May. 11th, 2017

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The first part of the final day was not terribly edifying: a panel on data analytics and HPC; a combination about which I find myself somewhat sceptical. The morning sessions featured a presentation on Caribou by Craig Flaskerud followed by a presentation on encouraging users to tune their codes for Knight's Landing on Cori at NERSC. I can't remember which talk I went to third: it obviously didn't create a great deal of impact!

After a quick lunch, TL took himself off to the airport, reverse his journey on public transport. Meanwhile the guys from EC hung around until mid-afternoon before hopping in a taxi to take them to SeaTac.

With people starting to thin out, I went to an interesting set of sessions on system regression testing. In the first case, this involved using Jenkins to drive a series of test of jobs. In the second, it involved a custom Python framework developed by CSCS and, again, deployed through Jenkins to allow them to confirm the correctness and performance of their systems both routinely and after system maintenance.

In the second session of the afternoon, I followed the IO track, and attended an extremely interesting talk on tuning HDF5 IO based on the number of tasks writing to each file. The second talk was about simulating the IO patterns of an application which contained sensitive elements which prevented it from being used by external benchmarkers. The third session was an intriguing piece of blue-skies thinking from Cray about the future of file systems; the gist of which seemed to be that a great deal of our current performance problems come from the need to support a strict POSIX interface.

With that done, there was time for a short talk from someone from Shared Services Canada — the Canadian government's IT department! — before the close of the conference and the distribution of various bits and pieces that the organises claimed they didn't want to take home with them! With the day at an end, I got talking to the SSC person about experiences with Cray and with the Power 7 — they're just in the process of migrating off their IBM. I also discovered that he hadn't been able to confirm his travel until a few days before and been forced to find a hotel some distance from the Marriott, with the consequence that he'd been accumulating taxi fees of around $50 a day. Ouch!

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