CUG 2013 Preview…On the Road to Napa

The annual Cray User Group (CUG) meeting is just a week away. I always look forward to this opportunity to see and hear from our customers from around the world. They gather each May to share their experiences with their Cray systems, learn from their peers, hear from Cray’s partners and give us feedback on what we can do better. The week also provides plenty of time to meet new people and catch up with old friends. This year’s event will be in Napa Valley, California and hosted by the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC).

CUG is an independent corporation of member organizations that own Cray systems. It actually runs independently of Cray Inc., but with very close ties.  Cray employees serve as Special Interest Group (SIG) leaders, submit and deliver papers at the conference and actively participate with other CUG conference attendees. CUG is an invaluable way for the leadership at Cray to collaborate with our customers, celebrate their achievements, listen to their challenges and ideas, and get feedback on our future plans.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of serving as the Cray liaison to the CUG board of directors for the past several years. I’ve been able to work with them to ensure that Cray supports the organization however we can and that we are available to our customers, not only at the annual meeting, but throughout the year.

I’m looking forward to listening to the talk by Horst Simon on “Why we need Exascale, and why we won’t get there by 2020.” And as with my fellow Cray attendees, I’m always curious about what happens behind the closed doors of the “Cray 1:100 or more” session with our CEO, Peter Ungaro. This tradition, which was started about five years ago, gives our customers the opportunity to talk openly with Pete without any Cray employees or partners in the room. It would be interesting to be a “fly on the wall” for that one.

And it looks like CUG has a fabulous culminating event planned for Wednesday night at the Castello di Amorosa, a winery in the valley that was inspired by the medieval castles of Europe. It even has its own dungeon —complete with torture devices. Hmm… wonder if they have something planned for the Cray executives.

While not a wine connoisseur myself, I’m still looking forward to my upcoming trip to Napa. I always come home from CUG with a great sense of pride. As a Cray employee, it’s easy to focus on the products and services we provide, but seeing and hearing how Cray systems are making a difference in the real world is what I really get excited about.

Christy Adkinson, Director of Corporate Marketing