015 Sponsored by XSEDE

HPC in the News


XSEDE15 Registration Extended One Day

\Registration Deadline – June 25, 2015

XSEDE15 Hotel Block Deadline – June 26, 2015


Register for the XSEDE15 conference by June 25 to avoid late registration fees. Get registered now at After 11:59 p.m. on June 25, late registration begins with increased price points for all aspects of the conference. XSEDE15 will take place in St. Louis July 2630, 2015 at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel and will showcase the discoveries, innovations, challenges, and achievements of those who utilize and support XSEDE resources and services, as well as other digital resources and services throughout the world. The theme of XSEDE15 is “Scientific Advancements Enabled by Enhanced Cyberinfrastructure.” For more information on XSEDE15, please visit and an engage with the conversation using #XSEDE15 on both Twitter and Facebook.


Facebook Is Planning For A Data Centre in Ireland



Facebook plans to open a new data centre in Ireland, the social network said, becoming the latest technology giant to set up an energy efficient centre in Ireland’s recovering economy.

Ireland is fast becoming a cloud hub helped by its temperate climate and the presence of many of the biggest internet companies, which have been attracted by the country’s low corporate tax rate. Facebook said it had applied for planning permission to build the centre, which, after Sweden, is its second in Europe for housing computers that run cloud-computing services, where users store data on secure servers instead of their own network or computer. To follow this story, please visit



ACM, CSTA Announce $1M Award to Recognize US High School Students in Computing


Gordon Bell and David Cutler Establish $1 Million Endowment to Fund Award

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, and CSTA, the Computer Science Teachers Association, today announced a new award, the ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize in High School Computing, to recognize talented high school students in computer science. The program seeks to promote and encourage the field of computer science, as well as to empower young and aspiring learners to pursue computing challenges outside of the traditional classroom environment. "This new award touches on several areas central to ACM’s mission," said ACM President Alexander L Wolf. "Chief among these are to foster technological innovation and excellence, in this case, by bringing the excitement of invention to students at a time in their lives when they begin to make decisions about higher education and career possibilities." To read further, please visit

Perspective: How Good Is R For Data Visualization?

By Luis Argerich, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA)

I've been doing some research on R, Ggplot2 and visualization in general for a lecture so I want to share my thoughts about this question.  I will start with my conclusions then I'll try to rationalize them.
 Conclusion #1: R is great for creating plots for exploratory data anlysis but not very good for final product data visualization. Conclusion #2: Ggplot is a gre


SC15 News


Deadlines Approaching for Cray, Fernbach, and Kennedy Awards Nominations
November 16-20, 2015 – Austin, Texas

Submission Deadline - July 1, 2015


Each year, the global supercomputing community honors a handful of the leading contributors to the field with the presentation of the IEEE Seymour Cray Computer Science and Engineering Award, the IEEE Sidney Fernbach Memorial Award and the ACM-IEEE Ken Kennedy Award. Nominations for these awards to be presented at SC15 in Austin. Recipients of this year’s awards will give special presentations during SC15. For more information on each award, please visit


Submissions Now Being Accepted for HPC Impact Showcase at SC15

November15-20, 2015 – Austin, Texas

Submission Deadline - August 1, 2015

The HPC Impact Showcase committee is now accepting submissions.  We invite conference attendees from within the industry to share their stories of how HPC has transformed their endeavors and given them a competitive advantage. The Showcase will emphasize the tangible benefit of HPC in delivering innovations, which enable companies to succeed within their particular market-space. The HPC Impact Showcase highlights real-world applications of high performance computing (HPC) at companies who are currently employing HPC to advance their competitiveness and innovation in the global marketplace. The Showcase is designed to introduce attendees to the many ways that HPC matters in our world, through testimonials from companies large and small.  Rather than a technical deep dive of how they are using or managing their HPC environments, their stories are meant to tell how their companies are adopting and embracing HPC as well as how it is improving their businesses. To submit an entry, please visit For questions, please email


