SC prides itself as one of the most competitive and valued technical conferences in the field of high-performance computing. It is often listed at the very top of various national conference ranking systems, showcasing the impact that publishing at SC has on the visibility and careers of researchers around the world. Research published at SC often has amongst the highest citation counts and is regularly considered to be the most impactful research in the community.
The SC Technical Program is the engine that powers this incredible technical visibility for the conference. Despite the wide recognition of SC as a supreme technical conference, the Technical Program at SC itself is often misunderstood, with a vast majority equating it to the Technical Paper sessions only.
The SC Technical Program is a rich collection of programmatic areas providing a variety of opportunities for participation, including:
- Birds of a Feather
- Invited Talks
- Society & SC Awards
- Early Career
- Reproducibility Initiative
That’s a bit more than a handful to keep track of for most attendees, but luckily our wonderful web team has organized these areas into a handy and easy-to-digest website that can allow you to navigate through these different areas.
Let me tell you a bit about a few areas within the SC Technical Program and highlight some of the changes that SC19 is making compared with the previous editions of SC in the hope you’ll be inspired to submit your excellent work!
Technical papers are, of course, a source of great pride for SC. Paper submissions at SC are typically divided into 10 different “tracks,” each track specializing in a narrow area within HPC. This creates room for a broad variety of submission types. For instance, we have a track for programming systems whose committee members are among the world experts in that area. Papers submitted to this track are judged on the merit of their contributions to that area of HPC. We have a State of the Practice track, which focuses on software, hardware, and management techniques that help researchers associated with large supercomputing centers and data centers showcase how their techniques have been put to practical use in the “real world.” Given the growing prominence of machine learning in the context of HPC, we added a new track, Machine Learning and HPC, that specifically focuses on it – How are you using HPC for ML workloads? How are you using ML for HPC improvements? Can traditional HPC and ML coexist? Let us know what you think by submitting your work to this track.
Are you an expert in a software or hardware system that you think might be of interest for other people to start using? Would you like to teach what you know to the broader community? Tutorials is an area within the Technical Program where researchers involved in the hottest topics within HPC are invited to teach these topics at SC. If you are such an expert, we encourage you to submit a tutorial proposal explaining the topic and why you and your team are the right people to be presenting it.
Not all topics are well defined. Sometimes, the community disagrees on the direction research needs to go in within the next five, ten, or twenty years. Disagreement is healthy. Debate is fruitful. And we encourage that. Panels are essentially a forum for a group of established researchers to come together and debate a topic and present their viewpoint as to where research in that topic needs to head. It serves as a source of new ideas as well as an opportunity to look at problems with multiple points of view, with the hope of kindling new insights for the next generation of researchers to build upon. Panels are some of the most well-attended sessions at SC.
As new and exciting areas emerge within HPC, the Workshops program provides a forum for researchers to publish papers in these areas to be presented and discussed within a tight-knit community that understands the subtleties and nuances of the work, before it is ready for consumption by the broader HPC community. SC offers dozens of workshops in various areas related to high-performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis, providing something for everyone to enjoy.
Early research can often benefit from the discussion and feedback that the thousands of attendees at SC can provide. Posters provide a fantastic venue for such research to be showcased as a traditional “research poster”, an ACM graduate/undergraduate/doctoral showcase poster, or a scientific visualization and data analysis e-poster.
Niche topics that have or are forming a community around them can benefit from a discussion venue targeted at planning and feedback. Birds of a Feather provides such a venue for discussion between a small community working on a specific (typically narrowly focused) topic.
Getting involved in a large community is often a challenge, especially for newcomers and early-career researchers. The Early Career program offers a venue for early-career researchers to understand how the community works, to get involved, and to find connections in the community to help them establish themselves.
SC has always valued reproducibility of the work that is presented at the conference. This year we have expanded our reproducibility initiative substantially to ensure that work presented at the conference is reproducible, and that the effort invested by authors in making their work reproducible is awarded with a number of ACM badges such as the “Artifact Available” and “Results Reproduced” badges.
No matter the stage of your career, nor the maturity of your research, nor how broadly applicable or precisely focused your research, there is room for everyone to contribute to and participate in the SC Technical Program. We hope you will participate in the conference by submitting your work to one of these venues. We look forward to seeing you in Denver!
Pavan Balaji, SC19 Technical Program Chair (Argonne National Laboratory)
Antonio Peña, SC19 Technical Program Vice Chair (Barcelona Supercomputing Center)