Outreach and Knowledge Transfer
The research achievements of the Center for Research on Parallel
Computation would not have a high impact without an active program of
knowledge transfer. Knowledge transfer comes in several forms: technology
transfer programs with industry, workshops and symposia, visitor programs,
and through the dissemination of software, online information, and
Knowledge Transfer with Industry
Advanced scientific computing has expanded beyond its initial use in
government laboratories and has been introduced to mainstream academia and
industry. Through its role in developing innovative programming tools,
software, and algorithms for high-performance parallel computing, the CRPC
plays a very important part in maintaining American economic
competitiveness in this key high-technology area. The tremendous
computational power of parallel machines, used effectively with the right
programming methods and applications software, will enable American
industry to use supercomputers in ways never before possible.
A key component of the knowledge and technology transfer goal of the CRPC
is the Parallel Computing Enabling Technologies project, otherwise known as
PCE-TECH. Under the leadership of Geoffrey Fox, this project evaluates
emerging "enabling technologies" for high-performance computing and assists
with software development to integrate them into an industrial framework.
The program puts a special emphasis on technologies relevant to the CRPC.
For additional information on PCE-TECH, see page 46. Examples of other ways
that the CRPC is actively involved with industry follow.
Representatives from several companies with interests in high-performance
computing serve on the CRPC External Advisory Committee (EAC)-a list of
members can be found on page 20). EAC members provide suggestions for
center research directions, attend and participate in CRPC workshops and
annual meetings, and stay informed of center activities through newsletters
and technical reports. CRPC researchers also have contacts with industry
through collaborative work, which contributes to the research objectives of
Corporate Affiliates and Industry Coalitions
CRPC corporate affiliate programs provide a direct exchange of technology
with industry. In addition, the center participates in industry-wide
coalitions and frequently has members on industry advisory boards. A major
CRPC achievement in this area was organizing and sponsoring the High
Performance Fortran Forum, which is developing a consensus on standards for
a Fortran language for parallel computers. The MPI (Message Passing
Interface) Forum was formed after the CRPC workshop, "Standards for Message
Passing in a Distributed Memory Environment," to promote discussion within
the parallel computing research community on the issues that must be
addressed in establishing a practical and flexible standard for message
passing that can be used on many different parallel machines.
ACTION-NYS is a program organized by Geoffrey Fox and other CRPC
researchers at Syracuse University that introduces New York State companies
to parallel computing by developing parallel applications for industry
needs, providing access to NPAC parallel machines, and offering education
and training in high-performance computing. The program is funded by New
York State. In addition, CRPC researchers have worked with the
Multidisciplinary Analysis and Design Industrial Consortium, a consortium
of industry members that focuses on ways to achieve a truly
multidisciplinary design optimization system for engineers.
Product/Technologies Impact on the Computer Industry
Manufacturers of parallel supercomputers that have credited CRPC research
in the development of commercial products include: Intel (high-speed
input/output interfaces, concurrent file systems, graphics library
contents, file back-up hardware and software, and global communications
functions); IBM (XL series of compilers for the RS/6000, CC++ software
ported to workstations, utilization of novel architectures); Convex
(interprocedural analysis and optimization used in the Applications
Compiler); Thinking Machines (communications and eigenvalue computation
routines in CMSSL product derived directly from CRPC differential equations
work); and Hewlett Packard (CC++ software ported to workstations).
CRPC research on applications software has helped to develop the following
technologies: oil reservoir simulators implemented on parallel machines
manufactured by Cray, nCUBE, MasPar, and Thinking Machines; software for
Kodak's Datatape Division to control a HIPPI hardware interface for their
ID-1 tape drives; optimization software ported to Shell Development
Company's parallel machine; optimization software at Boeing for flexible
manufacturing methods; and codes for computational fluid dynamics and
aircraft structural analysis developed in collaboration with NASA Langley
Impact of the CRPC on Standards for the Computer Industry
The CRPC has contributed to the development of industry standards for
parallel computing. By leading the effort to develop an informal standard
for High Performance Fortran, the CRPC is helping computer hardware
manufacturers to increase the overall acceptance of parallel computing. The
High Performance Fortran Forum has served as a model for academic-industry
collaboration on pre-competitive research, such as the ongoing effort to
standardize message-passing interfaces.
Geoffrey C. Fox is an internationally recognized expert in the use of
parallel architectures and the development of concurrent algorithms. He is
also a leading proponent for the development of computational science as an
academic discipline and a scientific method, and for knowledge transfer to
industry. He directs the computational science program at Syracuse
University, which offers undergraduate and graduate concentrations. His
research on parallel computing has focused on the development and use of
this technology to solve large-scale computational problems. Geoffrey Fox
directs ACTION-NYS, which is focused on accelerating the introduction of
parallel computing into New York State industry. His research experience
includes work at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, Lawrence
Berkeley Laboratory, Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, Brookhaven National
Laboratory, and Argonne National aboratory. He has served as Dean for
Educational Computing and Assistant Provost for Computing at Caltech. He
co-authored Solving Problems on Concurrent Processors and edits
Concurrency: Practice and Experience and the International Journal of
Workshops and Symposia
Knowledge of CRPC activities is widely disseminated through the
participation of center researchers in professional conferences, including
those sponsored by ACM, IEEE, SIAM, and other organizations. CRPC
researchers have served as organizers, program chairs, and section leaders
for these conferences, along with representing the CRPC in panel
discussions, papers, posters, and minisymposia.