XSEDE News From Partners and Friends


UC San Diego Launches edX Channel; Computer Graphics Course Announced

Campus Also Appoints Head of New Online Learning Office


The recently-launched CSE-based Center for Visual Computing, or VisComp, at UC San Diego, confirmed that its first course on the edX learning platform will be taught by the center’s director, computer science professor Ravi Ramamoorthi. The news was part of a formal announcement by UC San Diego that it is partnering with edX, the leading nonprofit, open-source online learning destination that offers online courses to students around the world. Under the name UC San DiegoX, the campus will host its first free, non-credited course beginning Aug. 17 on edX. The course, Computer Graphics CSE167x, will be taught by Ramamoorthi (at right), a “returning edX professor and early adopter of the edX platform” while at UC Berkeley, before he joined the Jacobs School of Engineering faculty at UC San Diego last year. As with a similar course originally offered by Berkeley, CSE167x will cover the foundations of computer graphics. To read further, please visit


Upcoming Conferences, Webinars, and Seminars  


July 6-10, 2015 - Bilbao, Spain

Organized by Deusto University Rovira and Virgili University

InfoSec 2015 will be a major research training event addressed to graduates and postgraduates in the first steps of their academic career. With a global scope, it aims at updating them about the most recent advances in the critical and fast developing area of information security, which covers a large spectrum of current exciting academic research and industrial innovation. It refers to procedures to defend information from unauthorized access, use, modification, recording or destruction, with a critical role to play in order to avoid or minimize risks in the digital world. Renowned academics and industry pioneers will lecture and share their views with the audience. To read further, please visit

NCSA and Intel Offer Free Xeon Phi Training

August 4,  2015 – Urbana-Champaign. Illinois


NCSA’s Private Sector Program and Intel are offering two free training classes on parallel programming using the Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors. These workshops provide the foundation needed for software developers to modernize their codes to extract more of the parallel compute performance potential found in both Intel Xeon processors and Intel Xeon Phi coprocessors.

The one-day introductory seminar (CDT 101) will cover:

  • Offload and Native: “Hello World” to complex, using MPI
  • Performance Analysis: VTune.
  • Case Study: All aspects of tuning in the N-body calculation.
  • Optimization I: Strip-mining for vectorization, parallel reduction.
  • Optimization II: Loop tiling, thread affinity.

For more information and to register to CDT 101, visit


Research News From Around the World


Purdue University Researcher Invents Fake Password Technology to Confuse Hackers

Purdue University Information Assurance and Security group researchers have developed ErsatzPasswords, a security system that makes it much harder for hackers to obtain usable passwords from a leaked database. Hackers "will still be able to crack that file, however the passwords they will get back are fake passwords or decoy passwords," says Purdue doctoral student Mohammed H. Almeshekah. ErsatzPasswords adds an additional step to traditional encryption methods. With the new system, a password is run through a hardware-dependent function, such as one generated by a hardware security module, before it is encrypted. Almeshekah says the extra step adds a characteristic to a password that makes it impossible to restore it to its accurate plain text without access to the module. In addition, ErsatzPasswords can be configured to alert a network administrator when a fake password is entered, or to automatically create a fake account when a fake password is entered. Since only one password file needs to be stored, "even if we want to verify the real password, we don't need a different file," Almeshekah says. To read more, please visit

Simulating the Seasons: UT Austin Researchers Use Supercomputing to Assess the Impact of Climate Change on the Country's Growing Season

Two researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, Kerry Cook and Edward (Ned) Vizy, are dedicated to understanding how climate change and climate variability will impact Malawi and other regions throughout Africa. By running regional climate models, Cook and Vizy are examining Africa's diverse climate zones, ranging from the monsoon regions in West Africa and the Horn of Africa to the central tropics to the desert region in the north. “Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change," Cook said. "For instance, if the Sahel region experienced a drought like the current droughts in Texas and California, millions of people would die. And with global warming, we can expect more of these extreme events, like droughts and intense rainfall. Our hope is that with a better understanding through modeling, we can help improve prediction and planning." To read further, please visit


