KAUST presents exascale expertise at SC21

KAUST was among the exhibitors at the America's Center as part of SC21, the annual international supercomputing conference, St. Louis, Missouri. Photo: KAUST

Supercomputing experts from KAUST converged with global participants at the America's Center in St. Louis, Missouri from November 14 to 19 for SC21, the annual international conference for high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage and analysis.

Established in 1988, the SC conference is the largest HPC event of its kind, with big name industries like Intel, Red Hat and Oracle sharing the exhibition floor alongside universities, government agencies and small businesses, and professionals from various affiliations attending presentations throughout the convention center. In non-pandemic years, attendance typically swells to 13,000. This year's hybrid event drew nearly 4000 people in person.

This is the 13th year that KAUST has attended. The first, in 2008, underscored the university's commitment to be a supercomputing presence in the Arab world before it had formally opened its doors or even acquired Shaheen, its first supercomputer.

Flash forward to today, it's an exciting time for KAUST to be involved in HPC in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the field is propelling research across a broad range of scientific disciplines. The Middle East now hosts eight supercomputers in the top 500 globally, including the current #10 and former #7 ranked supercomputer — an investment that is fomenting a shift toward a knowledge-based economy and preparing the exascale workforce in the Arab world.

KAUST is part of this shift. Supercomputing has helped KAUST conduct research in just about every branch of science. More than half of the university faculty advance their research using KAUST's supercomputer Shaheen II, a Cray XC40 system ranked among the top 100 supercomputers in the world. Top areas of use include fluid dynamics and clean combustion, materials science, geoscience, bioscience, weather systems and artificial intelligence.

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