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High Throughput Computing week

We;ve just finished a week (well, four days) of talks, tutorials and discussion about High Throughput Computing. The event was opened by Miron Livny, leader of the Condor team, who gave an excellent introduction - the key point is that HTC is about the number of tasks that can be completed in a given time, whereas "traditional" High Performance Computing is about how much computing power can be brought to bear at a given time. As Miron puts it, Floating Operations per Year is not necessarily 60*60*24*7*52 Floating Operations per Second (FLOPS).

We've hosted events by the Condor team in the past, but for HTC week we extended our range. In particular, John Powers and Dan Ciruli of Digipede flew over from the Bay Area to tell us about their product. A day of hands-on tutorials allowed delegates to compare the strengths of Digipede and Condor, and the evening discussions included ways the systems could be used together.

Scheduled discussions looked at requirements for HTC in academia and in business, at Green IT, data handling and policy management. As one outcome of the discussions, we're looking to capture HTC design patterns, publish them on the web and incorporate them into training materials. On the academic side, we are planning to write a report to explain the policy issues to university heads of research computing.

There is talk of running this event again next year. We would like to extend the range of participants again, e.g. by looking to UnivaUD, DataSynapse or Platform. For more vendors to attend, we will need more commercial users, and vice versa, so we need to start encouraging people now. I'm wondering whether a small exhibition area might be useful to the commercial vendors and delegates - not a major trade show (with the concomitant expense) but enough to be an effective market place.

Watch this space - and get in touch if you're interested!

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