Educator News, Conferences, and Opportunities


Coursera Co-Founder Discusses the Future of Online Education
The Wall Street Journal

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, former professor of artificial intelligence at Stanford University, hopes her online education platform will expand globally as more universities see online education evolving into a necessary, and inevitable, complement to traditional learning. Although Koller, who in 2008 received the first-ever ACM-Infosys Foundation Award in the Computing Sciences, does not envision the obsolescence of traditional university education, she says online education "gives people the opportunity to pause and reflect and grapple with the material," as well as offering valuable feedback to instructors. Universities participating in Coursera--119 in total so far--share approximately 1,000 courses free of charge on the platform, and later this year the site will open admissions for its first online MBA program from the University of Illinois. Each course available on Coursera is distinctive, demanding a blend of video lectures, assignments, and tests. The average course takes four to six weeks to complete, and course certificates that graduates can add to their resumes cost $50 to $95. To read further, please visit


SDSC, UCSD Focus on Sustainable Computer Science Courses
UCSD News  

The University of California, San Diego's San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has been awarded a three-year U.S. National Science Foundation grant to help three regional school districts create model "villages" for deploying and sustaining up-to-date computer science (CS) courses in their curriculum. "Workforce training must evolve with technology innovations to maintain a vibrant economy," says SDSC's Diane Baxter. "The slower pace of K-12 curriculum revision poses a significant systemic challenge to an innovation-driven U.S. economy." Addressing this challenge is the purpose of the Computer Science-Creating a Village for Educators (CS-CaVE) initiative, which investigates a model designed to roll out new, tech-driven curriculum content faster than current systemic cycles of educational reform. Its aim is broader regional and national communities of educators with peer and university support elements that can be sustained indefinitely within operational district and school budgets. CS-CaVE employs a nationally-proven curriculum, and supports and examines how the school districts integrate this course into an overarching K-12 approach for introducing computing into the pre-college curriculum. To read further, please visit

3 Education Technology Myths


We are constantly hearing about how some piece of new tech will transform teaching and learning in the classroom. We believe that if something is shiny, new, and slick, it will inevitably be good for the classroom. In other words, we believe that technology will solve the ills of the 21st-century classroom. This can, however, lead to blind adoption or ill-planned implementation. Remember QR codes, those fun black-and-white squares that were going to revolutionize the classroom? Or Google Glass? How about how One Laptop Per Child was going to bring digital literacy to the masses in the Third World? These initiatives were built on the myth of "cool" and the myth of good intentions.

There are three common myths when it comes to education technology tools:. To find who they are, please visit \ Targets High School Computer Science is collaborating with College Board to work to expand computer science in U.S. high schools and increase the number of female and minority students taking computer science courses. Under the new partnership, high schools in 35 of the U.S.'s largest districts will be encouraged to offer's computer science course this fall. Targeted school districts are in cities including New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. CEO Hadi Partovi says the nonprofit will provide the curriculum, tools, training, and funding to school districts that qualify, while the College Board will help fund the work if a school district agrees to use the PSAT to identify students who have potential in computer science. says it wants to build on the track record of its Code Studio, which offers online tutorials in the basics of coding. Partovi says one out of 10 elementary and middle school students nationwide have created accounts with Code Studio. He notes of those students, 43 percent are female, 22 percent are Hispanic, and 15 percent are African American. To read further, please visit


Student Engagement and Opportunities


Making Computer Science More Inviting: A Look at What Works
The New York Times

The University of Washington (UW) offers lessons other universities and technology companies can learn from in attempting to increase the number of women in fields where they remain underrepresented, such as computer science. Many colleges' efforts in attracting women to underrepresented fields are supported by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), an organization that provides consultants to college faculties on how to change their programs to recruit and retain women. Last week, NCWIT presented UW with an award for having succeeded in this effort. The award was based on the fact that last year, 30 percent of UW bachelor's degrees in computer science went to women. The university has used three main tactics to diversify its student base. First, it tries to get girls interested in computer science early on, by teaching local elementary and high school teachers and students about computing through workshops and field trips. To read further, please visit

