Reaching the Plateau of Enlightenment: GPU Hackathon in Dresden

The first of this year’s GPU Hackathons, which are coordinated by ORNL, was jointly organized by TU Dresden and JSC. Six teams came to Dresden from 29 February to 4 March with the goal of accelerating their applications on GPUs focussing on using OpenACC as a programming model.

A team from Charité Berlin worked on GraphVar, a graph theory application to study brain connectivity. A team from JSC came with JuROr, which aims to enable real-time smoke simulations on small computers, while a team from the University of Hannover worked towards large-scale turbulence simulations using PALM. Hunting planets is the goal of a team from the European Southern Observatory. Their application allows them to compare models of planet formation with data from big radio telescopes. The fifth team, from the University of Göttingen, does research on objects at much smaller length scales. Their Monte Carlo simulator enables the physical properties of polymers to be investigated. A local team from MPI for the Physics of Complex Systems intends to simulate bacteria and investigate how they can agglomerate.

Each team received intensive support from at least two tutors. The tutors were provided by PGI, NVIDIA, TU Dresden, JSC, HZDR, MPI and RWTH Aachen University. All the teams appreciated this opportunity of working with so many experts. Hacking for more than 8 hours a day was the usual format, only interrupted by scrum sessions led by Fernanda Foertter (ORNL). All the teams successfully found their way from an initial peak of youthful ignorance through the trough of despair before reaching the slope of hope during the middle of the week. During the final presentations, all the teams confirmed that they had reached the first plateau of enlightenment and left Dresden fired with enthusiasm.

At least three more GPU Hackathons will take place in 2016, including one at CSCS in July. Visit and
(Contact: Prof. Dirk Pleiter)

JSC News, 19 April 2016

Last Modified: 12.08.2022