Project members gather at CERN for CoE RAISE’s ‘All Hands’ meeting
From 17 to 20 January, 54 members the CoE RAISE project met at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland, for an “All Hands” meeting. CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.
Participants at the event discussed progress made in their work to develop AI technologies for complex applications in Europe running on future “exascale” high-performance computing (HPC) systems. During the meeting, the nine key use cases explored through the project were discussed. These include the optimization of wind-farm layouts, design of efficient aircraft, improved sound engineering, seismic imaging with remote sensing, and more. Other talks during the meeting focused on CoE RAISE’s work to support technology transfer to industry, education and training initiatives, and knowledge-sharing and consulting work. Discussions to plan a proposal for a potential follow-on project were also held during the meeting.
54 members of the project met at CERN, with discussions held across four days in the Organization’s Council Chamber.
A particular highlight was a joint talk on the first day by Thomas Lippert and Kristel Michielsen, both head of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre at Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH in Germany. Thomas provided an overview of the HPC landscape in Europe, including plans for JUPITER (the Joint Undertaking Pioneer for Innovative and Transformative Exascale Research), Europe’s first exascale supercomputer to be built at his institution. This modular supercomputer is set to come online in the second half of 2024. His colleague Kristel also presented the institute’s plans for quantum computing.
“The participants in the meeting – some of them having seen each other for the first time in the project due to COVID-19 restrictions – made new friends and initiated more intensified collaborations on emerging topics, such as the integration of quantum computing in AI and HPC workflows,” says Andreas Lintermann of Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, who coordinates the project.
The use cases explored through CoE RAISE – each presented at the meeting – are split into two categories: compute-driven use cases and data-driven use cases. Maria Girone of CERN is responsible for work package four of the project, which coordinates use cases in the latter category.
One such use case in this category is provided by CERN itself: it focuses on the improvement of methods for reconstructing particle-collision events at the upgraded High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), which is set to come online in 2029. The HL-LHC will see more particle collisions than ever taking place, producing exabytes of data each year, resulting in unprecedented computing challenges. To reconstruct particle collision events today (with datasets in the order terabytes or petabytes), hundreds of different algorithms run concurrently: some are traditional algorithms optimized for particular hardware configurations, while others already include AI-driven methods, such as deep neural networks (DNNs). The members of the project team at CERN are working to increase the modularity of systems and ensure code is optimized to fully exploit heterogeneous architectures, as well as increasing the use of machine learning and other AI methods for reconstruction of collisions and classification of particles.
“Supercomputers are reaching the exascale and enabling the delivery of an unprecedented scale of processing resources for HPC and AI workflows,” says Girone, who is CTO of CERN openlab, a unique public-private partnership that works to accelerate the development of cutting-edge computing technologies for CERN’s research community. “The research performed in CoE RAISE will drive the co-design of HPC computing resources for future AI and HPC applications for both science and industry. This meeting enabled us to exchange and develop ideas and to bring new perspectives. It also gave researchers from other domains a unique insight into the environment and challenges facing CERN, enabling cross-fertilization and understanding.”
Attendees at the “All Hands” meeting also enjoyed a tour of Geneva’s old town and visited ATLAS, one of the two large, general-purpose experiments built on the LHC, which was jointly responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012. “Members went home with new strategies in mind for fostering their implementations and ensuring sustainability, with the goal of creating impact in the final year of the project and beyond,” says Lintermann.
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