It’s Time for Every Student to Learn to Code

Learning to code is about more than career readiness. It’s about helping students make sense of their digital world

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion around the importance of coding in the K-12 classroom. Should it be compulsory for all students? An elective? Reserved for those students considering a computer science major in college? The answer may come down to supply and demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computing jobs and only 400,000 computer science students to fill those roles. This represents a gap of one million jobs that will go unfilled, and amounts to a $500 billion opportunity lost. In 2015, when more and more schoolwork, from kindergarten up through college, is done in a digital environment, students need to know the fundamentals of how the system they are using functions. By incorporating coding and computer science into our schooling starting in elementary school, we can help close this gap and ensure we have enough individuals with the right knowledge and expertise to fill these jobs. To read further, please visit

PRIME Sends Undergraduates to Japan for Summer Cyberinfrastructure Research

Computer science undergraduate Michelle Wu is one of four UC San Diego students who will be spending the summer in Japan as part of the Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) program. PRIME's internship program promotes undergraduate research experiences on projects related to cyberinfrastructure, and the program is based in the Qualcomm Institute. Wu and three other students depart for Japan on June 20, where they will work with "host" mentors for 10 weeks while embedded in research organizations in Osaka or Nara. For Wu, who is going into her senior year, the host institution is Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Osaka, and her mentor is Dr. Jason Haga. Haga is a former postdoctoral fellow and project scientist in UC San Diego's Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM), but he left UC San Diego a year ago to be a senior researcher at NICT and Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).  For more information on this program, please visit


Computational Science News of Interest


Universities of Washington Study Examines Gender Bias in Stock Images

Researchers from the universities of Washington (UW) and Maryland analyzed gender bias in online image results, and their study found a systematic underrepresentation of women. In occupations that have the same number of women and men, the researchers report women only account for 45 percent of the search images. Moreover, women in the images sometimes appear highly sexualized. When study participants were asked to identify which images showed a more professional and appropriate-looking person for a given occupation, they did not tend to exhibit open sexism in their choices. One surprising finding was that participants more often clung to stereotypes, which meant when an image matched the stereotype of the profession, it was more likely to be chosen by the participant. Since launching the project, Getty Images, in partnership with Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, has released a set of images that more accurately portrays women. The researchers hope their work will lead search engines to consider how their algorithms are promoting negative stereotypes and shaping perceptions about occupations. To read further, please visit

Latest Self-Driving Google Car Heading to Public Streets

Google announced plans to debut the latest version of its self-driving car on public roads this summer. The new prototypes look similar to the prototype unveiled last year, but with a more robust feature set. Dimitri Dolgov, head of software for the self-driving car project, says Google's self-driving software has improved in the last year, and is much better at classifying objects and predicting the behavior of pedestrians and other cars. However, the new cars will still have limitations. The small electric cars will have a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour (in part because they lack several federally-required safety features such as air bags), and a maximum range of 80 miles. The cars also will only be able to operate in areas that have been thoroughly mapped by Google. The company says the first group of 25 cars will mostly be tested in the neighborhoods surrounding its Mountain View, CA, headquarters. To read further, please visit


Social Media


Google, NASA Work Together on Disney Show to Inspire Girls Into Sciences||
The Washington Post

When it was developing a new series about a family of space adventurers, Disney Junior wanted the show to help bury common media stereotypes about science and programmers, so it turned to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Google for advice. A 2014 report by Google found a paucity of media portrayals of women in science has contributed to the low rate of girls pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math careers. Disney Junior visited Google headquarters in Silicon Valley and NASA's Southern California base to speak with technology and space experts about how to authentically portray the Callisto family in its new series, "Miles from Tomorrowland." NASA helped Disney develop the character of Phoebe, the mother and captain of the spaceship, including basing her design on astronaut Yvonne D. Cagle. At Google, the show's creator, Sascha Paladino, met with several female engineers to hone the depiction of Loretta, the main character's sister, who uses programming to solve problems.  To read further, please visit



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