XSEDE Spins Off Annual Conference to Unite Research Computing Community

PEARC17 will meet in New Orleans July 9-13, 2017

The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) annual conference, most recently held as XSEDE16 in Miami last July, is transforming into an independent entity designed to unite the high-performance computing and advanced digital research community. The Practice & Experience in Advanced Research Computing conference (PEARC) will welcome all who care about using advanced digital services for research. The PEARC17 Conference will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 9-13, 2017.

The goal in spinning off the PEARC (pronounced “perk”) conference is to form a hub to address the many challenges in the field of advanced research computing. The operation and use of campus and national advanced research computing resources and services affects vastly different communities in a variety of ways, including: directors and managers, system administrators, user support staff, and facilitators, computational scientists, government agencies, students, and educators. To support this, PEARC participants will be comprised of academic campus, national and international cyberinfrastructure and research computing enablers to encompass a broad set of communities.

PEARC’s inaugural year will feature support from a number of community organizations and will continue building on prior conferences’ success and core audiences. Organizations who are supporting the new conference include the Advancing Research Computing on Campuses: Best Practices Workshop (ARCC), XSEDE, the Science Gateways Community Institute, the Campus Research Computing (CaRC) Consortium, the ACI-REF consortium, the Blue Waters projectESnetOpen Science GridCompute Canada, the EGI Foundation, the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC), and Internet2. Organizations interested in joining the PEARC community can submit their interest here.

In perhaps the most visible sign of support, ACI-REF and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) are co-locating the 2017 ARCC best practices workshop with PEARC17. Last year’s XSEDE16 conference attracted more than 525 attendees from 44 states, and the 2016 ARCC workshop drew more than 100 attendees from universities across the country. PEARC17 will continue to support the community’s interest in co-locating smaller meetings in this collective effort to build a self-sustaining, independent conference for the advanced research computing community.

“PEARC will create a forum owned by the community to foster exchanges around the ‘state of the practice’ in advanced research computing—discussing challenges, opportunities, and solutions,” said John Towns, principal investigator for XSEDE. “Those who have attended the impactful annual XSEDE conference over the years will benefit from this new collaboration. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone at PEARC17.”

The merging of these activities creates a unified forum for developing, delivering, and supporting infrastructure enabling science and will focus on best practices and the experiences that shape the technical aspects of research. Bringing all of these efforts into one event will allow it to expand beyond the scope of the XSEDE program and the National Science Foundation where XSEDE will continue to be a partner in facilitating but no longer own the conference.

“On behalf of the members of the ACI-REF consortium, we strongly support this effort to bring the broader cyberinfrastructure community together under one roof for an exchange of ideas and new discovery,” said Gwen Jacobs, PhD,  Director of Cyberinfrastructure, University of Hawaii. “In ACI-REF we have seen the benefit first hand of the gains made when groups come together to exchange expertise and learn from each other.  Co-locating our ARCC meeting with PEARC17 will broaden the scope and impact of the meeting for all participants. We’re excited to be part of this community effort.”

“PEARC will allow for sharing the best practices as well as accomplishments and impacts, said Bill Kramer, project director and principal Investigator of the Blue Waters Project at NCSA. “Furthermore, PEARC can be an important component in supporting the goals of the National Strategic Computing Initiatives, in particular the objectives for increasing the coherence between technology for modeling/simulation and data analytics, increasing the capacity and capability of an enduring national HPC ecosystem, and developing and/or expanding the U.S. government, industry, and academic collaborations to share the benefits of high performance research.”

“Expanding the XSEDE conference to include the broader aspects of research computing in today’s data-driven scientific environments promises to fill a critical need faced by scientists across the country,” said Eli Dart, Network Engineer at ESNet Science Engagement Group. “Bringing the community together to share best practices benefits us all, from resource providers to facilitators and engagement engineers, to the scientists we serve.”

“Working together with XSEDE and other partners, the Campus Research Computing Consortium (CaRC) hopes to help transform PEARC into a broader and more inclusive meeting that highlights the successes and interplay among campus, regional, national, and international CI,” said Thomas E. Cheatham, III, Director, Research Computing and Center for High Performance Computing, and Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, at the University of Utah.

“EGI, the European e-Infrastructure for advanced computing for research, welcomes the PEARC series of conferences and is eager to contribute,” said Tiziana Ferrari, technical director of the EGI Foundation. “I see PEARC as the ideal forum where European research community and cyberinfrastructure representatives can meet colleagues from the US and beyond. PEARC will provide the grounds to boost international cooperation and better support international research initiatives.”

“Provisioning and supporting cyberinfrastructure has become increasingly complex, so much so that no university or research organization can go it alone,” said Jim Bottum, Internet2 Presidential Fellow and Clemson University research professor. “Yet, our community has remained fragmented in its gatherings, forcing those on limited budgets to often choose between meetings. The launch of PEARC and its mission as a co-location of several national-level meetings is an important step toward unification and will ultimately help make our institutions stronger and our country more competitive.”

“I am pleased to be part of the inaugural PEARC steering committee and look forward to involving the NSF software community in this fantastic conference opportunity,” said Nancy Wilkins-Diehr associate director at the San Diego Supercomputer Center, and principal investigator of the Science Gateways Community Institute.

The PEARC17 conference is chaired by David Hart of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and features a distinguished executive and technical committee from across the country.

“The theme of this year’s conference is Sustainability, Success and Impact—particularly apropos as we strive to succeed in making the conference itself a self-sustaining event with continued impact,” Hart said. “The theme also reflects key objectives for those managing, developing, and using advanced research computing throughout the nation and the world—sustainability of the infrastructure environment, measuring and ensuring success for those organizations providing and using advanced research computing, and impact of the technologies on the workforce and on science and scholarship.”

PEARC17 will take place July 9–13, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more information and to be notified about program and exhibitor information please visit pearc17.pearc.org. Join the PEARC conversation on Facebook and Twitter.