High Performance From BU ECE At SC23

by Lea Rivel and A.J. Kleber

BU ECE researchers, both faculty and students, made a major impact at SC23 (also known as SuperComputing, or the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis), the premier conference in high-performance computing (HPC).

Professors Roscoe Giles and Ayse Coskun

Professor Roscoe Giles served as the Keynote, Plenary, and Invited Speakers Chair. As he shared in a video addressing the SC23 community, Giles fell in love with HPC while working as a theoretical physicist, trying to simulate the quirks and nuances of subatomic matter. He first attended SC in 1991 and became the first African American SC Conference Chair in 2002. He’s seen a lot of change occur in the industry in his time working with HPC, beginning mostly on the modeling and simulation side. “We were struggling to get a computer that would do a billion operations a second, now everybody’s iPad does that,” Professor Giles commented. “Now we’re at Exascale. There aren’t a lot of things that improve a billionfold on any metric in that amount of time.” Giles felt that the theme of 2023’s conference, “I Am HPC,” embodied inclusivity and responsibility, welcoming in new and underrepresented participants who might struggle with a sense of disconnection from the field at first. “I think it’s really impressive that the conference has maintained a sort of youthful vitality in the way that it’s remade every year,” he offered. “It’s an interesting balance between being remade and novel and carrying on traditions.”

This year, SC23 played host to the 1st International Workshop on the Environmental Sustainability of High-Performance Software (SHiPS). Professor Ayse Coskun’s group, working with Professor Ioannis Paschalidis, received the Best Paper Award for “An End-to-End HPC Framework for Dynamic Power Objectives.” The paper was a collaborative effort between BU ECE researchers and industry partners from Intel, first-authored by recent graduate and Coskun advisee Daniel Wilson (Ph.D.’23). The paper presents a novel, advanced power management framework designed to maximize job performance while taking into account sustainable energy constraints.

Team BU^3. Front row: David Li (CE’25), Shamir Legaspi (CE’25), Yiran Yin (CE ’24). Back row: Julia Hua (CE’24), Kevin Hsu (Brown University CS’24), and Yida Wang (CS’24). Standing: Professor Ayse Coskun.

Professor Coskun’s group presented a paper at the main SC23 session as well, a collaboration with Sandia National Laboritories and fellow ECE Professors Manuel Egele and Brian Kulis. Another paper was presented by Professor Martin Herbordt’s research group. One of ECE’s top HPC faculty with a long history of participation in the conference, Professor Herbordt has been a leader of the “Advances in FPGA Programming and Technology for HPC” Birds of a Feather session and its predecessors since 2010. Professors Coskun and Herbordt also teamed up with Kurt Keville of UMass Boston to advise this year’s Boston student team in the Student Cluster Competition; a role Herbordt has assumed for most of BU’s eleven years of participation in the event. This year’s team, BU^3, was led by Computer Engineering senior Yiran Yin. 

A member of the founding faculty of BU’s Center for Computing and Data Science, Professor Roscoe Giles’s recent research has focused on the application of high-performance and parallel computing to physics and materials problems. He was elected an AAAS Fellow in 2019 and profiled in the History Makers Archive in 2013. He is currently a member of both the Advisory Committees for Pacific Northwest Laboratories, and the DOE Office of Science Advanced Scientific Computing, and has been a member of the Associated Universities Incorporated Board of Trustees since 2007 and the Steering Committee for the DOE Computational Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowships Program since 1996. Giles earned his PhD from Stanford University in 1975.

Professor Coskun headshotProfessor Ayse Coskun serves as both the Director of the Center for Information & Systems Engineering (CISE), and the interim Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development for BU’s College of Engineering. She received an IBM Faculty Award in 2020, and was an invited participant at the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Symposium in September 2019. Coskun earned her PhD from the University of California, San Diego, in 2009. 

Professor Herbordt headshotProfessor Martin Herbordt’s research focuses on computer architecture and high performance computing, particularly as it relates to accelerators and accelerator clusters, in-network computing, and modeling molecules. He served as General Chair for the 22nd IEEE International Symposium on Field-Programmable Custom Computing Machines in 2014, and for the IEEE International Parallel and Distributed Processing Symposium in 2013. Herbordt earned his PhD from the University of Massachusetts in 1994.