Cray Users from Around the World Meet at CUG 2017

Across Lake Washington from Cray’s downtown Seattle headquarters is the small city of Redmond, Wash. Redmond is best known as the home of Microsoft. But last week, it was the location for this year’s Cray User Group (CUG) conference.

Cray CEO Pete Ungaro presents at CUG 2017.

The Cray User Group is an independent, international corporation of member organizations that own Cray Inc. computer systems. The annual CUG conference brings together users from around the world to share several days of tutorials, technical sessions and networking. I serve on the CUG board of directors as the Cray advisor, a role I’ve enjoyed for more than 10 years.

New to the program this year was an analytics track, which included a panel discussion titled “Future Directions of Data Analytics and High Performance Computing.” That was followed by a variety of talks including one about Argonne National Laboratory’s use of the Cray® Urika®-GX system for high-throughput image analysis and a Cray presentation on quantifying performance of the Cray Graph Engine (CGE).

This year’s keynote speaker was Douglas Kothe from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, who discussed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Project (ECP), a partnership between the DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In another first for CUG, a special issue of the Concurrency and Computation Practice and Experience (CCPE) Journal will be published later this year featuring selected CUG papers. It will include CUG 2017’s winner for “Best Paper,” which was awarded to Cray’s own Michael Moore, Patrick Farrell and Bob Cernohous for their paper titled “Lustre Lockahead: Early Experience and Performance Using Optimized Locking.”

A CUG attendee gets a close-up of the Cray-2.

The annual CUG conference gives us many opportunities to network with our customers. Cray hosted our traditional Tuesday night networking reception, but this year we had the opportunity for a special surprise. We hosted the reception at the Living Computer Museum on the same day that they announced their acquisition of a Cray-1 and Cray-2 system. The museum brought out the Cray-2 just for our event, unveiling it to “oohs” and “aahs” from our guests. The system was put back “under the covers” after our event to be refurbished to working condition and revealed to the public next year.

The week wrapped up with a preview of next year’s conference, which will be held in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 20-24, 2018. We hope to see you there!

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