ERCIM News No.32 - January 1998

ParCo 97

by Roland Völpel

The international conference Parallel Computing 1997 was held in the Wissenschaftszentrum, Bonn from 16 to 19 September 1997. It was organised by GMD, Institut for Algorithms and Scientific Computing, Germany, in association with ParCo Conferences, The Netherlands.

The Parallel Computing conferences were first held in 1983 in Berlin. Since then this conference was held every two years (except in 1987) in various European cities. ParCo97 was attended by more than 170 participants, who came from worldwide academia (ca. 30 countries) and industry. The running costs of these conferences is covered by registration fees and industrial sponsoring.

The main topics covered at this year's conference were algorithms, hardware and software developments, and applications. Application issues dominated the program.

The detailed topics discussed during the various sessions were:

The increasing synergy between high-speed computing and multimedia techniques was highlighted. Multimedia technologies are increasingly being used for scientific visualisation of large data volumes resulting from, for example, large scale simulations. Parallel computing is also increasingly becoming essential to meet the real-time computing demands of high quality virtual reality systems, data mining in large data bases and multimedia information processing.

The increasing use of parallel computers for industrial applications was illustrated by the presentation of the EU funded EUROPORT project. The efficiency of such solutions was demonstrated by the presented results obtained with a number of parallel programs. The increasing use of standard software libraries and tools greatly reduces the time needed to develop parallel codes for industrial applications.

The exhibition and papers presented by a number of companies, such as ASCEND, Computing Center of the University of Stuttgart (RUS), DEC, HP, PALLAS, PARSYTEC, SGI, Research Center Jülich (FZJ), SUN and Visual Numerics Inc., gave an overview of the future developments which can be expected in the market place. A clear trend to smaller and more affordable parallel systems, built around workstation clusters and multiprocessor systems, will greatly increase the number of parallel systems used in the industrial, financial and service sectors.

In total some 170 papers and posters were submitted. Of these, 99 were finally accepted for publication in the proceedings. Papers and posters presented at the conference are not automatically accepted for publication in the proceedings. All presentations were reviewed during the conference and only accepted papers will be published.

Four invited speakers gave talks on the state-of-the-art. These were:

Papers on future trends in parallel computer developments were presented by a number of companies in an industrial session. These papers are also considered for publication in the proceedings.

The proceedings will be published in the series Advances in Parallel Computing by Elsevier, Amsterdam. Publication is planned for the second quarter of 1998. In addition to the book publication two special issues based on selected papers presented at the conference will be published by Parallel Computing journal.

The conference was opened by Prof. Dennis Tsichritzis, executive head of GMD and Prof. Laermann, Member of Parliament, and the Chair of the Conference Prof. Joubert.

A panel discussion, chaired by Oliver McBryan (USA), considered the theme 'Parallel Computing and the Evolution of Cyberspace'. The provocative statement was that the interest in parallel computing is being shifting to multimedia and web oriented activities, but it was agreed in the discussion that both fields are actually growing together. Indeed, parallel computing has penetrated all fields of computing and data processing, but substantial research problems still have to be solved. In that respect, parallel computing is still in the center of computing science and computational science and engineering.

Participant evaluation forms indicate that the conference was highly successful and motivated the conference committee to prepare the next similar conference in 1999. This encouraging result could only be achieved through the support given to the Conference Committee by the members of the Program Committee, who also acted as Session Chairmen and Reviewer, and the GMD, Institute of Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI). The conference committee is also indebted to the many companies and organisations who supported this venture with their generous financial contributions.

Please contact:

Roland Völpel - GMD
Tel: +49 2241 14 2050

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