CRPC-sponsored workshops have been particularly effective in introducing
new research methods and technologies in parallel computing by addressing
targeted audiences from industry, academia, and government.
Workshops and conferences with a technical focus include:
Several CRPC-sponsored workshops have addressed some of the social issues
surrounding science. Sponsored in part by the CRPC, the "Changing Culture
of Science: Bringing It into Balance" workshop explored several
multicultural issues including racial and sexual stereotyping, family
versus career choices, the value of a competitive environment, the "glass
ceiling," and the interaction of science with the rest of society. The
conference allowed a broad spectrum of science professionals to share
personal experiences and reach a consensus on social issues related to
- Computational Aspects of the Traveling Salesman Problem. The
Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) is typical of a large class of "hard"
optimization problems that have intrigued mathematicians and computer
scientists for years. TSP involves finding the most economical route for a
traveling salesman between many cities. This conference, organized by
Robert Bixby, helped bridge the gap between researchers using search method
algorithms and exact method algorithms.
- Parallel Methods for Domain Decomposition and Multigrid Problems
Workshop. Chaired by Mary Wheeler, this conference discussed developments
in domain decomposition. For problems such as pressure velocity equations
and transport equations, researchers use domain decomposition techniques to
divide global problems into subproblems that can be solved in parallel.
- Basic Linear Algebra Communication Subroutine (BLACS).
Co-sponsored by the CRPC and the LAPACK Project and organized by Jack
Dongarra and Danny Sorensen, this meeting engaged researchers in a
discussion of a proposed standard for communication software for linear
algebra on distributed-memory architectures.
- ParaScope Training Workshop. This workshop brought together
researchers from industry, government, and academia to experiment with the
ParaScope programming environment and critique its functionality.
- Workshop on System Software and Tools for High Performance
Computing Environments. Sponsored by nine federal agencies as a part of
the Federal High Performance Computing and Communications Program, this
workshop greatly influenced the agenda for software research in the High
Performance Computing and Communications program. Several CRPC researchers
led working group discussions on special topics during this workshop, which
was organized by Paul Messina. The concept of programming templates that is
being developed by the CRPC grew out of this workshop.
- Joint MADIC/NASA Workshop on Multidisciplinary Design. CRPC
researchers participated in this workshop to identify the technical
barriers preventing the development of automated multidisciplinary design
systems. The workshop proved to be an effective focal point for defining
the roles for this development among the participants from industry,
academia, and government and led the CRPC Parallel Optimization group into
new research in this area.
- Sixth SIAM Conference on Parallel Processing for Scientific
Computing. At this conference, the CRPC sponsored a minisymposium that
covered several research areas explored by center researchers such as
parallel Fortran languages, multidisciplinary optimization, parallel
treecodes, parallel models for reservoir engineering and groundwater
hydrology, and linear algebra. Jack Dongarra and Ken Kennedy gave invited
presentations at the SIAM meeting on CRPC work in linear algebra and
parallel Fortran, respectively.
- CSCC Delta Applications Workshop. This workshop, held annually, is
an opportunity for scientists to discuss the results of their research
performed on the Intel Delta supercomputer, which is owned by the CSCC
consortium in which the CRPC is a major participant.
- SIAM Conference on Mathematical and Computational Issues in the
Geosciences. Several CRPC researchers were involved in this conference,
which had a heavy focus on parallel computing and featured presentations on
computing applications in hydrology, reservoir engineering, porous media,
seismic imaging, flow and transport, geochemical systems, oceanography,
atmospheric science, and ecological characterization.
Some workshops have been so successful that they are held annually. For
example, the Computational Science Workshops, held at Los Alamos National
Laboratory, provide attendees with an advanced education in
high-performance computing as it applies to computationally intensive
scientific research. They are also given access to high-performance
workstations and innovative computer architectures and are introduced to
the newest advances in parallel algorithms, architectures, operating
systems, distributed computing, parallel languages, and visualization
Visitors from industry, government, and academic institutions spend time at
CRPC sites, working on research projects with CRPC scientists. CRPC
researchers also visit a number of industrial sites each year. These visits
provide the initial contact needed to stimulate potential collaborations.
For instance, CRPC collaboration with Boeing on multidisciplinary
optimization was aided by some initial CRPC visits to Boeing's Computer
Services division in Seattle, Washington.
Software, Online Information, and Publications
Another means of knowledge transfer is through public-domain software,
technical reports, and publications. The CRPC has actively pursued this
type of dissemination through the following:
- Public Domain Software. Many CRPC-developed tools and algorithms
can be obtained directly from Netlib and Softlib, electronic software
distribution systems at Oak Ridge National Labora-tory and Rice University,
respectively. In the first three years of the CRPC's existence, more than
1,300 codes were distributed. For instance, within the same time, LAPACK
was distributed to more than 2,000 people.
- Technical Reports. CRPC technical reports include timely research
results in compiler technology, software developments, and applications.
More than 300 CRPC technical reports are currently available and
distributed to the scientific community. For information on obtaining a
current list, see page 52.
- CRPC Brochures and Newsletter. The quarterly newsletter, Parallel
Computing Research, and up-to-date CRPC brochures help communicate the
accomplishments of the CRPC, along with news of general interest to the
parallel computation community.
Below: Eric Van de Velde (second from left) demonstrating EText to undergraduate
and graduate students from the California Institute of Technology. EText,
developed through the Parallel Paradigm Integration research thrust, helps
people learn about parallel programming through the use of a browsing
library of archetypes and applications. Students are actively involved in
research, outreach, and knowledge transfer programs within the CRPC.