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Supercomputing's Big Show

May 22, 2008

One of the most powerful networks in the world will be assembled this fall in Austin, and after a week it will be taken down.

The big international conference for anyone involved in high-performance computing is the SC Conference, which turns 20 this year. SC08, the 20th anniversary conference, opens November 15 in Austin, Texas, to run for a week.
This year the conference is making a concerted effort to involve more people and a more diverse spectrum of people in the technical program. It's making available grants that will cover the cost of the conference itself as well as part of lodging and transportation expenses. If you have a relevant background in research, education, or industry and also belong to an underrepresented group -- African-Americans, Hispanics, Native American, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, women -- you may qualify.
If you're holding a technology conference in Austin and want a big name speaker who doesn't have to drive far, you get Mike Dell, and that's what SC08 has done.
Because this is the 20th anniversary, the conference will construct a sort of temporary museum of relevant computer history (and history of the conference itself). They're soliciting 'historically significant machines' to be loaned to the conference for this exhibit, which they promise will be showcased securely. They're also looking for other kinds of historical material and volunteer docents.
One of the main reasons to attend any conference is to network, but usually that means people talking with people. I can imagine attending SC08 just to get an experience of a truly cutting-edge electronic network. Every year the conference builds an extremely high performance experimental network called Xnet to let exhibitors showcase 'bleeding-edge, emerging, often pre-commercial or pre-competitive, developmental networking technologies."

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