Remote summer of HPC

This is Batuhan here. I am writing this blog post from Istanbul, where I live, work and study. I am a graduate student at Marmara University, Istanbul and I am pursuing a MSc degree at Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department. My main areas of interest are image processing and computer vision. After I realized that I could improve time performance of image processing/computer vision algorithms by using parallel computing and high performance computing I started to learn basics of parallel computing and high performance computing. I took a course about introduction to parallel computing and I started to like this new world.

My Application Process to SoHPC

While I was surfing on web and looking for some basic information to read about HPC, I ended up website of Turkish National Center for High Performance Computing (UHeM) and this was where I first heard about the PRACE and SoHPC. I realized that SoHPC would be the best technical event which I could learn the basics of HPC. One week of training at Vienna and then spending months at project site country seemed like an offer that I cannot refuse and I decided to apply. There were lots of amazing projects those one can learn many new useful information. I chose the top three projects which are more related to my studies and completed my application process. I was waiting the results impatiently. And then… COVID-19 happened….

Effect of COVID-19 to SoHPC

I was at Hangzhou, China in 2018 on an academical visiting process. City was good, food was good, people at Zhejiang University were helpful and hardworking and at that day I would never think about that there would be a pandemy appeared from this beautiful country can affect the whole world. Below you can see my photo which was taken at the central campus of Zhejiang University. That was very hot day so I was sweating like river.

From the central campus of Zhejiang University

After the worrying results of COVID-19 were started to emerge, countries of the world taken some protective measures immediately. Our beloved SoHPC was also affected from the current situation and I had an informative e-mail from the Dr.Kos which tells that SoHPC is going to be a remote summer school and asks that if I’d like to attend that kind of summer school, I informed Dr.Kos that I would gladly attend any kind of SoHPC.

A wheel of fortune that I spin

The day I waited for some time was at the door. An e-mail about the result of my application to SoHPC. That e-mail has had some bad news and good news at the same time. Bad news is, that I wasn’t chosen for the projects I wanted to take part in, and good news is, there was a project that I could be able to chosen as an attendant. Since the project that I could attend was very different from the topics I study, I spinned the wheel of fortune and I tried to be selected to a more relevant project at the next turn of selection. And I have become a victim of my own greed. I wasn’t chosen at next turn but the story hasn’t ended there.

Some Bittersweet News

In my darkest hour I got an email which brings smile to my face. It was saying that the one week training is going to be remotely available to all applicants. I completed all required actions and I started to wait for the training week.

Training Week

The training week was very useful for me to understand some basic concepts and tools those are used in HPC. All instructors were aware of that there were attendees who were not familiar to HPC so they were very explanatory at the lectures they gave. Topics were about foundations of super computing, how to use super computers, using super computers to make them super compute by using MPI, OpenMP and CUDA. A great bonus was that we were able to use a super computer at Austria which is named VSC-3 (Vienna Scientific Cluster 3). This supercomputer is amongst the top 500 supercomputers around the world and also known for its innovative oil based cooling system. You can check here and here to know more about the VSC-3.

Beside the technical knowledge, this training week helped me to make a new friend. I’ve met Pavel at training week. He’s a Phd student at Canary Islands. Both of us haven’t been selected for SoHPC so we were paired to be classmates during the training week. We talked about studies we were doing and tried to see how could we collaborate. Below you can see the photo of me and Pavel.

Me and Pavel from the training week

A New Hope

After some days, I got an e-mail which informs me about that there was an attendee who stepped out of a project and if I’d like to jump in to this project. Even though the topic (plasma physics) wasn’t relevant to my studies I took that e-mail as a sign and I accepted the offer without thinking.

And here I am… In a project about plasma physics, to feel the amusement of the remote SoHPC.

-Batuhan Hangün, The attendant of SoHPC

While I was writing my final words on this self introductory blog post that I had such fun at writing process, maybe this journey of mine be an inspiration for somebody to be hopeful in any situation. I suggest you to stay tuned for my upcoming blog post(s) about the project that I work in. I can’t wait to share my experience with you. Stay safe out there.

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I am a master of science student at Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department of Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey. My main area of interests are Image Processing and Computer Vision. For one year I am interested in high performance computing (HPC) and mostly using graphical processing units (GPU) in HPC. I have been using GPUs to play computers games for so long. From now on, it is exciting for me to be able to use GPUs for something beside gaming.

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